By now you’ve probably seen the news. In a flurry of recruiting activity, UNC has scheduled official visits with a trio of players for next week. With a massive void on the perimeter, all three players would help fill the void left by Coby White, Kenny Williams, Cameron Johnson, and Nassir Little. We’ll give you a quick down and dirty on potential future Heels and how they could fit into next season. Akil will still cover football and basketball recruiting tomorrow in our weekly recap.
Shooting Guard, 6-4, 175
Charleston Southern (Graduate Transfer)
The shooting guard from the Big South has been a hot commodity. Currently ranked as ESPN’s #7 overall transfer on the market, Keeling would bring a scoring and rebounding threat on the wing. He averaged 18.7 points and 6.9 rebounds last season, but has been an impact player since he arrived in Charleston. For his career, Keeling has averaged 17.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.
He has averaged a respectable 35% from beyond the arc over three seasons, but that is buoyed by a career-best 38% success rate last year. Averaging 6.3 three-point attempts as a junior, Keeling isn’t afraid to let it fly. With 4.8 free throw attempts per game, he also isn’t afraid to attack the rim. How those skills transfer to tougher competition is still an unknown, but judging by the amount of interest he’s generated, most coaching staffs aren’t too concerned. Over 25 schools reached out in pursuit of his services.
Keeling will officially visit UNC from April 23-25. He has already visited Georgia Tech and is headed to Clemson this weekend. You can find additional details in this article by Inside Carolina’s Sherrell McMillan.
Small Forward, 6-7, 215
William and Mary (Graduate Transfer)
Pierce is listed as the #5 overall transfer by ESPN, which may surprise some fans. As a junior he “only” averaged 14.9 points on his way to 3rd-team All-CAA honors. His value, however, comes in his versatility. Pierce also averaged 8.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists, and can play multiple positions on the perimeter or high post. That kind of flexibility could benefit UNC next season.
A career 34.5% success rate behind the arc, like Keeling, is respectable. Unlike Keeling, Pierce saw a significant dip in his long-distance shooting success. As a sophomore he hit 41.6% on 3.6 three-point attempts per game. Last season, his shooting dropped to 32.4% while his attempts increased to 4.9 per game. Obviously UNC would hope for a repeat of his sophomore numbers, but his rebounding success is likely more attractive to the Tar Heel coaching staff.
Pierce recently visited Notre Dame and will visit Michigan this weekend. After making the trip to Chapel Hill on April 28th, he’s expected to make a final decision. More info can be found in this article from Evan Daniels.
“Combo” Guard, 6-3, 175
Paul VI Catholic (Fairfax, VA)
Harris recently decommitted from Virginia Tech after Buzz Williams left for Texas A&M. There was some chatter that UNC had reached out to Harris and his family when Williams checked in on 2020 point guard target (and Paul VI teammate) Jeremy Roach, but nothing official had been made public. That changed yesterday.
Harris is a 4-star “combo” guard, currently ranked 65th in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. Projected as a multi-year player, he would fill multiple roles on the perimeter. I personally find the term “combo” guard pointless, no pun intended. It basically means a guy is a scoring point guard (Coby White) or a shooting guard with ball-handling skills (Marcus Paige in 2016).
How Harris would fit into UNC isn’t completely known. Coming off an ACL injury, he missed most of last season. Not known as an elite shooter (yet), Harris could fill the traditional role on the wing, while handling point guard duties in back-up/emergency duty. Or, with a reputation of being a dogged defender and respectable ball handler and passer, he could develop into a long-term answer at point guard. Possessing above-average athleticism, Harris would thrive in either role with an ability to attack and get into the lane.
With Brandon Robinson and Seventh Woods graduating after next season, the perimeter is projected to be thin headed into 2020. Jeremiah Francis (PG) Andrew Platek (SG) and Leaky Black (PG/SG/SF/PF/C/Everything) are the only guards currently expected to be around after next season. There will be playing time in some capacity.
However, before any of that turns into a serious discussion, Harris has to pick UNC. He’ll take his official visit on April 22-23 after visiting Indiana this weekend. There is no timetable for his decision. More information from Evan Daniels can be found here.