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UNC Basketball: Four-star SG D’Marco Dunn commits to Tar Heels

Dunn is the second member of UNC’s 2021 recruiting class.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Six months after Dontrez Styles committed to the UNC basketball program, another in-state target has made the same decision. On Wednesday afternoon, shooting guard D’Marco Dunn verbally pledged to play his college ball in Chapel Hill. He announced the decision at Westover High School.

Dunn, a consensus four-star recruit, plays for Westover High School in Fayetteville, NC. Currently listed at 6-4 and 180 pounds, Dunn moved from Arizona to North Carolina before his junior year, where a strong season caught the attention from college coaches. All three main recruiting services we follow at Tar Heel Blog list him as a top-100 recruit, however that is well above where he started prior to last season. A flurry of spring offers from UNC, Arizona, Louisville, Maryland, and Clemson indicate a full slate of AAU games would have pushed these rankings higher. Here are his current rankings.

Rivals: Shooting Guard, 4-stars, #77 (national), #11 (position), NR (state)
ESPN: Shooting Guard, 4-stars, #86 (national), #19 (position), #3 (state)
247 Sports (organic): Shooting Guard, 4-stars, #87 (national), #18 (position), #3 (state)
247 Sports (composite): Shooting Guard, 4-stars, #78 (national), #16 (position), #2 (state)

In his junior season at Westover, Dunn averaged 20.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game. That production helped lead Westover High School to a 30-0 record and a deep run in the state playoffs before COVID canceled the party. Not bad for a guy who didn’t arrive in the state until last summer. It’s possible the UNC coaching staff has once again identified a rising star before the recruiting services adjust their rankings accordingly.

ESPN’s Director of Recruiting, Paul Biancardi, also took notice of Dunn at the recent Big Shots tournament in Myrtle Beach.

Check out these highlights from a few of the rare summer tournaments this year. ESPN’s Director of Recruiting, Paul Biancardi, also took notice of Dunn at the recent Big Shots tournament in Myrtle Beach. (Shout out to Tar Heel Illustrated’ s in-house recruiting highlight videos. One of my favorite features in a saturated UNC market).

Despite the push for “positionless” basketball over the past decade, UNC’s still relies on a more traditional positional system. As a traditional shooting guard, Dunn currently projects into the “2” spot on the floor. An emerging deadly outside shooter, he hit 45% from three on 157 attempts. Dunn appears most comfortable hanging out around the perimeter, but he’s more than just a catch-and-shoot player. The videos above show a player who is also comfortable in transition and can get into the lane if he receives the ball with some momentum or using off-ball movement.

At this point in his development, Dunn lacks the ballhandling skills to be a secondary ballhandler or back-up point guard. He struggles to create his own shot in one-on-one situations and doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism, so he won’t outjump anyone in the gym. However, as his junior stats indicate, his length will eventually be an asset for rebounding from the perimeter. Dunn also lacks the reputation of being a two-way player, but that’s not uncommon for rising high school seniors. In other words, the foundation is there for Dunn to evolve into your stereotypical, multi-year UNC shooting guard.

Dunn is UNC’s second commitment for 2021. There are currently just three confirmed open scholarships for next season, with the graduations of Andrew Platek, Garrison Brooks, and Ryan McAdoo. Incoming point guard Caleb Love is widely expected to be a one-and-done player, but nothing is publicly confirmed.

If Love departs, a sophomore R.J. Davis will split time between the point guard and shooting guard positions. Depending on future recruiting outcomes, a Davis may also slide over as the primary ballhandler. Kerwin Walton, Puff Johnson, and Leaky Black’s length and size make them all candidates to also spend time at small forward or “power” forward as a stretch-four. That leaves Anthony Harris as the only true shooting guard on the roster, but with two ACL tears in the past two years the Heels need some depth and insurance at the position. Dunn provides that.

Obviously, COVID has disrupted the traditional recruiting cycles around the country, so there’s not a timetable for future commitments. UNC’s greatest asset, official on-campus visits, have been non-existent which has dampened the enthusiasm for this recruiting cycle. There are just seven current offers to 2021 players who have either not committed or not eliminated UNC from contention. Considering all those factors, and with no known end to the NCAA recruiting moratorium, it could be another six-month wait before the recruiting dominoes start falling.

Thankfully, UNC already have two of their biggest needs accounted for.