Nassir Little has been on a tear this year, solidifying his spot amongst the top recruits in the 2018 class. Much to the dismay of UNC fans and Duke haters everywhere, the Blue Devils’ recruits stole a lot of the spotlight before the postseason games began. Well, following his performance at the McDonald’s All-American game and at the Jordan Brand Classic, it appears that there are people taking notice and are giving him the praise he deserves.
Rivals updated their top 100 list, and Nassir Little is now the 2nd best player coming into the 2018 class. This puts him right below R.J. Barrett, with Cameron Reddish behind him at three, Bol Bol at four, and Zion Williamson at number five. This is a very interesting development, and one has to wonder if 247 Sports and ESPN may follow suit. Little has been a monster this spring, showing flashes of things that players typically don’t unveil during showcases the way that he has.
The updated rankings from Rivals confirms that the gap between R.J. Barrett and Nassir Little is very small. In fact, Dan McDonald with Rivals pointed this out when discussing the two players:
“But this time it came down to the Duke signee or North Carolina signee Nassir Little. Little’s performance at the McDonald’s All-American Game made it a neck-and-neck race between the soon-to-be Tobacco Road rivals, but we stuck with Barrett. This one will be fun to follow next year, as well as deep into their NBA careers, because it really was a tough call.”
For anybody that may have followed Nassir Little’s senior year closely, you know exactly what McDonald is talking about. While Zion Williamson has easily been the most talked about Dookie in the 2018-19 class, R.J. Barrett has what it takes to be their best player in the fall. The great thing about that is that Little and Barrett have already squared off against each other during their high school careers.
When going head to head, both players have performed equally well against each other. It’s honestly really impressive, and has set the stage very nicely for what is going to be a very exciting rivalry between UNC and Duke this year. The Tar Heels added crucial pieces to their roster coming off of an up and down year, and Duke had to fully reload their roster with the best prospects in the country after their entire starting lineup decided to enter the NBA Draft. Little and Barrett are going to be a treat for everyone to watch, despite the fact that the narrative will probably be pushed Zion’s way, but I think we will see the needle move to where it should be by the time these two teams face off in February/March.
Little’s rise to the number two spot wasn’t the only good news that came out of the new list from Rivals: fellow signee Coby White moved up to the number 24 spot in the list. White is coming off of a record-breaking season with Greenfield High School, and is looking to carry that momentum into Chapel Hill with him as he tries to make a name for himself as quickly as he can to give UNC some depth in the backcourt. Little, White, and Rechon “Leaky” Black will be as strong of a class as any we’ve seen in recent memory, and and with the veteran talent that is already on the roster, we can expect many exciting nights in the Dean Dome.