Class of 2011 lacks size, for now

Staff WriterJune 2, 2010 

Duke and North Carolina don't have McDonald's All-American-caliber centers locked up but do have commitments from some high-powered prospects.

N.C. State has a commitment from a big guy in Joseph Uchebo, who may be better than any center the Blue Devils or Tar Heels get in the Class of 2011. With the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions concluded, here's a look at how the 2011 basketball recruiting class is shaping up for the three Triangle ACC schools:

Duke: Michael Gbinije, a 6-foot-6 shooter from Richmond, Va., gives the Blue Devils an outstanding forward prospect who will reduce the impact of losing Kyle Singler after his senior season.

The Blue Devils also have a commitment from 6-8 Tyler Adams of Brandon, Miss., who has a big body at 250 pounds but isn't a top-50 prospect because he's not a highly skilled scorer - yet. If Duke doesn't get Quincy Miller, a 6-8 power forward from Westchester Academy in High Point, it might not end up with a big-time post scorer in this class.

Duke's most pressing issue at this point is to lock up 6-4 scoring guard Austin Rivers of Winter Park, Fla. He's rated as one of the top five players in the class, and the Blue Devils appear to be in excellent shape with him.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels have potential McDonald's All-Americans coming in at a couple positions.

They have an excellent inside-outside forward prospect committed in 6-8 James McAdoo of Norfolk, Va. (McAdoo now is considering enrolling a year early, in 2010-11). P.J. Hairston, a 6-5 wing from Greensboro, puts North Carolina in great shape at that position when you consider that Harrison Barnes (who may only stay one season) and Reggie Bullock are in the 2010 class.

With Kendall Marshall coming in to play point guard in 2010, that position isn't a big need in 2011. But the center position is, especially because Alabama transfer Justin Knox has just one year of eligibility remaining.

Will the Tar Heels make offers to Cody Zeller or Marshall Plumlee? Is there another big target out there who hasn't materialized yet? Roy Williams always seems to find answers in recruiting, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

N.C. State: It's impossible to overstate the value of 6-9 Uchebo, the Oak Ridge Military big man who's reclassifying from 2012 into 2011 and has committed to N.C. State.

At the Tournament of Champions, Uchebo demonstrated remarkable ball-handling ability and a toughness that may make him one of the top big men in his class. Along with Richard Howell, he should make the Wolfpack strong up front in 2011-12 and 2012-13 even if C.J. Leslie does stay only one season.

Uchebo is all N.C. State has committed at the moment in 2011, but the Wolfpack's needs aren't as great because its 2010 class (Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Ryan Harrow) is so strong.

Getting Jerome Seagers or Quinn Cook out of the Washington, D.C., area would improve N.C. State's depth at point guard. The Wolfpack also could use a scoring forward like Gbinije or McAdoo, but doesn't appear likely to get one of that caliber.

Still, with Uchebo emerging as a high quality big man, N.C. State is in good shape at a key position.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919 829-8942

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