Josh Nickelberry Puts On Show for UNC Coach Roy Williams

Shooting guard had his best weekend performances with the Tar Heel head coach in attendance.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- North Carolina began ramping up its recruitment of Josh Nickelberry last fall and hasn't let up since.

Roy Williams logged two viewings of the in-state class of 2019 guard with his Game Elite squad on Saturday. Nickelberry acknowledged he noticed that the UNC head coach, who offered him a scholarship in January, was in attendance.

"They've been recruiting me since my eighth-grade year and I've always had a good relationship with the coaches," Nickelberry said of North Carolina. "So every time they see me I just try to put on a show. And then [Williams] finally offered me this year."

The show he put on for the Tar Heel head coach featured averages of 22.5 points, including 8-of-15 from three-point range, and 3.5 steals in those two games.

Nickelberry has become very familiar with the UNC program within the past year.

"I've been there a few times," he continued. I've been to basketball games, football games, I've played open gym with the team."

A "few" visits is an understatement. Nickelberry was a regular at the Smith Center throughout the 2016-17 season. He is keeping tabs on which players are entering the program as he begins to size up where things might stand for him in the future.

"I feel like they have a great class coming in and they have a chance to [win a championship] again," Nickelberry said. Coach [Williams] is a great coach. I think it's a great school."

Besides North Carolina, Nickelberry said that Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Wake Forest were the schools recruiting him the hardest. That is likely to change after his strong opening-week performance during the live evaluation period.

Despite a move from the 16U level to the 17U adidas circuit, the 6-foot-3 Nickelberry averaged 19.5 points and hit a blistering 48 percent of his three-point attempts over the four-game stretch. He shot 53 percent from the field overall and added two steals per game.

"[College coaches] say they like the way that I can score," Nickelberry said. "They like my natural scoring ability and my size to be a guard."

Nickelberry, a Fayetteville, N.C. native, recently announced his intentions to transfer to basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. He'll be joined by Game Elite teammate and point guard Ashton Hagans, and the duo is hoping to make a major impact on the national high school circuit next season.

"I was ready to play against better people to help prepare me for the next level," Nickelberry said. "Coach (Steve) Smith, he can help me out a lot."

Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

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