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UNC Basketball: Simeon Wilcher shines in State Champions Invitational

The future Tar Heel had a star turn on Thursday, but showed that he has room to grow against #1 seed Wheeler (GA) on Friday.

High School Basketball: State Champions Invitational Tournament Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

UNC fans have good reason to be excited for future freshman Simeon Wilcher’s arrival in Chapel Hill, but they’ll have to wait just a little bit longer to see him in Carolina blue. As New Jersey state champions, Wilcher’s Roselle Catholic was invited to play in the State Champions Invitational, currently being played in Washington DC.

In their first game on Thursday against Curtis (WA), Wilcher came out of the gates guns blazing. He scored 29 points on 8-15 shooting (3-4 3PT, 10-12 FT) and added five assists.

Wilcher ran with power and control, and showed a deft shooting touch. If Elliot Cadeau looked like Kendall Marshall, Wilcher resembles another tall, scoring point guard: Coby White. Take a look at this fast break off of a Wheeler turnover:

Wilcher and the rest of the Roselle Lions had a much tougher time against Georgia 7A state champion Wheeler. The #1 seed Wildcats were much bigger at every position and were paced by USC commit Arringten Page with 24 points and Iowa State commit Jelani Hamilton with 22 points.

Roselle gave up 15 turnovers, most of them trying to thread passes into the teeth of a long and active 2-3 zone. Wilcher contributed four turnovers to the cause, but some of them were clearly his teammates’ fault, two of them coming when they caught passes with a foot out of bounds waiting for a catch-and-shoot.

Wilcher fouled out early in the fourth quarter with 12 points on 4-13 shooting (1-2 3PT, 3-4 FT), three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. After expelling some private frustration at the end of the bench, Wilcher was actively pushing his team on as Roselle made a late run to shrink a 16-point deficit to single digits.

Roselle could not get closer than six points and lost 78-68. With Roselle’s postseason over, Wilcher can now focus on his transition to college basketball. He is clearly one of the most skilled players at the State Champions Invitational, but he’ll need to add strength to his thin frame to walk away from some of the collisions he’ll no doubt encounter during his daring forays into the paint.

We still don’t know what Hubert Davis’s team will look like next season, as he looks to fill in the roster with transfer portal candidates, but expect to see Wilcher earn some early season minutes, with a chance to establish a foothold in the rotation by the time ACC play comes around.