One look through our Class of 2002 Consensus Rankings reveals that there are very few college-bound true centers in the Top 50. In fact, we count a total of three.
The Heels are already recruiting Jason Fraser (No. 16) and Michael Thompson (No. 20) committed to Duke months ago.
The only other college-bound true center remaining in the Top 50 is Keith Butler (No. 44) -- and the Tar Heels have begun to pick up the pace with the seven-footer.
The UNC staff is showing an increased interest in Butler, who is likely headed to Winchedeon Prep (MA) after four years at Cambridge (MA) North Catholic.
"What you'll get with him is a legit 7-footer who runs well, blocks shots and rebounds," IC Recruiting Analyst Clint Jackson said. "He's a pretty good scorer and has been known to hit some jump shots from 16 feet and in. Having seen nearly all of the true centers in the country this year, I find it hard not to consider Butler one of the best seven."
The Tar Heels have made recent contact with Butler, according to IC Recruiting Insider Zeke Martins
He has some work to do in the classroom, that much is well known, but if Butler shows sign of being capable of qualifying this year at prep school, the Carolina staff just might make an offer.
While Butler cracked the Top 50 this summer, Aliou Kane is not far behind in the rankings (No. 70 by Prep Stars).
Kane, a 6-10, 230-pound native of West Africa who plays at Blue Ridge (VA), has also seen an increased interest from the Tar Heels.
The Carolina staff has made recent phone calls and are looking further into Kane than a mere evaluation, reports Martins.
According to Jackson, Kane has a strong build and is now focused on improving his offensive tools.
"When you look at Kane's physique, you can't help being impressed," Jackson said. "He's the kind of prospect that catches fans eyes as soon as he walks in the building. He's got a replica body of NBA star Anthony Mason.
"On the court, Kane is usually matched up with the opposing power forward or center. He's physically able to hold his position on the blocks and rebounds well on the defensive side. On the offensive side, however, he's got a lot of work to do. He doesn't have many scoring moves or back-to-the-basket creativity, but has been known to sink an occasional 10-14 footer."
Depending on Carolina's success with Jason Fraser, you may be hearing a lot more from IC on Kane and Butler in the coming weeks.