North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson being selected 11th overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft was a surprise to nearly everyone – including one of his former teammates and a fellow lottery pick.
Coby White, who went seventh to the Bulls, was on the podium meeting with the media when he got the news, and his reaction to the pick is priceless:
Between Zion Williamson’s and R.J. Barrett’s tears and now this, the 2019 draft is going to be remembered for its displays of genuine, authentic and sincere emotion.
John Beilein isn’t the only loss Michigan sustained this week.
Jalen Wilson, a top-50 guard in 2019, has requested out of his National Letter of Intent with the Wolverines, he announced Thursday.
“Due to the sudden head coaching change, I have requested my release from The University of Michigan, and will re-open my recruitment,” he wrote on social media.
Beilein’s decision to leave Michigan for the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the college basketball world earlier this week, and there’s little surprise to see it shake the Wolverines’ recruiting class as the head coaching position remains vacant and Michigan conducting a search of its next coach.
Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is now considering Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Florida along with the Wolverines, according to 247Sports. The Texas native suddenly becomes one of the most desirable players left available ahead of the upcoming season.
Cole Bajema, a top-150 wing from Washington, is the lone remaining signee in Michigan’s 2019 class.
A five-star recruit is set to be available late in this spring recruiting cycle.
Boogie Ellis, a top-40 guard from San Diego, has asked out of his National Letter of Intent with Duke, according to multiple reports.
The 6-foot-2 guard signed with the Blue Devils in November after also considering San Diego State, Memphis, USC and North Carolina, the last of which he made an official visit to.
It’s a significant loss for the Blue Devils, but hardly a crippling one to their top-ranked recruiting class that includes top-10 players in Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt along with top-35 prospects Wendell Moore and Cassius Stanley.
Given the strength of that recruiting class along with Tre Jones’ decision to return for a sophomore season, minutes will likely be at a premium in the Duke backcourt next season, even without Ellis, who now becomes one of the top available players in the country.
North Carolina has gone a long way to solidifying its 2019-20 roster over the last few weeks, and it continued to do so Thursday.
Justin Pierce, a graduate transfer from William & Mary, committed to Roy Williams and the Tar Heels, giving them an experienced wing who averaged 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last year.
“I’m excited to announce that I am a Tar Heel!” Pierce announced on social media. “North Carolina offers me the best opportunity to chase my dreams on and off the court. While playing on the biggest stage, I will also be earning mu MBA and building lifelong connections that will help me pursue my goal of working in the front office of an NBA organization after my playing career ends.”
Pierce, who also visited Michigan and Notre Dame, is the latest addition for Williams and Co. as it remakes its roster for next season. The Tar Heels already secured a commitment from Cole Anthony, a top-five player int he 2019 class, as well as top-75 recruit Anthony Harris and graduate transfer Christian Keeling of Charleston Southern. Armondo Bacot, a top-25 player, is also part of the 2019 class.
North Carolina is losing its top-five scorers from last year’s team that was a No. 1 seed, went 29-7 and advanced to the Sweet 16, but has already made major progress is reloading with its spring recruiting.
North Carolina added another top-100 talent on the perimeter on Tuesday as four-star Class of 2019 guard Anthony Harris pledged to the Tar Heels.
The commitment from Harris comes on the same day that North Carolina made a major splash by landing five-star 2019 guard Cole Anthony.
The 6-foot-4 Harris was previously committed to Virginia Tech, but he opted to re-open his recruitment once head coach Buzz Williams left and took the same position at Texas A&M.
Missing most of his senior season with a torn ACL, Harris gives the Tar Heels another solid perimeter option who should contribute as early as next season. Playing with notable programs on the high school level like Team Takeover in the Nike EYBL and Paul VI during the high school season, Harris can contribute in many different ways.
Team Takeover was arguably the best AAU team in the country last spring and summer as Harris put up 8.6 points, 2.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range. More importantly, Harris is a strong and willing defender who is capable of locking down opposing perimeter options.
The commitment of Harris gives North Carolina’s thin perimeter group even more depth for next season as they now have Anthony, Harris, seniors Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson and fellow freshman Jeremiah Francis. Sophomore shooter Andrew Platek is also returning.
Regarded as the No. 65 overall player in the Class of 2019 per the 247Sports composite, Harris is a quality late pickup for the Tar Heels as North Carolina’s perimeter depth looks far better at the end of Tuesday than it did entering the day. While Anthony is likely a one-and-done player, Harris will likely stay and contribute for at least a few seasons as he comes from a winning background.
Following an outstanding freshman season, North Carolina lead guard Coby White declared for the 2019 NBA Draft on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-5 White was a key reason for the Tar Heels making a Sweet 16 run this season as he adjusted from playing more off the ball in high school to playing on the ball at North Carolina. Putting up 16.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game on the season, White showed flashes of greatness while running the Tar Heels’ fast-paced offense.
Shooting 42 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range, White could play on or off the ball at the next level as some consider him to be a potential top-10 pick. A former McDonald’s All-American, White’s departure is expected for North Carolina as they’ll need to find a suitable lead guard starter for next season.
Junior guard Seventh Woods is expected to return and the Tar Heels continue to be in the mix for five-star point guard Cole Anthony as replacing White will be a key offseason storyline.