Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Nothing certain in Chapel Hill
The NCAA tournament ended all of eight days ago and what UNC's incoming class plans to do is as uncertain now as ever. Both the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer had stories this week about how J.R. Smith, because of several outstanding performances in recent all-star games, is not sure about whether or not he'll be in Chapel Hill in the fall. Roy Williams spoke with him and his family last week and the coach is also planning a trip to Bremerton, Washington to talk with the other McDonald's All-American scheduled to attend UNC, Marvin Williams.

Last week it was reported that the third UNC recruit, JamesOn Curry had his scholarship rescinded after he pleaded guilty to drug charges and it looks like the only recruit that will definitely be on campus is point guard Quentin Thomas.

Again, it looks like the decision on whether to turn pro will come down to how high each player thinks they will be drafted -- and most of that (for reasons that are still unclear to me) will probably be determined by all-star game performances. I think most scouts are full-time employees, but based on how both basketball and football players seem to move up and down draft boards based on senior bowl and all-star performances, I get the impression scouts are only working a month or two a year.

The Charlotte Observer reports that:
"It might have been better for North Carolina if Smith had never played in any all-star events. A 6-foot-6 guard from Newark, N.J., he was co-most valuable player of the McDonald's game and the East MVP of the EA Sports Roundball Classic.

Last week, Smith said he wanted to attend college, but his decision depended on where he would go in the NBA draft."
Recruiting analyst Dave Telep of TheInsiders.com said there is no way to gauge the likelihood Smith will turn pro:
"I think if you told J.R. Smith he is going to be a top-15 pick, he'd never set foot on campus at North Carolina," Telep said. "But I'm not sure there's anyone willing to tell him that right now."
However recruiting analyst, Bob Gibbons thinks Marvin Williams will be a big part of what UNC hopes to do next year.
"Marvin Williams, a 6-8 forward...is the most important player in North Carolina's class. Aside from center Sean May and power forward Jawad Williams, the Tar Heels don't have a post player who averaged more than two points last season.

Williams (The No. 4 player overall in Gibbons' rankings) would give the Tar Heels an immediate boost in the post. He didn't distinguish himself in the postseason all-star games, and he doesn't have much momentum heading into the NBA draft."
But after all this, no one still has a definitive idea what the players will ultimately do.

"As of now I don't know any different other than he is planning on going to North Carolina," said Casey Lindberg, who coached Williams at Bremerton High."

There have even been rumors that Roy Williams might consider bringing in a junior college transfer. Whatever happens, Gibbons sums up what the Heels needs to do succinctly when he says:
"They so badly need to add the depth that they are lacking...And to get two players like Marvin Williams and J.R. Smith, who are tremendous athletes and could make a huge impact on the program (was significant).

"Now Roy has to sweat it out.""
Other ACC basketball news (from the N & O):
*JamesOn Curry is still interested in playing division I basketball and even though he has yet to be contacted by any teams, he has cited Florida, Tennessee, Charlotte and Florida State. Other options include attending prep school or a historically black college, such as North Carolina A & T.

*McDonald's All-American point guard, Shaun Livingston, who has signed with Duke, will get a visit from coach Mike Krzyzewski to discuss his basketball future. May 10 is the last day players can declare as early entrants in the NBA draft.

*Mike O'Donnell, the bushy-haired N.C. State freshman point guard plans on transferring at the end of the semester. Apparently he's concerned about the availability of future playing time, with the growing role of fellow freshman Engin Atsur this season and the impending eligibility of Georgetown transfer Tony Bethel.