“I thought we needed a point guard, I thought we needed an athletic big man – we got that -- then we filled another need as well,” North Carolina’s head coach said on Sunday at the Maui Invitational press conference, his first opportunity to comment on UNC’s 2013 recruiting class.
Oxford (N.C.) Webb power forward Isaiah Hicks and Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill point guard Nate Britt sent in their signed Letter of Intent on Wednesday, and Charlotte (N.C.) West center Kennedy Meeks signed on Friday.
Since the team left Chapel Hill on Friday for a Long Beach-to-Maui road trip, school officials haven’t had the opportunity to review and approve Meeks’s paperwork. Therefore, Williams can’t yet comment on the third signee per NCAA rules, referring to the final Letter of Intent as “in the mail.”
Of the two he can discuss, Williams opened with high praise for the athleticism and versatility of Hicks.
“A 6-8, 6-9 athlete that can play inside and can play outside,” he said. "A really good shotblocker. Wide, wide range of things he can do. His potential is off the charts. Wonderful kid. The people at Oxford Webb love the fact that he [transferred] back last year and is doing a great job in the classroom. More of a shotblocker, runner, athlete."
In Britt, Williams has signed his third straight left-handed point guard. “I like left handed point guards, I guess,” he remarked, before offering his thoughts on Britt. “A true quarterback, a guy that does get the ball to other people and I think will thrive in our system of really pushing the ball up and down the court. He’s playing at Oak Hill right now so he’s going to get a great deal of really, really good competition that will get him ready … Nate will be a real help to us.”
While starting point guard Marcus Paige is a freshman, Williams’s experiences at UNC – with injuries and NBA departures – have convinced the coach that he needs more depth at the position
“Last year we’re playing for a berth in the Final Four with our third point guard -- who we brought in at the last minute – as our starting point guard and our backup point guard was our backup power forward,” Williams said. “So we can’t have too many point guards. We’ve had two different years in my time at North Carolina where we were down to our third point and we don’t know who our fourth point guard is.”
The recruitment of the senior class isn’t complete, as UNC is making a run at the nation’s top prospect – wing Andrew Wiggins of Huntington (WVa.) Prep – though Carolina’s outlook with Wiggins at this point is viewed by Inside Carolina’s recruiting experts as a longshot and is a process likely to carry into the spring.
Asked if he thought the class met what he was trying to accomplish, Williams responded: “It’s never that because you want the best four players that you can get. You never get that – well, most people don’t ever get that.”