In their quest to add more big men to their 2017 recruitment class, UNC is going a less traditional route by offering a scholarship to Isaiah Stokes. The six-foot-eight power forward was once a promising football recruit before choosing to focus on basketball.
Stokes holds several offers from major programs as an offensive tackle, and is actually ranked as a football player on 247Sports. Over at ESPN, he is considered a four-star talent and is ranked 70th in the top 100 prospects of the class. He is also the 11th-best center and the second-best out of the state of Tennessee. In order to make the transition, he had to lose 60 pounds before anyone would offer him, but once he established himself as a legitimate talent on the basketball court, teams have lined up to sign him.
He got a lot of attention during the Peach Jam, where he worked with other talented prospects to help improve his game. During his time playing on Team Penny, Stokes got to work extensively with former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who had many good things to say about his player.
“Isaiah has worked. I’ve been with him a lot working tirelessly on his conditioning. His footwork is amazing...He’s an outside shooter and inside post guy. He does a lot of great stuff down there under the rim, and he knocks that 16-18 footer down consistently”
Now weighing 285 pounds, the center is transferring from Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year. As a basketball player, he has received offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and now UNC joins the fray. The Vols have the inside track on recruitment with home state advantage and his brother Jarnell Stokes previously playing there, but North Carolina will hope to lure him in.