Buckman, Fraser, UNC Midnight Madness Begins
It would be a wonderful time to be down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this weekend. If you are as big a college basketball fan like I am, you would understand. Before I am called off this hard land by the good Lord, I would love to take in Midnight Madness sessions at Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, Kansas, UCLA, etc. These schools know how to have a good time at these events.
This weekend is also very important for the North Carolina program in the recruiting angle. They have so far landed two of the top 25 players in the country in Rashad McCants and Raymond Felton (who is still firmly committed to UNC despite those reports again). But to complete this class, head coach Matt Doherty and his staff know they have to land some size. Size does matter.
There is plenty of size and strength on the Chapel Hill campus this weekend in Brad Buckman and Jason Fraser, who both deserve (in my opinion) to be on next Spring's McDonald's All American team. Buckman is a little ahead of Fraser in the offensive department while Jason is perhaps the best impact player on the defensive side.
There are several obstacles in the way of UNC to grab both players. Texas stands in the path of the Heels. But it appears that Buckman feels comfortable enough with the distance to take another visit. This is the Heels' best chance of landing a recruit off the visit.
It will be tougher to land Fraser off the visit. Fraser has such notable programs like St. John's, Villanova, and Louisville pursuing him hard too. Fraser has indicated he wants to visit each school before he makes a decision. It's likely this decision won't come until mid-November. However, Jason can certainly change this thinking. He would not be the first to do that nor would he be the last.
This weekend is going to be crammed with emotion for both recruits. A big crowd will likely chant their names at Midnight Madness practice, adoring signs will be spray painted with their names in big Carolina blue letters, well-wishers will shake their hands, fans will seek their autographs, and maybe some great players of the past will come by to greet them.
This emotion is likely to escalate minute by minute as the sands of the hour glass sprinkle down during this campus visit. Brad Buckman has a very tough decision to make. It's about to become tougher for him to stay home.
For Jason Fraser, the visit might have a different feel to it. He is likely to absorb this weekend and try to put it into focus after what has happened to his city on September 11th. It's been a difficult month for Fraser, whose uncle works near where the Trade Centers were crushed.
But both are big recruits for this UNC program. The future of the Heels is at stake. And their fans know it too.
All across this country, Midnight Madness is about to begin. So whether you have Jason Fraser and Brad Buckman on your campus or not, go out and enjoy it. It's a great event. And there is nothing more personal in sports than supporting your school.