North Carolina basketball officially has their first verbal commitment for the class of 2021. On Saturday, forward Dontrez Styles committed to play for the Tar Heels. The announcements comes less than one month after Roy Williams officially extended a scholarship offer. Styles announced the decision via a live stream on Instagram.
Class Of 2021 SF Dontrez Styles Commits To UNC https://t.co/KDP6VsqYz2@NCPreps @jhardy575 @JacobTurnerTHI @kevinroy95 @sheshootsports @JohnGwaltney @clintjackson1 @RobJones__#Carolina #UNC #goheels #TarHeels— Tar Heel Illustrated (@HeelIllustrated) April 18, 2020
Styles is a consensus four-star recruit from Kinston, North Carolina. Currently listed at 6-7 and 205-pounds, a strong junior season caught the attention from college coaches. All three main recruiting services we follow at Tar Heel Blog list him as a top-70 recruit, however that is well above where he started prior to last season. Both 247 Sports (#136) and Rivals (#91) had Styles as one their major risers through the winter. Here are his current rankings.
Rivals: Small Forward, 4-stars, #58 (national), #12 (position), NR (state)
ESPN: Small Forward, 4-stars, #58 (national), #13 (position), #1 (state)
247 Sports (organic): Power Forward, 4-stars, #68 (national), #15 (position), #1 (state)
247 Sports (composite): Power Forward, 4-stars, #57 (national), #12 (position), #1 (state)
Tough, physical, and aggressive, Styles uses his raw athleticism and evolving shooting ability to produce on both ends of the court. According to MaxPreps, Styles averaged 19.7 points, 11 rebounds, 1.1 assist, 0.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 30 games. He shot 76% from the floor, 51% from three, and 83% from the foul line. Kinston finished with a 26-4 record and advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs. Check out the video from this past season.
And here’s a video from last summer when he squared off against incoming UNC freshman, Day’Ron Sharpe.
Quick off his feet, Styles seems to always be around the ball. His athleticism and aggression will be a welcome sight in UNC’s transition game, and an inside-outside flavor to his scoring keep defenses honest. That will, eventually, open scoring, passing and driving lanes. He’ll have to continue to develop his perimeter game – shooting, dribbling, and shot-creating— but with an entire season (and hopefully, some semblance of a summer circuit), there is plenty of time for that to happen.
Listed as both a small forward and power forward, Styles’ college position is to be determined. At his current size, he projects to a small forward or wing in UNC’s offense. A stretch-4 or power forward role is possible if he continues to grow. Garrison Brooks and Luke Maye were/are both listed at 6-8. Regardless, his skillset will make him a fit all over the court – specifically on the defensive end, where he could follow in a Theo Pinson/Leaky Black mold of guarding multiple positions.
It’s too early to know what the roster will look like, but those scoring and rebounding abilities will be needed in 2021-22. The only known scholarship departures after next season are Andrew Platek and Garrison Brooks. By the time Styles gets on campus, the perimeter should consist of, at a minimum, Puff Johnson, Anthony Harris, and Leaky Black. A tough, big, physical, aggressive, attacking forward will be a much-needed addition.
Styles is UNC’s first commitment for 2021. Whether he continues to rise in the recruiting rankings like Nassir Little and Coby White did after receiving/committing to UNC, or he represents a minor shift in UNC’s recruiting philosophy, remains to be seen. Either way, UNC is likely getting a multi-year player who will help lead the Heels into the new decade.
This commitment continues a pipeline of talent from Kinston to Chapel Hill. The North Carolina town also claims former Tar Heels Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Bullock. Both were drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Heels fans hope that tradition continues.