While there is a lot of hype right now surrounding the 2019 recruiting class for the Tar Heels, Roy Williams has been hard at work taking visits to see prospects for 2020 and 2021. This weekend was an especially busy weekend for him, as he went to see players such as Donovan Johnson (Cameron Johnson’s brother), UNC verbal commit Day’Ron Sharpe, Isaiah Todd, Greg Brown, and Ziaire Williams, just to name a few. However, there’s one prospect that he watched play over the weekend, and it’s a player that for multiple reasons Tar Heels fans should get to know.
Friday evening Williams traveled to Kansas City to attend the second session of the Under Armor Association. The purpose of his trip was to watch 2020 five-star recruit Jaden Springer in action. Springer is a 6’4 shooting guard from Charlotte, NC, but currently plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. He was teammates with UNC signee Armando Bacot, and helped lead their team to the Geico Nationals and won the National Championship. Springer finished out the 2018-19 season averaging a team-high 18.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He shot at an impressive 55.5% clip from the field, and 30.3% of his three-point attempts.
As far as how his summer has gone so far, Springer is currently the leading scorer for the B Maze Elite. He is averaging 13.8 points, 5.67 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, and is shooting at a 49% clip from the field. His team is currently 5th place in the Drive division with a 4-4 record.
The general consensus about Springer’s game is that he has a high motor and knows how to finish through contact. He’s capable of scoring at all three levels of the court, although his shooting from behind the arc needs some work. He’s able to defend multiple positions on the floor, which is largely because of his strong physique and 6’7 1⁄2 wingspan. Overall, he’s a guy that in his current form would be someone who Roy Williams could turn to for consistent scoring in or near the paint and for versatility on defense. A year from now, however, we could see a much-improved version of Springer, as recruiting analysts believe he’s only getting better and better as he progresses through his 2019 calendar year.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Springer being a target for the Tar Heels is the fact that Armando Bacot was his teammate. As we all know, Bacot has become one of the best recruiters for the Tar Heels, and put a lot of pressure on players in the 2019 class to join him and attempt to reach the Final Four in 2020. His efforts at minimum paid off when it came to five-star combo guard Cole Anthony, who committed to the Heels just last week. Given the familiarity with each other on the high school level and the amount of success that they had, it’d be hard to foresee Springer’s entire recruiting process go by without Bacot doing everything that he can to make sure Springer makes his way to Chapel Hill next fall.
As it stands now, Springer is the 12th best player in the country, and 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball currently has UNC 100% favored to land him. Jerry Meyer, the lead expert for Springer, just submitted his vote for the Heels yesterday. All of this doesn’t mean a great deal right now, as the longer Springer waits to make a commitment, the more offers he will receive from other high-profile teams. The most notable teams to offer him aside from UNC so far are Kansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt (who is now coached by former UNC player Jerry Stackhouse), and NC State.
With 2019 recruiting winding down and AAU season already underway, the 2020 class will begin to make more and more noise over the coming months. Jaden Springer seems to be on an upward trajectory, and we could see him climb the ranks a bit by the time the summer is over. It may be best to get familiar with his name now, because something tells me we’ll start hearing it quite a bit in the near future.