Hilliard is excited for his star player to join a loaded recruiting class. His program has produced several Division I players over the years, but Stepheson will be the first to join the ACC, a conference that his program has grown familiar with thanks to TV.
"We've had quite a few guys that have signed but this will be our first with the ACC," said Hilliard. "It is exciting to finally have somebody playing in that league and against that type of competition. It's going to be great exposure. It will give me even more reason to get up and watch those 9 a.m. games on the weekends."
Now that Stepheson's recruitment is out of the way, he can again focus on his senior season. According to Hilliard the entire process grew pretty intense and there was some time needed to recover emotionally and physically after it all ended. As for where Stepheson fits in at North Carolina, not knowing for sure was actually appealing.
"That's really impossible to tell at this point, that's the way he looks at and that's the way we've looked at it all along," said Hilliard. "Coach Williams doesn't make promises and it is up to the players to determine what they do. He's joining the best recruiting class in the country and he and the other guys had lots of options and other places that would promise them things but they chose to go to Carolina because Coach won't do that. Alex is excited for it."
Like almost any other player, Stepheson has goals for playing basketball beyond college and Hilliard feels Carolina will offer his player plenty of opportunity.
"He doesn't have the huge ego but he definitely wants to get better," said Hilliard. "He has ambitions to play in the league and to do that you've got to play against the best. That's exactly what he'll be doing."