Late Night Preview: UNC Basketball's Visiting Recruits

As "Late Night with Roy" opens the 2016-17 Tar Heel basketball season on Friday, a large collection of recruits are expected to be courtside at the Smith Center, Inside Carolina has confirmed through sources.

Jarred Vanderbilt: One of two official visitors this weekend, Vanderbilt is the second top 15 prospect to officially visit UNC in the senior class (P.J. Washington). He hails from Houston, Texas and played on the same travel team – Houston Hoops – as Carolina junior forward Justin Jackson. Getting the 6-7 combo forward on campus is a significant victory for UNC considering it’s only been heavily recruiting him since Aug. 16, when Roy Williams offered a scholarship.

Vanderbilt plans to make a decision in either December or January, and sign in the spring. Though North Carolina has ground to make up on his other perceived leaders – TCU and Kentucky – Williams and his staff fully believes they can narrow the gap during his official. 

Vanderbilt On Carolina

“His (Roy Williams) pitch was they never tell anybody to come (to UNC); they just said guys who take their visits love it so much they wanted to come back.”

Rob Harrington’s Take

“A face-up forward, Vanderbilt's biggest strength lies in his motor and ability to go to the glass and reel in rebounds. He's an impressive athlete that gets off the ground quickly and has good instincts when it comes to going after loose balls or rebounds."

Sterling Manley: A month ago, few knew about Manley, a 6-10, 240-pound center who stayed off the national radar because of injuries as a sophomore and junior. Even fewer considered it possible he’d end up with a North Carolina scholarship offer. Today, he’s probably North Carolina’s best chance to get a second big in the senior class. His first visit to UNC will be his last official visit. Manley hopes to make a decision soon after his trip to Chapel Hill, and is considering West Virginia, Xavier and Purdue in addition to the Tar Heels.

Manley On Carolina

"I just look forward to seeing the atmosphere of North Carolina and how the players are and (get a) feel on everything."

Zach Fleer's ( Take

"Sterling Manley is a long and developing 6-10 post with an intriguing skill set. Able to hit the hook shot with either hand, he can stretch the floor and knock down mid-range jumpers with regularity. An imposing shot blocker, Manley also has great feet, can rebound in and out of his area, and has the kind of upside that compelled Roy Williams and North Carolina to offer a scholarship despite never seeing him play an AAU or high school game."

Jalek Felton: Though he hasn’t yet signed (he’ll be able to beginning on Nov. 9), Felton has been a member of the UNC basketball program for quite some time. It’s easy to forget what a dynamic talent UNC has in Felton because, well, he’s been committed for almost two full years.

A top 30 prospect in the senior class, Felton is the nephew of former UNC All-American Raymond Felton and has been attending games at the Smith Center since kindergarten. He transferred schools after his junior year and is spending his final high school season at West Columbia (S.C.) Gray Collegiate Academy. With UNC definitely losing Nate Britt and, possibly, Joel Berry following this season, Felton will be able to step in and provide offensive firepower in the Carolina backcourt.

Felton On Carolina

“I am really looking forward to playing at North Carolina. I just love North Carolina and the fast-paced game that they play. That fast-paced game fits me as a point guard. The more and more I come, the more and more I feel at home. So I am really getting comfortable there.”

Rob Harrington’s Take

“He’s dynamic passer for a tall guard, seeing the entire court and running the break to perfection. He's also blessed with long arms and ample speed and quickness, making him a terror in transition. Felton is a gifted and crafty scorer when he gets to the paint/rim.”

Brandon Huffman: UNC sought multiple big men in the class of 2017 and Huffman, a 6-9, 230-pound center from Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God, committed to the Tar Heels just 25 days after receiving an offer from Williams. Huffman is a raw, but intriguing prospect who will infuse hustle, energy and toughness to UNC’s lineups of the future. He committed to UNC over offers from Missouri, Tennessee, Baylor, Kansas State, USC, South Carolina, Clemson, UConn, Pitt and Indiana.

Huffman On UNC

“It's home. It's real comfortable. They're a top-five program, a blue blood. They're a top-five school ever. They're in the best conference, I like their style of play and I think I fit their system really well, and I like Roy as a coach.”

Rob Harrington’s Take

“Initially a pure defender who brought little to the court in terms of offense, Huffman has improved markedly in all facets of his game. He still likely will need several years to develop into a reliable scorer, but he possesses good mobility, a very solid frame and the attitude to try to dunk everything at the rim.”

Coby White: Any time Roy Williams compares a player to Tyler Hansbrough, it’s a safe bet the player has his undivided attention. Enter White, UNC’s second class of 2018 backcourt commitment, joining Rechon “Leaky” Black. The UNC staff fell in love with White’s scoring ability, energy, ability to push the ball and willingness to compete while watching him this past summer. Thus, he went from never having received much attention from UNC to a verbal commitment over the course of just three months.

White On Carolina

“It’s probably one of the five best schools in the United States. It’s close to home and has a good family atmosphere. My family loves Coach Roy Williams and so does my brother, so I felt like it was the best place for me.”

Rob Harrington’s Take

“Few players on the 16-under circuit impressed as much as Coby White in terms of scoring. A slender guard with a slightly herky-jerky game, White unleashes long bombs to stretch defenses and changes speeds with his dribble to create driving opportunities. He’s also a fine handler and passer with a solid frame to build upon for the college level.”

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