UNC Moving On Grooms

The North Carolina coaching staff didn't waste any time before starting the search for another point guard after Larry Drew's departure.

Shortly after the junior point guard announced his intentions to transfer last week, assistant coach Steve Robinson put in a call to 6-foot-1, 190-pound Marianna (Fla.) Chipola College point guard Sam Grooms.

"I think it was the same day the Drew stuff came out," Grooms said. "He told me that basically they needed a point guard and with me being considered the best JuCo point guard in America that it was the best way for them to go."

Robinson asked Grooms if North Carolina could get into his recruitment and the Greensboro native said he was open to it.

"I'm interested in anything and everything," Grooms said. "Of course because it's Carolina and it's right there going back toward home, I would be interested in that."

Grooms spent his freshman and sophomore high school years at McLeansville (N.C.) Northeast Guilford before transferring to Wilson (N.C.) Charis Prep. He currently has offers from Oklahoma State, Nebraska and South Florida. He's also heard from Louisville.

Growing up in Greensboro, Grooms already has a superficial relationship with North Carolina. He said he grew up watching Carolina basketball and keeps up with the program.

"I remember watching Carolina when they had Ed Cota and Vince Carter and guys like that," Grooms said. "I've been following them for a long time."

Grooms tuned in to the Duke/Carolina match-up Wednesday night, but said the rivalry game had a slightly different feel after hearing from Robinson. He said he could see himself playing in the rivalry.

"It'd be amazing to be a part of something like that," Grooms said. "I think that's a lot of kids' dream to be a part of something big like that and to play on a big stage like that."

While Grooms is certainly interested in the Heels, he stressed that he was still early in his process and open to hearing from anyone.

"You're talking about one of the top four programs ever, so when they call, they have a little more clout than other places," Grooms said. "But I'm not too far ahead on anybody right now. I'm just trying to hear everybody out and pick the best situation for me."

Whether UNC is the right fit for Grooms remains to be seen. Carolina offers the up-tempo system Grooms prefers plus the winning pedigree -- Chipola is one of the top teams in the country. But can the Heels offer enough playing time?

Grooms said he'll have to decide whether he's OK going to a place where he might not start.

"With the talent that I have, I think if I work hard, it should be there. I don't want to go into a situation where if I'm working hard and I'm doing everything I'm supposed to and then I don't play," Grooms said. "(But) I'm not the type of kid who's going to turn my back because I'm not starting. That's not me."

Grooms won't have to wait long to get more information about Carolina.

"We're talking about maybe getting a visit sometime soon," Grooms said. "(Coach Robinson) is also supposed to come down here sometime very soon (to watch a game). I believe it's sometime this (coming) week."

Grooms said he'll take a few visits but he's not sure how many. He also said he expects to make his decision sometime before the end of the JuCo season.

"I'm not going to prolong this process," Grooms said. "Of course I want to take visits to see what things are like but I'm not going to prolong it into the summer. This is not LeBron James. I'm not taking my talents to South Beach."


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