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UNC will not add Sacha Killeya-Jones

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Roy Williams has backed away from recruiting the Kentucky transfer

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Buffalo vs Kentucky Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Though it seemed promising, the prospect of Kentucky transfer Sacha Killeya-Jones signing with UNC is no longer, according to Inside Carolina. The 6’10 forward from Chapel Hill, North Carolina seemed to be trending towards the Tar Heels, and was planning to make UNC his last official visit after cutting his list down to Wake Forest, Louisville, N.C. State, and Wake Forest. According to Inside Carolina’s report, however, UNC has since withdrawn from this recruitment, and will likely not use next year’s remaining scholarship on a newcomer.

To say this comes out of nowhere would not be overstating it. Coach Roy Williams made no bones about how much he coveted Killeya-Jones; he had two 2018 players asking him to recruit them in Jordan Brown and Brandon Williams and essentially ignored them in favor of the transfer who would not have been able to play in 2018. The reasons for this are pretty clear, honestly: Killeya-Jones would have functionally been a senior, with a year of practice in Chapel Hill, with two years of eligibility remaining in 2019. He is a forward, which is a position of need in 2019 with the impending graduation of Luke Maye, was highly rated coming out of high school, and was already recruited a couple of years ago by Williams, meaning all the character, family, and culture benchmarks had been passed already. While SKJ didn’t really produce in college (3 points and 3 rebounds per game in about 11 minutes per game over his career as a Wildcat), he clearly had skills that could have been refined and put to excellent use had he been a Tar Heel.

The unconfirmed word is that UNC’s withdrawal from this recruitment has nothing to do with Williams’ interest, which almost certainly did not wane overnight, and everything to do with some bureaucratic issues. Killeya-Jones cancelled his visit to Pittsburgh after taking his official visits to NC State and Wake Forest, so he will likely end up in either Raleigh or Winston-Salem. Will he choose to follow the footsteps of John Collins or Omer Yurtseven? Either way, we’ll see a fair bit of him in the coming years.