Area ACC schools get early hoops recruiting jump

Prospects in class of 2012 have given commitments

Staff WriterJune 5, 2011 

It should be no surprise that the early recruiting results for the class of 2012 show North Carolina's ACC schools pulling in more than their share of highly rated basketball talent.

Top recruits have been flocking to North Carolina schools for years, a trend that will continue with the rising senior class. As of Friday morning, 11 of the top 40 players in ESPN's rankings for the class of 2012 had given commitments to schools.

More than a third of those players (four) were committed to North Carolina ACC schools. North Carolina has tapped into the Midwest for a point guard and a wing; Duke has a highly regarded shooting guard from Texas on the way; and N.C. State is keeping one of the top shooting guards in the class in his hometown.

Even Wake Forest, after a woeful performance on the court during coach Jeff Bzdelik's opening season, has commitments from two players who have made top-100 lists.

As the summer recruiting period heats up, here is a look at the talent that is committed to area ACC schools and the players those schools would like to add to their rosters.

Duke

What the Blue Devils have: Shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon is a top-20 player who should fit in well at Duke. He's 6 feet 3, athletic and an excellent student. The Blue Devils also had a commitment from a talented forward in this class, Alex Murphy, but he will graduate a year early and join Duke in 2011-12.

What they need: Two more wings - 6-4 Rodney Purvis of Raleigh's Upper Room Christian Academy and 6-5 Shabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas - are on Duke's radar. But with Miles Plumlee leaving the program after next season, the Blue Devils might need to add a big man, too.

North Carolina

What the Tar Heels have: UNC tapped Harrison Barnes' home state of Iowa again for its point guard of the future, 6-0 Marcus Paige. Wing J.P. Tokoto of Wisconsin adds athletic ability at 6-6 and can rebound and defend while playing in a team-first framework.

What they need: Getting a big guy is essential. Center Tyler Zeller will leave after next season, and forwards Barnes and John Henson may be gone, too. Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-footer from Massachusetts, could fill Zeller's role if the Tar Heels can get a commitment from him. Like many top programs, the Tar Heels also have their sights set on Shabazz Muhammad, who's a gifted scorer at 6-5.

N.C. State

What the Wolfpack has: Coach Mark Gottfried's first real recruiting class is shaping up nicely because of strong in-state talent. Gottfried has held on to a commitment from feisty 5-11 point guard Tyler Lewis of Statesville and has added 6-4 shooting guard Torian Graham of Raleigh, who has McDonald's All-America potential.

What the Pack needs: There's lots of talent in Raleigh right now, and the Wolfpack would be ecstatic to lock up 6-4 Rodney Purvis and 6-7 T.J. Warren, whose stock rose significantly after he led the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in scoring with 30.5 points per game. N.C. State also could use more depth in the low post.

Wake Forest

What the Deacons have: After signing just one high-level prospect in the class of 2011 (shooting guard Chase Fischer), coach Jeff Bzdelik has picked up the pace in the class of 2012. He has commitments from two players who are making top-100 lists - 6-7 forward Aaron Rountree and 6-2 point guard Codi McIntyre Miller. Andre Washington, a 7-foot center with promising physical talent, also has committed.

What they need: You saw this team play last season, right? Wake Forest needs everything. Targets appear to include T.J. Warren, 6-3 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera of Oak Hill Academy and 6-8 Perry Ellis of Wichita, Kan.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942

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