High School Sports

Isaiah Todd, the top-ranked basketball player in NC, announces his college decision

Isaiah Todd, the top-ranked player in North Carolina and No. 2 power forward in the nation, is heading to Michigan.

Todd, who will play his senior season at Word of God Christian Academy, made the announcement Thursday night at the Raleigh school’s gymnasium. The 6-10 195-pound forward picked the Wolverines over Kansas.

“Michigan has been wonderful to me ever since they started recruiting me,” Todd told The News & Observer after his announcement. “Michigan is just a wonderful program.”

The Wolverines came in late in the recruitment of Todd, picking up the pace this summer around the Nike EYBL Peach Jam. But in a short time, the program won Todd over.

“I just believe God made it clear,” Todd said. “I knew I liked Michigan, so I put them in my top five. After that it was so clear where I wanted to go and I felt at home when I took the visit.”

The five-star player has the highest national rank of any North Carolina prospect (14) since Winston-Salem’s Harry Giles (No. 3) and Fayetteville’s Dennis Smith Jr. (No. 7) in 2016.

Todd is the second commitment to join Michigan’s class of 2020, which includes four-star guard Zeb Jackson. He’s the highest rated Wolverines commit since 2012, the last time Michigan had a five-star recruit. Todd will be the building block of the 2020 class, even though he could have joined other five-star players at other programs.

But being the centerpiece was a major positive for Todd.

“I feel like if I did have other five-star players playing with me I would be fine,” Todd said. “But we’re a team and it’s all about winning. It’s not about who gets the shine or who is the star of the team. I wanted to go to a school where we win and I can get to the NBA and be the best player I can be.”

He didn’t want to name any names, but Todd said he started recruiting other players to join him in Ann Arbor “yesterday.”

Todd is a huge get for first-year Wolverines’ coach Juwan Howard, a former Michigan player who was part of the “Fab Five” that led the program to consecutive Final Fours.

“Juwan has known me for a while now, even when he was in the NBA,” Todd said about his new coach. “We have a wonderful relationship. He played my position in the league (NBA), he’s coached in the league, he coached LeBron (James) and I want to be around that, I want to be around a winning spirit.”

This summer, Todd averaged 18.3 points per game in 13 games for Nightrydas Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit.

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.