Leslie McDonald Becomes a Tar Heel

InsideCarolina.com has learned that Leslie McDonald committed to North Carolina on Monday evening. Shortly thereafter, the 6-4 rising senior guard from Memphis (Tenn.) Briarcrest talked to IC about his decision ...

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McDonald had just returned from unofficial visits to North Carolina and Duke this past weekend.

"Coming into this visit to North Carolina I wasn't really leaning anywhere and I didn't have any favorites at all," McDonald told InsideCarolina.com Monday evening. "But seeing the facilities and getting to know the coaches ...

"It's hard for me because I had a relationship with Coach K and the other schools like Coach Calipari and John Thompson. But after seeing the facilities and really getting to know Coach Roy Williams I just had a really good feeling about UNC and I thought that school was the best for me."

McDonald got a full tour of the Chapel Hill campus on Saturday and Sunday, and an in-depth look at the Tar Heel program.

"I liked the whole school -- from the gym to the environment -- and I talked to the whole coaching staff and UNC to me is like a family," he said. "The way I saw the coaching staff work together, with Roy Williams, and the way the players played on the court. I just saw the togetherness and the family atmosphere."

He also considered Tennessee, Memphis and Georgetown among his final five schools.

"I feel like UNC is the best for me and heading that way will really help me excel to get to the next level," he added.

Scout.com ranks McDonald as the No. 7 wing guard in the 2009 class and the No. 27 prospect overall. His junior season honors included the Division 2-AA Tennessee Mr. Basketball and Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 21 points and seven rebounds and guiding the Briarcrest program to its first state title.

"What Leslie McDonald brings to the table is versatility," Scout.com recruiting director Dave Telep told InsideCarolina.com. "I think in college he could be a multi-position, fill-in-the-gap guard. He doesn't have to have the basketball to be effective and he did a better job getting to the rim this spring. He's a jack of all trades player who can fit in wherever he's needed."

McDonald joins a recruiting class that consists of John Henson, Dexter Strickland, David Wear and Travis Wear.

"I feel like their recruiting class is big with Dexter Strickland, John Henson and the Wear twins coming in," McDonald said. "I think it's going to be good for us and I have no problem playing with that group of people. A lot of people know that I like to play with the best."

Telep said: "That's a deep and immensely talented group. To surround a guy like John Henson with four other exceptional players, that's quite a foundation. And when you look ahead through 2009 and project beyond that, the UNC staff has certainly been extremely aggressive on the recruiting trail -- they have locked in on some guys and delivered."

With such a highly touted haul, the Tar Heels are the clear favorite to end up with the nation's top-ranked incoming freshman class enrolling in the fall of 2009.

"It may be tough to knock them off the top spot," Telep said. "They have such a collection of talented players, I'm not sure anyone will be strong enough to overtake them."

Leslie McDonald on ...

Coach Roy Williams:
"Roy Williams is a down to earth, real personal guy. He wants to get to know you and he talked about my family and he's more of a family coach and he wants to know about your personal life. He's a real down to earth guy. He's a real good coach and when we talked about my game, he showed me some things that I do really, really well and he was showing me things that I need to improve. All he was telling me was how much he wanted to improve my game."

The Smith Center:
"I can't even explain it, it was so amazing. I was just amazed."

Current Tar Heel players:
"They are really cool and really good down to earth guys. They were just really cool and made me feel welcome."

Visiting UNC:
"UNC is great. During my visit I talked to the coaching staff and they showed me around their offices. They brought me down to the gym and just let me observe the gym and I saw all of the Carolina blue and UNC emblem. It was amazing. ... They gave me a tour around campus and I got to see the dorms, the rec center and the Dean Smith facility and Coach Roy Williams' offices and the whole coaching staffs office and the weight room. They took me, basically, everywhere."

Player comparisons:
"When I talked to Roy Williams he talked to me about being a Wayne Ellington and also talked about one of his former players from Kansas, Kirk Hinrich."

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