Who’s Got Next? North Carolina Lands Five-Star Point Guard Joel BerryPosted by CLykins on January 22nd, 2013
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player ranking
The North Carolina Tar Heels are currently in the middle of a very up-and-down season, with five losses and uncharacteristic play through the team’s first 17 games. However, while the Tar Heels continue to search for success on the basketball court, they remain a perennial powerhouse on the recruiting trail. On Monday, five-star junior point guard Joel Berry pledged his verbal commitment to North Carolina, as he will join a long line of highly-ranked floor generals under head coach Roy Williams to don Carolina blue. Berry chose the Tar Heels over offers from Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina State, Ohio State, and others.
“I feel honored and blessed to officially be apart of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels tradition and excellence,” Berry tweeted. The #12 overall ranked junior and #3 ranked point guard in the class of 2014, Berry becomes the first player from that class to commit to North Carolina. Taking advantage of a new NCAA rule that allows juniors to take official visits following January 1 of that year, the 6’0″ standout visited Chapel Hill first for the Tar Heels’ ACC clash against the Maryland Terrapins this past weekend.
Berry will bring to North Carolina a lethal dosage of scoring and speed, two aspects of the game that the Tar Heels are traditionally known for. With great quickness and athleticism, he is capable of breaking down his defender and getting into the lane under control and scoring around the rim using his outstanding leaping ability. Berry is also a threat from the outside and mid-range, as he can light up a scoreboard quickly. He is an exceptional ball-handler and sees the floor very well in an up-tempo environment.
The addition of Berry will further deepen the point guard position in the future, as the Tar Heels will also bring in four-star senior Nate Britt next season to join current freshman Marcus Paige. However, has coach Williams placed himself into a quandary with an influx at the one slot? Only time will tell. Paige is in the middle of a less-than-stellar first year, averaging 6.9 points per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from three-point land. Paige is also averaging a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is significantly lower than recent North Carolina point guards in a similar amount of starts. While he has started off slowly this season, he is steadily improving his game. He is also the type of player who is viewed as four-year player in college. Britt is the #52 overall ranked prospect and the #11 ranked point guard in the class of 2013 and is also seen as a three- or four-year player. A terrific leader, Britt is at his very best when he is a facilitator of the basketball. He endured a difficult summer during the AAU period as he pressed too much and struggled in the open court. He is currently nursing a meniscus tear in his left knee for Oak Hill Academy (Virginia), and is expected to miss at least four more weeks.
When you examine each player’s overall game, though, Berry is arguably the best of the three. He is the type of elite talent who will make an instant impact on both ends of the floor. The pressure will be applied to him to succeed quickly and he should answer every challenge thrown at him. Depending on his play upon his arrival, there is a great possibility that the keys to the point guard position could be handed over to him very early in his career. In his junior season at Lake Highland Prep, Berry is currently averaging 27.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 3.6 assists per game for the 13-5 Highlanders. He missed five games last month with the knee injury, but underwent a successful surgery and is now back on the court. He most recently scored 32 points in a winning effort last Wednesday.
Future UNC point guard Joel Berry starts off junior season with a bang!