Meeks Ready To Compete

Kennedy Meeks is spending his final days before enrolling at UNC like he does most days – with his family and friends.

There have been visits to the movies and bowling alley, sightseeing in different areas of the state and trips to the beach.

It's the quietest moments, however – reminiscing with his mom and aunt about little league basketball, playing video games with his cousins or looking through old photo albums – that make the reality of a new life, in a new city, palpable.

"It's been a little sad the last few days," he said. "I'm really just trying to spend as much time with family as I possibly can because I'll be gone for five weeks. This is really my first time being away from them for more than a few days. I'm excited to go to Chapel Hill this weekend, but it's going to hurt to leave my family."

Following his graduation from West Charlotte on June 8, Meeks' family celebrated with a cookout. More than 100 people attended.

"Before graduation, I was a little emotional just because I couldn't believe it was actually here," Meeks explained. "It was one of the greatest days of my life though, to get a diploma."

Meeks will move into his UNC dorm room this Sunday and start classes on June 20. He'll room with fellow 2013 signees Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt.

"We haven't even talked about the actual rooming situation much," Meeks explained. "We just, all three of us, have talked about our first season together, working hard and doing what we can to help win a national championship."

For North Carolina to make a run deep into the tournament next season, it'll need to solidify the post position opposite junior big man James Michael McAdoo. In conversations with the UNC coaching staff the last few months, Meeks feels like he has a chance to earn the open spot.

"I'm so ready to get in there and work," Meeks explained. "They (the coaching staff) told me I have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes. It's just up to me to get those minutes. As long as we win, I'm satisfied. Of course, I'd prefer to start but I'll do whatever Coach Roy (Williams) asks me to."

In addition to the normal learning curve incoming freshmen deal with, Meeks has the challenge of getting into peak physical shape. One of the things that's "up to him" is his ability to transform his body into one ready for the rigors of basketball in the ACC.

"I got a workout from Jonas (Sahratian, UNC's strength and conditioning coach) about three weeks ago," said Meeks. "People are now asking me if I've been lifting weights more, but I'm just like ‘nah I'm doing the program they sent me.' It has a lot of pushups and stuff like that."

If there's one thing Meeks is looking forward to most upon his arrival in Chapel Hill, it's the pickup games that take place with UNC's current team and its former players.

"I know they take them real serious," he said. "Usually pickup games are just like ‘whatever.' But, I'm ready for it. I'm ready for the players to come back and to have a chance to compete against some of the best players we've ever had."

Meeks, who said he is now 6-foot-10, plans to wear No. 3 at UNC.

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