North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams – who has a reputation for not offering scholarships to younger high school players – made his first offer to a member of the class of 2018 in December to Concord High 6-foot-7 sophomore point guard Rechon Black.
Saturday night, Williams offered scholarships to two more in-state prospects: Cannon 6-8 sophomore forward Jairus Hamilton and Providence Day 6-1 point guard Devon Dotson. Cannon is a private school in Concord. Providence Day is a private school in southeast Charlotte.
“I think (Williams) is trying to take advantage right now of the position he’s in, being ranked No. 2 in the nation and having opportunities for players in that (2018) class,” said Lenoir-based recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons, a McDonald’s All-American committee member now in his 40th year.
“Wait around and wait around and he may not be in the same situation two years from now. Not to say North Carolina won’t be a nationally-ranked program then, but in this day and age when kids don’t stay long in college basketball, it pushes recruiting to earlier ages. But I can’t remember Roy Williams at Kansas or North Carolina offering three sophomores in the same year. It’s just unprecedented.”
Black is considered the No. 1 N.C. prospect in the 2018 class and is ranked among the nation’s top 20 prospects by several recruiting services. Dotson and Hamilton are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in North Carolina by the Phenom Hoop Report. N.C. recruiting analyst Rick Lewis said he isn’t surprised Williams has offered the three sophomores.
“I think that if you look at (the Tar Heels’) recruiting track record recently,” Lewis said, “they’ve missed out on some kids, and I think it’s a situation with how competitive (Williams) is as a coach. Sometimes those type of things (missing on recruits) get you a little more motivated. They’ve been very aggressive that I’ve seen. Throughout the live period (in the fall), I saw (North Carolina’s staff) out more looking at sophomores and freshmen than ever before.”
In sixth grade, Dotson and Black were teammates on the Concord Spiders AAU team. That team also included Northwest Guilford’s Tre Turner and Hough’s Qon Murphy. All four are ranked among the state’s top 10 players in the class of 2018 by the Phenom Hoop Report.
This season, Black averages 14 points, eight assists, three steals and three blocks for Concord’s Spiders, ranked No. 4 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll. Black, who had offers from Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, committed to the Tar Heels last month.
Dotson, whose team is nationally ranked and No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, missed four games with a severe ankle injury he suffered in late December but is averaging 16.9 points, 4.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds. He’s making 54 percent of his shots. He has offers from Georgia, Rutgers, Wake Forest and Tennessee, among others.
Hamilton, whose team is No. 16 in the Sweet 16, averages 20.4 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He also has offers from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Hampton.
Lewis said Black, Dotson and Hamilton have potential to be big-time national recruits and headline one of the best N.C. classes in recent history.
“I think it will go down as one of the best classes in quite some time as far as overall depth,” Lewis said. “All three of those kids have potentials to be McDonald’s All-Americans.
“Will they be as high as (2016 N.C. recruits) Dennis (Smith of N.C. State), Bam (Adebayo, a Kentucky recruit) and Harry (Giles, a Duke recruit), who were all top 10 recruits? That remains to be seen, but those three (sophomores) are definitely top 25 prospects on a national level.”
Want to see them play?
▪ Black and Concord are at Carson Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
▪ Dotson and Providence Day are at Charlotte Latin Tuesday at 7:30.
▪ Hamilton and Cannon are at Charlotte Christian Tuesday.