Everywhere you look, there are pockets of North Carolina basketball fans scattered about the country. Three Tar Heel faithful had a chance to huddle together last month in Milwaukee at the McDonald's All-American game and showed flashes of what the UNC fans can expect over the next four years.
Virginia forward Ed Davis, Indiana center Tyler Zeller and California point guard Larry Drew learned a little more about each other at the prestigious all-star game.
Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer saw all three players at the McDonald's All-American game behind the closed doors of the practice sessions and saw positives in all three of the future players.
"Drew is a smart and crafty player. He is a dangerous outside shooter and really knows how to execute the two-man game," Meyer said. "Zeller is a very good shooter and thrives in pick-and-pop situations off the ball screen. He also runs the floor at a very high level. Before he can play heavy minutes for North Carolina, however, he will have to improve defensively and become a more physical player.
"Davis has a go-to move with his left-handed jump hook. I really like his feel for scoring the ball in the low post. His defense and rebounding are ahead of Zeller, but the weight room will be very important for Davis as well."
How scary of a frontcourt will UNC be with Davis and Zeller added to the mix? That answer is currently on the roster and making his first trip to the Final Four.
"What makes North Carolina's frontcourt scary is Tyler Hansbrough," Meyer said. "If Hansbrough stays for his senior season, then it is a formidable frontcourt with depth. Davis adds a capable back to the basket scorer with a left-handed game that will remind fans of Brandan Wright. Zeller's ability to run the floor fits in well at North Carolina and he will be dangerous as a face-up jump shooter off the ball screen."
Sure, the 2008 class is important but keeping proven veteran stars will play more into North Carolina's chances of a return engagement to the Final Four next season.
"Another Final Four is a possibility but the probability hinges on whether or not Hansbrough, Lawson and Ellington stay or leave for the NBA," Meyer said.
That is no knock against the 2008 class either. In fact, one of the strengths of the current team is the depth at the position. That depth will add two five-star players to the rotation.
Meyer said while Davis and Zeller give the team more size and more versatility to an already deep roster, keep an eye on the point guard Drew.
"Although he is ranked lower than Davis and Zeller, Drew could see heavy minutes at the point guard position if Lawson were to leave for the NBA," Meyer said.
From a singular standpoint, the 2008 recruiting class might not make a run for the Final Four on its own merits but mix it with a group of upperclassmen that knows what it takes to get there and a talented group to follow in 2009, Davis, Zeller and Drew could be huddling together again and again, this time in the Final Four.