While players across the country are being offered scholarships at a younger and younger age, it's still rare for a rising sophomore to receive such early interest. But with an offer from N.C. State already in hand, the strong UNC interest isn't that much of a surprise for Wallace.
"I think he and his parents were a little bit surprised, but I honestly would have been much more surprised had he not gotten offers," Clifton said. "He got an offer from NC State last week at their camp. He lives in Winston-Salem, so Wake Forest is trying to get him on campus and I'd be surprised if an offer from them wasn't sure to follow."
Wallace has earned some early praise, but Clifton forecasts far bigger things for the skilled wing.
"I don't think people in this area really understand what this kid's potential is and what he is going to ultimately be," the coach said.
"I played against Jerry Stackhouse in AAU ball and followed my brother Dwon's recruitment and Cam Bennerman's recruitment, so I saw everyone they faced. There's nobody in my lifetime that has been through North Carolina that has what this kid has," Clifton continued.
Better than Stackhouse -- really?
"At this age, I can't imagine Stackhouse was better," Clifton said. "I'm obviously partial to Eric, but I haven't seen it."
While this may just sound like a coach overhyping his future star, there is some evidence to back up at least some of what he says.
"We worked out with LeBron James and his crew in Akron and he fared well against against the older professional guys," Clifton said. "He had the opportunity to hang out with LeBron after the games and he was extremely complimentary of Eric that he was willing to go so far from home to work out and to pursue being the best player that he can be."
As for what makes Wallace such a terrific talent -- it's the fact that at such a young age he's both so well-rounded and grounded at the same time.
"He has everything," Clifton said. "If you take a kid at his height (6-6), usually the kid doesn't handle tha ball that well or can't shoot well and and that's customary for a kid that young. Then, if you look at guys that are smaller and skilled, they don't have the athleticism that Eric has. And then if you do find that perfect person, they have academic trouble or aren't coachable.
"Eric's incredibly grounded and he wants to get better every single day. He'll do whatever you ask him to do to get better."
Wallace's summer plans include the nation's top events for underclassmen. He leaves tomorrow for the Reebok Jr. ABCD Camp called Camp Next and after receiving invites to all three major shoe camps, he's headed to the Adidas Superstar Camp in Atlanta. His D-One Sports team will also head to the Playerz Ball in New Jersey in July.
TOC: Eric Wallace Spotlight