Scouting Report: Nate Britt

Rob Harrington reviews his notes from the road and compiles a comprehensive scouting report on 2013 Tar Heel commitment Nate Britt ...

    Nate Britt
    6-1, 160
    Point Guard
    Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga College HS
    Class of 2013

    Narrative

    Britt is the latest in a recent string of guards to emerge from the Beltway area to national prominence. Touted as early as 2009, the skinny floor general first established himself as a smart, ball control quarterback who made few mistakes relative to his young peers.

    He expanded his game during the summer of 2011, however, showcasing improved scoring ability and at times to the three-point stripe. He truly blew up at the prestigious NBAPA Top 100 Camp in June, where he was one of the best players in attendance regardless of class.

    His recruitment took off accordingly, and he ultimately chose UNC over Maryland and many other major programs.

    Assets

    Unlike most players, and especially young players, there's no one quality that defines Britt's game. The southpaw is a sure ball-handler, talented passer, capable jump shooter and speedy transition scorer who also possesses solid defensive potential. He excels at creating for himself and others, and over the past year he has become far more confident incorporating his own offense alongside setting up his teammates.

    Let's examine his game in parts. As a playmaker, Britt utilizes impressive court vision to spot open teammates and unselfishly delivers the ball, even as he has become a more assertive scorer. He handles confidently against pressure, has a variety of dribble moves and definitely will not be tagged with the label of "combo" despite his ability to post scoring numbers.

    Athletically, Britt is very quick from a standing position and places a great deal of pressure on the defense in transition due to his fullcourt speed, even if he isn't yet truly elite in terms of explosive leaping ability. He boasts nimble feet laterally and utilizes quick hands to accumulate steals.

    In the halfcourt game, Britt's most shining scoring attribute is his ability to stop and shoot from any distance. His left-handed shooting form is okay from deep, but he's better driving toward the basket and lofting floaters or short pull-ups to keep defenders guessing and preventing big guys from waiting for him at the rim. Even better, his off-handed finishes are nearly indistinguishable from his natural lefty shots, further complicating the issue for help defense. And when he does go all the way, he scores creatively thanks to his ambidexterity and top-notch body control.

    Taking too strong a stance on physical or intangible characteristics always is difficult when evaluating an underclassman, but Britt's competitive personality also warrants at least a brief mention. He plays with more of an edge than most UNC recruits, occasionally engaging in trash-talk and getting confrontational with opponents. He'll have to dial back some of the unchecked aggression, but his fire will be appreciated by both the coaching staff and fans.

    And, apparently, the present group of Tar Heels. Britt performed against the current team and pro alumni on an unofficial visit in September and impressed to the extent that they filtered word excitedly to Roy Williams. Given his age and lack of physical development, Britt's play in that setting speaks both to his talent and self-confidence.

    Deficits

    Strength is the most serious area of concern, and you'll continue to read that now through most likely his freshman year of college. At just over six feet and weighing no more than 160 pounds, he has a long way to go physically. Moreover, he possesses especially skinny legs and will need to improve his lower body strength significantly for defensive purposes, a need accentuated by the fact that he's relatively short.

    He also must become a more consistent shooter from deep. At times he heats up and posts big numbers in a hurry, and on other occasions he misses numerous shots in a row and has a tendency to force some bad ones.

    Britt's play also flattened out in July, perhaps due to fatigue or just shooting inconsistency. He isn't the kind of player to line up the defense and dominate physically, at least not yet. Strength plays a role in the occasional rough patches in his game, and he's more opportunistic with his scoring than someone who simply overwhelms opponents.

    College Projection

    To this point I've focused on Britt in completely neutral terms. In UNC's system specifically, he should be outstanding. He's the best combination of transition scoring and playmaking recruited to UNC since Tywon Lawson in the Class of 2006, and he also projects as a sterling general in the halfcourt game.

    He does have areas to improve and strength projects as an issue for the time being, but ultimately he could become a major weapon for UNC and someone opponents must game plan against in Carolina's up-tempo system. He's also a likely McDonald's All-American and should compete for a top-10 spot in the class on the travel circuit next spring and summer.

    In terms of combinations, I do think it will be possible, if somewhat daunting, to play Britt and Marcus Paige in the backcourt together. Britt would seem to be the likelier of the two to play off the ball and focus on scoring, but of course there may be a defensive problem with two guards on the court standing at most 6-1. And if Kendall Marshall plays all four seasons, both Britt and Paige's role will be limited for one season.

    Examining the bigger picture, UNC now has solidified its future at point guard and likely will focus away from that position both in the remaining 2013 class as well as 2014, unless the coaching staff chooses to bring in a SG/PG combo. While neither Britt nor Paige may project as the next Lawson, it's likely that their combined talents will give Roy Williams his best point guard tandem since Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Miles at Kansas.

Rob provides basketball recruiting coverage for InsideCarolina.com, including reporting from events throughout the country. Rob is editor of the national basketball recruiting website PrepStars.com and the print magazine Recruiter's Handbook. He also covers UNC basketball games for the Independent Weekly and writes a freelance column for USAToday.com. Rob is a member of the Naismith committee honoring the nation's best high school player and is on the selection committee for the McDonald's All-American Game.


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