CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Over the last few years, North Carolina has attempted to take advantage of the high-major talent coming out of South Carolina.
In 2015, South Carolina freshman P.J. Dozier was one of UNC’s top targets. In 2016, Seventh Woods has held a UNC offer for nearly two years. And in 2017, UNC’s lone verbal commitment, Jalek Felton, plays at Mullins High School.
After his performances this past week, Devontae Shuler might be the next Palmetto State native to become a major Tar Heel target.
Shuler, a 6-3 standout at Columbia (S.C.) Irmo, was one of the breakout stars at last week’s Under Armour All-American camp, as well as the Phenom Champions Showcase.
Roy Williams and assistants Hubert Davis and C.B. McGrath saw the athletic class of 2017 point guard in action multiple times during the five-day evaluation period.
Shuler averaged 17.2 points per game against elite competition at the Under Armour camp, leading the camp in made three-pointers on 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He hit 7-of-10 three-pointers in a 23-point outing Friday with Roy Williams in attendance.
“I’m not a selfish player at all,” Shuler said. “As long as my team wins, that’s all that matters. Attacking the basket and beating my man off the dribble is what I’m best at. I need to work on my ball-handling, because when I go to college it’s going to be tough defense. If you can’t control the ball, that’s not good.”
Irmo Head Coach Tim Whipple, a member of the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, has been around high school basketball in the state for more than 30 years.
“There is no limit to the level I think Devontae can play, ability wise,” Whipple said. “He’s a very talented individual. He’s been on our varsity squad since ninth grade. He’s in a situation where he’s just starting to mature and grow. The next step for him as a major college player is to understand how to play the game. He needs to continue to develop the basketball IQ that goes along with all the natural talent he has.”
Whipple knows North Carolina’s program and system because of a close friendship with former UNC assistant and South Carolina head coach Eddie Fogler. He sees Shuler as a potential fit with the Tar Heels.
“They’ve come into South Carolina and stolen a lot of really good basketball players,” he said. “I think they’re going to try and do that with Devontae as well, because he has the tools they want. For us, he’s handling the ball the majority of the time. We’ve had several point guards that have been very good – B.J. McKie, who went to USC, Marvin Orange, who went to Alabama and Jordan Roper at Clemson.”
“Devontae is in that same mold. Our teams have always been the best when we have good, athletic scoring point guards and that’s what he is.”
Shuler said he’s received interest from North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, N.C. State, Xavier, Texas, Louisville and Georgetown. He’s received offers thus far from Southern Cal, Stephen F. Austin and Wofford - a list that's sure to increase soon.
During the second evaluation period next week, Shuler will play with the Carolina Wolves on the Under Armour circuit. The Wolves feature Woods.
“Seventh, that’s like my brother,” explained Shuler. “I love playing with him.”
Last season, Shuler averaged 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and 3.5 steals per game for Irmo.
2017 Intro: Devontae Shuler
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