Friday, August 27, 2004

Heels gain a recruit, lose a player

In a move that rocked Chapel Hill basketball to its core this week, UNC rising sophomore Justin Bohlander has decided not to play basketball again -- ever.

All right, I'm exaggerating a bit. Actually, The 6'7" Bohlander was a walk-on last season and he proved to be an important part of the team -- especially early in the year, as Sean May was still working himself "into game shape." And while his 22 points in 18 games isn't the same as losing say, Rashad McCants to the NBA, you never like to see the next Scott Cherry (scroll down) in waiting fly the coup.

What's interesting is that Bohlander motives aren't basketball related. That is, he's not interested in transferring to another school because of lack of playing time -- which would most assuredly been reduced in 2005-06 with the addition of Tyler Hansbrough -- but he's genuinely interested in concentrating on academics. An you really can't fault him for that.

Speaking of Tyler Hansbrough, he committed earlier this week to play in Chapel Hill after passing on Missouri, Kentucky and Kansas. The thing is, Hansbrough initially had no intention of coming to UNC:

"Early on in my process, I would have said I wasn't going to North Carolina," Hansbrough said at the press conference. "But as soon as I got to know coach Williams and grew a relationship with him, I was like -- this is the guy I want to play for.

"[And] when I went there for my visit, I was blown away by all their tradition and their past players coming back. It's like a big family there."
And what's funny about this is that I wonder where Hansbrough would be if Matt Doherty were still coaching.

Hansbrough is the third ranked prospect in the country according to Bob Gibbons, and what's more impressive that he actually might show up on campus instead of going straight to the end of an NBA bench immediately after high school.

Hansbrough, a big man with a big game, says he is preparing to play four years in college. When asked about the lure of the NBA, however, he said, "I would have to look closer at that," should he loom as a top draft pick.
In semi-related news,Roy Williams still has a lot of work to do on the class of 2005 (see how that's going here), but unfortunately, Duke is having another stellar recruiting campaign. Amazingly, the Blue Devils found the only other really good player in London (I'm guessing here, but how many good players do you know in London?) and he became the fourth member to commit to Coach K's squad yesterday. His name is Eric Boateng, and he's also friends with Luol Deng:

The 6-foot-10 center will join New York point guard Greg Paulus, Indiana forward Josh McRoberts and California forward Jamal Boykin in Durham in the fall of 2005, barring developments that would lure someone into the 2005 NBA Draft instead. It's a powerful class for Duke, and recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons noted that all four of the prospects are ranked in his top 40.
And like Deng he hasn't been playing basketball very long.

"To be honest, [the NBA] hasn't been a big part of Eric's conversation's with Duke," said Bobby Rue, his coach at St. Andrew's. "He is focused on going to college. He certainly has [the NBA] as an eventual goal and that's something coach [Mike] Krzyzewski knows."

Boateng, who was also recruited by UCLA, North Carolina and Michigan, said he wants to play in the NBA but, after picking up the game just three years ago, he knows he has a lot to learn.
It's still not clear to me why kids with NBA aspirations come to Duke. Time and again they churn out mediocre pros. With the exceptions of Carlos Boozer, Corey Maggette, and Elton Brand (I'm not even counting Grant Hill since he's been injured for the better part of a decade), Duke has historically had players do very poorly in the NBA. I know this isn't news, but it's still hard to figure.

Either way, I'm not worrying about 2005 until, well, 2005. It should be back to UNC basketball in 2004-05 and I don't even want to think about the fact that Sean May, Ray Felton and Rashad McCants probably won't be back after this season. Where are Adam Boone and Brian Morrison when you need them?