One of the worst-kept secrets of Carolina basketball is that head coach Roy Williams has a knack for discovering talent at an early stage that only gets better and better with time. The most recent example of this is former Tar Heels Coby White, who got exponentially better during his final AAU season and went on to break the North Carolina state high school career scoring record before becoming a starter during his lone year in Chapel Hill. This spring, we have discovered that Williams has found another blooming talent, and we still have to wait a whole other year before we can see him in Tar Heel blue.
Yesterday afternoon, 247 Sports announced that 2020 UNC verbal commit Day’Ron Sharpe has climbed up their rankings and is now a five-star player. His overall ranking under their metrics moved him up to No. 18, which is 13 spots higher than his previous ranking.
Sharpe has had an excellent spring so far, and is turning heads left and right as he prepares for the final season of his high school career. It was reported by USA Today High School Sports last month that during the first event with his AAU team Garner Road, Sharpe averaged 22.5 points and 13 rebounds, with his team finishing the event 4-0.
Inside Carolina released a quote yesterday from Garner Road’s director Dwayne West about Sharpe, and some of the strengths that he sees in UNC’s future big man:
“Day’Ron is a five-star player. He has a great feel for the game that translates into positive plays for his teammates and himself. He passes well on the post, elbow, and wing. He scores in different ways efficiently - with no selfish tendencies. Off the court, he is a mature leader that enjoys his team and is a kid that’s enjoyable to be around.”
Coming out of his junior year, Sharpe finished with an impressive stat line of 17.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 60% from the field for South Central High School in Winterville, NC. He helped lead his team to a 30-1 record and the state title, setting his senior career up for the potential to win back-to-back titles before he makes his way to Chapel Hill. His huge junior year earned him a spot on the Associated Press All-State Men’s Basketball team, an honor that was shared with incoming Duke freshman and former UNC target Wendell Moore.
Sharpe’s climb up the 247 Sports rankings means that it’s likely we will soon see ESPN and Rivals follow suit, but how much they will move him up is the question. ESPN currently has Sharpe listed as a four-star and the 49th best player in the country, while Rivals also has him as a four-star, but have him listed as the 27th best player in their rankings. It’s reasonable to expect any climb up Rivals’ board to give Sharpe a five-star ranking, as the lowest five-star on their board is currently No. 24.
When looking at the bigger picture, Sharpe’s development should make any UNC fan feel very comfortable with the future of Roy Williams’ frontcourt. Whether or not Armando Bacot plays beyond his freshman season, the Heels have a guy coming in that should be able to provide good defense in the post, strong rebounding skills, and yes, someone that likes to play above the rim. What we don’t know, however, is who will be joining Sharpe in the 2020 class next fall. Roy Williams has nine offers so far made to plenty of five-star talent, including Isaiah Todd, Ziaire Williams, and Armando Bacot’s former teammate at IMG, Jaden Springer. There is still a lot of recruiting to be done between now and next spring, but Sharpe has shown us that Roy Williams still has a green thumb for spotting talent, and it’ll be a lot of fun to the next prospect is to commit to the Tar Heels down the road.