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Friday, November 16, 2012
Kennedy Meeks chooses UNC

ESPN RecruitingNation

The college basketball early signing period kicked into high gear Friday with four ESPN 100 prospects announcing decisions.

No. 20 overall recruit Kennedy Meeks chose North Carolina, No. 25 Isaac Hamilton picked Texas-El Paso, No. 27 Tyler Roberson pledged to Syracuse, and No. 32 BeeJay Anya announced for NC State.

The early signing period began Wednesday and runs through next Wednesday. The first two days of the signing period were quiet in terms of new commitments in the ESPN 100, with mostly signings of previously committed prospects. Friday's quartet of decisions leaves only 11 uncommitted players in the ESPN 100.

Meeks, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound center from Charlotte, N.C., chose UNC over Georgetown. He joins fellow ESPN 100 recruits Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt in the Tar Heels' class and moves UNC to No. 5 in the 2013 class rankings.

"Just the atmosphere, the fans, the alumni, teammates," Meeks said in reference to what he liked about UNC.

Meeks is not an above-the-rim big man, but he's regarded as an excellent rebounder, passer and teammate.

"I feel like I'm just encouraging to my teammates," he said.

In the biggest shocker of the night, Hamilton picked UTEP over UCLA, UNLV and San Diego State. He becomes UTEP's first ESPN 100 commitment since the rankings began in 2007.

The 6-5, 185-pound shooting guard from Los Angeles will play college ball in the same state as his brother, Jordan Hamilton, who played at the University of Texas and now plays in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets.

Isaac's pledge is a huge pickup for UTEP coach Tim Floyd, whose ties in the Los Angeles area as a former coach at USC proved fruitful.

"Basically, a lot of people don't know this, but Tim Floyd has been a close friend of the family," Isaac Hamilton said. "I felt I should go with someone that I trust and who I know."

Roberson, a power forward from Union, N.J., decided on Syracuse over Kansas and Villanova. He's a versatile, athletic forward who can play inside and out, but he'll need to add strength to his 6-7, 200-pound frame.

"I just want to come in and help the team however I can," Roberson said.

Syracuse moves to No. 7 in the 2013 class rankings with Roberson's commitment, adding to a class that already included ESPN 100 point guard Tyler Ennis, four-star post-grad Ron Patterson, and three-star prospects B.J. Johnson and Chinonso Obokoh.

Roberson referenced Syracuse's impending move to the ACC as a factor in the Orange's favor.

"They're going into the ACC next year, which is going to be a really good conference," Roberson said.

Anya's choice of the Wolfpack came as little surprise by the time he officially announced Friday night. He had narrowed his list to NC State and Indiana, but when the Hoosiers picked up a commitment last weekend from ESPN 100 power forward Noah Vonleh, Anya's decision was simple.

The Gaithersburg, Md., native moves NC State to No. 9 in the class rankings, joining fellow ESPN 100 prospects Anthony Barber and Kyle Washington as Pack pledges.

The No. 3 center in the 2013 class, Anya is a 6-9, 275-pound post presence who plays his high school ball for famed DeMatha, which annually produces Division I players. He'll join several former DeMatha players expected to play in the ACC next year, including Quinn Cook at Duke, James Robinson at Pittsburgh, Jerian Grant at Notre Dame and Jerami Grant at Syracuse.

Dave Telep, Paul Biancardi, Reggie Rankin and Joel Francisco contributed to this report.