This year’s game will take place at the United Center in Chicago on April 3.
The selection of Meeks and Hicks marks the first time since 1982 (Curtis Hunter, Brad Daugherty) a pair of UNC commits, who are also North Carolina natives, made the game in the same year.
Meeks and Hicks are UNC’s fourth and fifth in-state MCDAAs since 2000 (Rashad McCants, Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston).
“I actually found out last week,” Meeks said. “They announced it at our basketball game last week, which was not supposed to happen. I scored my 1,000 point and then they announced it to everyone and I was like ‘man, come on it’s a secret.’”
“Just the fact that I’m really in the game, it’s overwhelming because I’ve been talking about this since sixth grade,” he continued. “That’s when I really started paying attention to basketball. How everyone was so cool during the games… it’s a great opportunity and I’m honored. It’s a humbling experience.”
Hicks is a 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward from Oxford (N.C.) Webb and is ranked the No. 20 overall player his class by Scout.com.
During his senior season, Hicks is averaging 24.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game while helping Webb to an 18-4 record. Hicks was an AP All-State and 3-A Carolina Conference team selection in 2012.
"Hicks has been a dominant force in North Carolina this season,” said Inside Carolina recruiting analyst Rob Harrington. “He has become a little stronger, improved his rebounding and has stepped into a leadership role. Athletically, he's on a par with current Tar Heels James Michael McAdoo and Brice Johnson, and he thrives instinctively in the transition game."
Meeks is a 6-foot-10, 275-pound center from West Charlotte High School and is ranked the No. 50 overall player in the class by Scout.com.
He was MVP of the 2011 4A state championship game as a sophomore. His 19 rebounds were the fourth most in state championship game history.
As a junior, Meeks led his team back to the 4A state championship game, where he record 21 rebounds in defeat, the second-most rebounds in championship history.
Meeks was an AP All-State and I-MECK 4A conference team selection in 2012. He is UNC’s first MCDAA center since Tyler Zeller in 2008.
“Making the game just says to me that having good character, having good grades, playing hard and working hard seems to be all paying off,” Meeks explained.
“The thing I’m looking forward to the most is being there and talking some junk during the Carolina-Duke showdown. I watch those every year, it’ll be fun for me and Isaiah to go up against Jabari Parker, Matt Jones and those guys.”
UNC head coach Roy Williams called Hicks a “wonderful young man who can do things both inside and outside that will be effective at our level.” He said of Meeks: “He may be as good a passing big man as I have ever seen in half-court situations.”
Regardless of the possible early departure of James Michael McAdoo to the NBA, both will have opportunities to provide needed frontcourt scoring for UNC during their freshmen seasons.
"In terms of back-to-the-basket offense, Meeks will give UNC something it doesn't possess this season,” Harrington said. He's very skilled facing the rim and has spent more time doing that in high school, but his footwork and excellent hands suggest that, with time and coaching, he'll develop into a solid post scorer as well."
Carolina has had at least one MCDAA selection in 20 of the last 23 years – the only exceptions being 1994, 2003 and 2007. The Tar Heels did not sign a player in the 2007 class.
Isaiah Hicks Profile
Kennedy Meeks Profile