"They just kinda stopped," said a puzzled Ariza, whose GPA is a 3.3. "I really can't understand why."
"I'm trying to figure out what's up with UNC because I really like them a lot," he added.
North Carolina isn't the only ACC school to halt its recruitment of the west coast junior. Duke also backed off, instead opting to go after Kris Humphries, who already committed, Loul Deng and Ndudi Ebi. Arizona is another school that was involved heavily at one time, but has decided to go after other frontline players.
Ariza is a wiry player who uses his speed and agility to get to the basket and create havoc for opponents. He's got good court sense and loves to shoot the jumper from the baseline. He's also an outstanding ball-handler for a player his size.
However, he didn't get many offensive looks this past season playing on a team loaded with senior talent. The Comets had Hassan Adams (Arizona), Brandon Bowman (Georgetown), Brandon Heath (San Diego State) and Ashanti Cook (New Mexico).
Ariza, who is playing this summer with Pump ‘N Run, left yesterday for Colorado Springs, where he was invited to tryout for the 2002 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team. The team, which will ultimately consist of 12 players, will compete July 24-28 in Venezuela at the 2002 COPABA Men's Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament.
Ariza's top schools are Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Kentucky and Louisville but he made it no secret that UNC would be right there among the leaders if the interest were mutual.