Sterling Manley doesn't necessarily project as a star for the Tar Heels, and he may begin his career as the third-string center behind Tony Bradley and Brandon Huffman, but overlooking his long-range promise would be a mistake.
Blessed with true center height (6-10 and growing) and long arms, he presents a formidable defensive presence that should offer him his first opportunity to crack Carolina's rotation. He also possesses quick, well-coordinated hands, enabling him to make an impact as a rebounder and face-up jump shooter. As he gains strength and continues to recover from a devastating leg break he suffered last season, he should be able to cultivate a more consistent power game as well.
He clearly has been coached and carries a solid frame, which should accelerate his development as well. In an age when fewer big men play like true big men — and some of those who do leave after one year for the NBA — Manley projects as the kind of multi-year contributor who has improved each season at UNC and ultimately becomes one of the ACC's best frontcourt players.