Sacha Killeya-Jones made the trip to the Smith Center before, but this Sunday visit started differently.
En route to a pick-up game with the North Carolina men’s basketball team, Killeya-Jones took a detour, a five-minute stop by coach Roy Williams’ office. Alongside his mother and father, Killeya-Jones listened attentively as Williams spoke.
“He was like, ‘I’m going to let you go down there and play pick-up in a second,’” said Killeya-Jones on Friday after the Under Armour All-American Camp at Queens. “’I just want to tell you we’ve heard a lot of good things about you and we’ve seen you play. I want to offer it (a scholarship) to you.’”
Since moving to Chapel Hill when he was a child, Killeya-Jones has followed the Tar Heels closely. Now with a scholarship offer to UNC in hand, the class of 2016 prospect has the opportunity to stay close to home and play for Williams.
Ranked by 247Sports as the No. 28 overall player in the class of 2016, Killeya-Jones de-committed from Virginia on June 2. Within two weeks he received scholarship offers from Kentucky and North Carolina, and he’s said he’s continued to draw interest from programs such as Florida and N.C. State .
“It went from 0 to 100 real quickly,” he said. “My phone was pretty dead while I was committed, but the night I de-committed I had a ton of calls and my phone just wouldn’t stop buzzing that night and the next couple of days.”
Killeya-Jones attends Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Va., but he spends his summers at home in Chapel Hill. A five-minute bus ride or a short walk is all it takes for him to get to UNC’s campus.
The 6-foot-10, 207-pound Killeya-Jones works out at an on-campus student gym, and he’s been exposed to UNC’s offense this summer in multiple pick-up games with current and former Tar Heels such as Marcus Ginyard and Kendall Marshall.
“All of the bigs have been great, helping me learn the offense and everything when we’re playing pick-up,” Killeya-Jones said. “From everything I’ve done with them so far, I fit in pretty well.”
Whether or not he ultimately chooses to play for UNC might come down to the potential penalties the men’s basketball program faces as a result of the NCAA investigation, Killeya-Jones said.
“Coach Williams said he is 100 percent positive they’re not going to crack down on the men’s basketball team,” he said.
“If they got a major scholarship reduction or something like that, obviously you don’t want to commit to any scholarship that might not be there,” he added. “I definitely don’t want to commit before any punishments come down, even though I’m pretty sure there won’t be anything.”