Junior to Watch: Mohammed Tangara

He's already attended the annual Blue-White game. He's already taken in the high octane action at "Midnight with the Heels." And he's already seen much of the campus and met most of the players on UNC's roster as well.

His name is Mohammed Tangara and he's starting to formulate a positive impression of the basketball program in Chapel Hill.

"Carolina is definitely his leader right now," said Antonio Fozard, the head coach at Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham. "And they're on him pretty hard. I'm not sure how much of a priority he is for them right now, but he likes Carolina."

Tangara, a 6-10, 235-pound physical center who's originally from Mali, is one of the most dominant shot-blockers and rebounders in the country as a junior. And his recruitment is already off to a rapid start.

According to Fozard, the athletic big man has begun to prioritize schools that are currently recruiting him. Certainly many programs are writing the African big man, but some stand out more than others.

"I could list about fifty schools that are showing interest in him," said Fozard. "But North Carolina, Memphis and Michigan are probably out in front right now."

We also asked Fozard about Tangara's rumored interest in playing in the NBA right out of high school.

"Certainly the NBA would be his first option, but we'll have to wait and see how that plays out this year first," he said. "It will depend on how much weight he gains and it will depend on where he'll be (projected) to go in the draft."

Anyone who's seen Tangara in action over the past two summers with Linzy Davis' Georgia Elite has pretty much come away with the same overwhelming impression of the physical post prospect.

The first thing that comes to mind is -- explosive.

Tangara's got a lot of athletic ability in addition to a mindset of aggression. He goes after rebounds and blocked shots without any hesitation at all. But unlike many other developing big men, he's already got a superb college body. The 235-pounder has a broad and defined frame.

He's most certainly no stranger to the weight room.

On the offensive side of the ball, however, Tangara has his work cut out for him. He's not very skilled at this point in terms of ball fakes, pivot moves and touch on his jump shot. Instead, he relies heavily on his physical prowess in terms of strength and explosion. He just finds the basket and tries to score any way he can -- which sometimes works very well for him. And Fozard and Davis will aim to sharpen his offensive skills this year at Mount Zion and next summer with the Elite.

On the academic side of things, Fozard said that Tangara is a little ahead of the curve.

"His core GPA is a 2.5 right now. And he had a 2.8-3.0 last year."

As for whether North Carolina's interest in Tangara is at a high level right now -- we'll soon find out. At this point, the only post player in the class of 2004 that has had a confirmed scholarship offer from Matt Doherty's crew is Bishop O'Connell power forward, Brian Johnson.

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