UNC has ground to make up for Watkins

With the clear immediate need for an impact post player, the North Carolina staff has focused its attention on Darryl Watkins -- though what chances do they have of landing the New Jersey seven-footer?

To get a commitment from Darryl Watkins, the staff has their work cut out for them.

The initial obstacle with Watkins was academics. But the senior center from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic appears well on his way to qualifying.

"He just took the SAT again last Saturday and we should get them back shortly," his father, Darryl Sr., said. "His grades aren't really a concern. He passed all of his classes last semester and he did pretty well with mostly B's and C's."

According to Darryl, once UNC sees his transcript, they'll make a scholarship offer.

"They need my transcripts first," he said. "Then they said they will offer me."

But with the academic situation apparently in order, Carolina will still need to convince Watkins that he should choose the Tar Heels over area schools.

When prompted for a school list, Watkins didn't include UNC.

"Pitt, Kentucky, Syracuse, Rutgers, Villanova," he said.

But what about the Tar Heels?

"North Carolina has been calling lately," he said.

Watkins' good friend and teammate Marquis Webb, who has already committed to Rutgers, said he talks with Watkins often about his recruitment.

"That's my boy," Webb said. "Personally, I have no clue whatsoever on where he's going to go. Pitt's in there. Kentucky, Rutgers, Villanova, you know a lot of area schools. North Carolina has started to make a push, too."

Does he think UNC could prevail?

"I think North Carolina is making a push," Webb said, "but I don't think he's going to go too far from home. He's close to his mom, you know, real close to his family."

Thus makes it all-important for the Heels to get Watkins to visit Chapel Hill, in an effort to convince him to head a distance from home.

"I told [the UNC coaches] right now we're just trying to concentrate on school and we'll wait until after the season before we set up a visit [to UNC] or anything," Darryl Sr. said.

When Watkins is asked about what he's looking for in a school, his answer is short and to the point.

"Playing time," he said. "I want a school that's going to develop me all around."

Can UNC provide that?

"I feel like it would be a good fit for me, maybe" he said of North Carolina.

But for now a decision is on hold until after his senior season.

"He's working to finish out the season," Darryl Sr. said. "I'm going to hold him to his word that he'll pick a school after the season's over."

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