April 16, 2002

A Look At UNC Recruiting

One of the biggest holes that North Carolina had this past season was at the lead guard slot. However, head coach Matt Doherty and his hard-working staff immediately filled it with the best point in the 2002 class -- Raymond Felton.

Felton is an energetic guard who dips and doodles between multiple defenders. This usually leads to either a Felton driving layup or a pretty dish off to an open teammate. Felton was an exciting player to watch on the high school level. He will certainly thrill the many loyal Tar Heel fans next season.

But with the loss of Adam Boone, UNC is left with another problem. What happens if Felton jumps early out of college? I know. You are probably saying, "Darn, Mike, can't we just enjoy Raymond's first year, and then discuss whether he will apply early to the draft?"

Well, yes you can enjoy his first season. But it's part of our job to not think of UNC in its present terms but what will be in the future.

Felton could leave after his first year but it's a more safe bet he would jump after his second. This is why our sources indicate that UNC will likely evaluate players like Chris Paul, a 6-1, 165-pound point guard from West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, North Carolina.

"I am wide open," Paul told us. "But I want to see what comes my way this summer."

Well, the Tar Heels could be coming. Paul will play this summer with the Kappa Magic, a team that won four of six games and finished in second place in the silver bracket at the Boo Williams tournament two weekends ago. Paul averaged 26 points and 8.7 assists as a junior this past year for his high school team.

Paul told us he has interest in Wake Forest, NC State, Connecticut, Tennessee, Stanford, Clemson, and UNCC. "I have not ruled out any school," Paul said. "I will listen to whoever is interested."

Paul is also an excellent student. He has over a 3.5 GPA and has scored almost a 1000 on his SAT. Paul is also very coachable. He's one of those recruits a coach feels very good about recruiting.

Paul will likely receive more high division one looks if his spring and summer are productive months. He knows that. "I am looking forward to it," Paul said. "I can't wait to work on certain parts of my game."


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