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UNC recruiting target reclassifies to Class of 2019

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Shooting guard Anthony Edwards immediately becomes the top ranked player in the Class of 2019.

CBS Sports Classic Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Before the July evaluation period, class of 2020 big man Day’Ron Sharpe was UNC’s only commitment among rising high school juniors. In fact, he was also their only confirmed scholarship offer. There were rumors of other offers, most notably to shooting guard Anthony Edwards. Inside Carolina has had him listed as receiving an offer, though there has never been public acknowledgement from Edwards or his family, as we have previously noted.

Yesterday, the offer was all but confirmed in this report from Evan Daniels of 247 Sports. The most notable part of his story, however, was that Edwards was reclassifying from the class of 2020 to the class of 2019.

The 6’4, 215-pound shooting guard is a bona fide five-star prospect out of Atlanta, GA. Playing his high school ball for Holy Spirit Preparatory Academy, he continued his impressive dominance of the summer AAU circuit for Atlanta Xpress. Over the summer he proved to be the most explosive player in all of high school, averaging 21 points and 6.1 rebounds on Under Armour’s summer circuit. Whoever lands the athletic wing will be gaining an instant impact contributor, as these highlights show.

While perimeter players who can play both the point and shooting guard positions continue to gain notoriety, on the college level (or at least at UNC) Edwards will likely see most of his time on the wing. A threat who can stroke it from deep or turn his defender into a poster is usually a skill that is only bestowed among the most talented recruits. There are NBA players who can’t control and contort their body the way that Edwards does. It’s important to be careful when gushing over high school kids, but in this case the hype seems justified. Edwards is clearly “that” kind of talent. Nassir Little agrees.

Already weighing a solid 215 pounds, Edwards’ physicality and aggressiveness simply overpowers other guards. Yet, his athleticism and quickness make him almost impossible for larger forwards to defend. A natural scorer, he also has the physical tools to create for others, whether by drawing the attention of defenses or setting teammates up for their own shot. If he decides to commit himself to the defensive end of the floor, his frame and quickness would be a nightmare for opposing perimeter players.

Entering the summer with Edwards listed as a consensus top-10 recruit in the class of 2020, 247Sports’ Eric Bossi actually wondered if Edwards was underrated during the summer events. Considering that Edwards, with this reclassification, instantly became the top-ranked prospect in the class of 2019, jumping recent Memphis commit James Wiseman at the head of the class, Bossi clearly had a valid point.

With this news, it’s hard to get a true read on UNC’s chances. Edwards says Michigan State, Florida State, Kentucky, Georgia, and North Carolina are the five schools that have made him a priority, but he stopped short of saying they were the final five schools. Official visits to Florida State and Michigan State have not been scheduled, but they received specific mentions from Edwards in Daniels’ report.

When players reclassify they usually already have their destination in mind. Recently prominent reclassifications, such as Marvin Bagley III, Joey Baker, and Ashton Hagans were announced in the spring or summer after lobbying from their respective schools. With his reclassification announcement coming in November, and plenty of time left before he needs to sign with a school, it’s not known if Edwards falls into that category or if he’s just ready to move on to the next phase of his basketball journey.

The Heels’ coaching staff don’t have a history of making reclassified recruits a priority, but with the ever-changing landscape and increased focus on the NBA, it has become more common over recent years. In the past, players would reclassify to delay their entry into college to gain an extra year of preparation and evaluation. It is now seemingly more common for players to reclassify to an earlier class so they can get to college, and theoretically the NBA, more quickly. Man, the times they are a’ changin’.

Edwards would fill an instant need for the Heels on the wing in 2019. After some high-profile misses, most notably Josh Green and Boogie Ellis, North Carolina is still looking for perimeter help next season. With Cameron Johnson, Kenny Williams, and Luke Maye graduating, playing time would obviously be available for the top recruit in the class.

Edwards has not given a timeline for his decision yet, and we’ll keep you updated as long as we know UNC is involved.