Roy Williams Talks About The Signing Class

CHAPEL HILL --- The University of North Carolina men's basketball program signed six high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, head coach Roy Williams announced Friday.

The six include: Wayne Ellington of Wynnewood, Pa.; William Graves of Greensboro, N.C.; Ty Lawson of Clinton, Md.; Alex Stepheson of Los Angeles, Calif.; Deon Thompson of Torrance, Calif.; and Brandan Wright of Nashville, Tenn.

IC's Signing Week Coverage
* Heels to Sign No. 1 Class
* Graves To Sign Wednesday
* Oak Hill's Best-Ever PG?
* Wright Set to Sign
* Thompson Ready to Sign with Heels
* Stepheson Excited to Join UNC
* Graves: 'This Is What You Live For'
* Ellington: 'On Paper [The Class] Looks Great'
* Basketball Recruiting Central
"This class gives me faith in the college basketball recruiting process," says Williams. "All six players have great character and come from great families. I truly enjoyed recruiting these young men. We needed to sign a large class, but it needed to be a group with character and ability. I can't imagine any coach in the country feeling better about his class than I do because of the quality individuals we recruited and how they fulfill our needs."

Ellington is a 6-4 guard at The Episcopal Academy in Merion Station, Pa., where he plays for Coach Dan Dougherty.

"Wayne is an outstanding youngster and as good a perimeter player as I saw all year," says Williams. "He has the ability to score and can score when he is being guarded. He lives and breathes basketball. He's always playing, watching or thinking about the game. He is a quality, quality young man."

Graves is a 6-6 forward at Dudley High School in Greensboro, where he plays for Coach David Price.

"William was injured some this past summer and recently had minor surgery," says Williams. "I've been watching him for several years now. I like the fact he does a lot of little things that make him and, more importantly, his teammates better. It's nice to have a North Carolina youngster, especially one who can really help our program reach the level we want to be at each year."

Lawson is a 5-11 point guard at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., where he plays for Coach Steve Smith.

"Ty is an immensely talented young man," says Williams. "He's competitive and he loves to win. When I have seen him play, the more competitive the game is, the better he plays. He has the qualities I like to see in a point guard ­ he can push the ball at the pace I like and can apply defensive pressure on the ball. He's played against great competition at Oak Hill."

Stepheson is a 6-9 forward at Harvard-Westlake High School in North Hollywood, Calif., where he plays for Coach Greg Hilliard.

"I first saw Alex last December, then I saw him play again in July and he had made tremendous strides in his level of play," says Williams. "He's a very good kid who is further along right now defensively and in rebounding, but his offensive play is getting better and better. He has tremendous work habits."

Thompson is a 6-8 forward at Torrance High School in Torrance, Calif., where he plays for Coach George Tachibana.

"I didn't know Deon until this past July," says Williams. "I was watching another youngster, but Deon caught my eye. I sent (assistant coach) Joe Holladay to watch him play that night and we fell in love with his game. He has tremendous upside. He was a 6-5, 305-pound freshman football player who now is 6-9, 255, and is improving with leaps and bounds. He has a chance to play a lot like Sean May."

Wright is a 6-9 forward at the Brentwood Academy in Brentwood, Tenn., where he plays for Coach George Pitts.

"Brandan is another immensely talented youngster," says Williams. "He has one of the best poker faces I've ever seen in a young man. I don't think anyone knew how they stood with him. I started to feel good about his becoming a Tar Heel about a week before his visit. I'm ecstatic about his addition to this class. He can play inside and outside, is one of the few players in this class who can rebound above the rim and he can block shots as well as any player in the country. His recruitment was a fantastic experience because he did not want to be coddled. He and his mother and Coach Pitts had a plan and they stuck to it."

For exclusive video highlights, scouting reports, photo galleries and stats on the six signees, check out Inside Carolina's Basketball Recruiting Central page.


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