Chris Richards

2018 UNC Basketball Target Nassir Little's Big Motor

The rising senior's impressive effort level has been on full display this week.

Five days ago, Nassir Little was in Trevisio, Italy competing at the adidas Eurocamp.

Today, he's in Charlottesville, Va. at the NBPA Top 100 camp. 

In about three weeks, he'll begin playing in the first of three evaluation periods - spread from Spartanburg, S.C. to Las Vegas - that will take up most of July. The gym, city, state and even continent might change, but Little's effort, energy and motor don't change - they're always on.

"Just play hard," Little said of his style of play. "In camp settings, (some guys) buy into not giving up the ball and it's tough. But at the end of the day you have to try to get past that and just play as hard as you can. The coaches see it, the scouts see it, that certain guys try to get their own. You just have to play through it."

And with four games at NBPA completed, playing through it has yielded dividends for Little. He's averaging 11 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, shooting 62.5 percent from the field, and has made two of his five three-point attempts. His play on the court, and the things he's learned off it, have made NBPA Camp enjoyable for Little.

"It's really tough," explained Little. "I'm exhausted right now, but they teach you a lot of things besides the basketball part of life. Teach you about making the right decisions, staying safe and staying focused so that hopefully you can reach your dreams through basketball.

Little has been one of the fastest risers in high school basketball this spring. He started as a top 50, regional prospect with offers from most schools in Florida and some in the southeast. Now, he's a five-star forward, Scout's No. 21 overall player in the rising senior class. He attributes that rise, and his increased production, to a resolute mindset.

"Day in and day out, I'm working out," said Little. "(I'm) putting a lot of emphasis on the small things I have to improve on. Just making sure I just do what I do well. I've handled (the rise in stature) well. It took a little time to adjust because it can get overwhelming with all the calls and stuff. Competitively, the kids you go against, they know it, so they try to come at you even harder."

"I've really developed my skillset, that's all I've been trying to do from day one (and) become a consistent shooter," he continued. "Here (at NBPA Camp), they have me doing other stuff. If they want me to play the '4', I'll play it. In AAU, I play the wing, shoot the ball, handle it, pass and defensively guard multiple positions."

With Little's improved play, new schools jumped into his recruitment this spring including North Carolina. Little said he has spoken with Roy Williams and assistant coach Steve Robinson a few times. Their last conversation was about two weeks ago, before he left for Europe.

"They've been saying they like me," said Little. "They think I can be a really good fit and they like my versatility. They often compare me to (UNC guard/forward) Theo Pinson, that's one of the guys they tend to... everything he does they say I can do. They really like me and feel I can come in and just help them win another national championship."

After UNC's initial interest, Little discussed the possibility of visiting Chapel Hill this month. However, his father is originally from Raleigh, N.C. and Little's family will be in town in August, so a visit is more likely to happen then. If it does, it will be the next step in the recruitment of Little by his childhood favorite.

"I grew up a UNC fan," he said. "They have a good history, obviously, and they just won a national championship. They've had (a lot) of good players come through there as well."

Little said Florida State, Florida, Miami, Virginia Tech, Cal, N.C. State and St. John's are among the schools making him a priority. He also is receiving interest from Kansas, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Southern Cal, Notre Dame and Creighton.

However, he doesn't have plans to cut his list anytime soon and says he's open to new schools. He plans to take an unofficial visit to Miami next week, and has tentatively scheduled an official visit to Georgia Tech in the fall.

"I just want to get my official visit list set up," said Little. "Those tend to be far away so I'm just trying to figure that out.

In the end, Little's decision will come down to relationships.

"The schools (interested in me) are all really appealing," he said. "They all have beautiful campuses and top tier degrees. It's going to come down to relationships I have with coaches, and if it's really a family feel. I want to make sure i'm going to place where I feel like I'm secure and also where I can come in and play as a freshman and have a chance to go into the league."

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