McDonald’s All-American Game 9:30, ESPN

Roy Williams says Meeks resembles May

lwertz@charlotteobserver.comApril 3, 2013 

HOUGH_WCHLT_10

West Charlotte Lions Kennedy Meeks (5) goes for the block as Hough Huskies Drexler Clark drives the lane during NC 4A boys sectional championship game on Friday, March 1, 2013, at West Charlotte. Hough defeated West Charlotte 61-52.

JEFF SINER — jsiner@charlotteobserver.com Buy Photo

  • McDonald’s All-America All-Star Game

    9:30 p.m., United Center, Chicago (TV: ESPN)

    East Roster
    Player High school College
    Anthony Barber Hampton, Va. N.C. State
    Keith Frazier Kimball, Texas Undecided
    Kasey Hill Montverde Academy Florida
    Demetrius Jackson Marian High Notre Dame
    Andrew Wiggins Huntington PrepUndecided
    Isaiah Hicks Oxford Webb N. Carolina
    Rondae Jefferson Chester Arizona
    Wayne Selden Tilton School Kansas
    Noah Vonleh New Hampton School Indiana
    Chris Walker Holmes County Florida
    Dakari Johnson Montverde Academy Kentucky
    Kennedy Meeks West Charlotte N. Carolina
    West Roster
    Player High school College
    Aaron Harrison Travis Kentucky
    Andrew Harrison Travis Kentucky
    Matt Jones DeSoto Duke
    Nigel Williams-GossFindlay Prep Washington
    Jabari Bird Salesian California
    Aaron Gordon Archbishop Mitty Undecided
    Jarrell Martin Madison LSU
    Jabari Parker Simeon Duke
    James Young Rochester Kentucky
    Marcus Lee Deer Valley Kentucky
    Bobby Portis Jr. Hall Arkansas

North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams says former West Charlotte High center Kennedy Meeks has a wealth of talent, and that a unique ability to start a fast break could be invaluable to the Tar Heels next season.

Williams also says Meeks, who is 6-foot-10 and 285 pounds, will become even better by improving his conditioning.

“Kennedy Meeks (is) a Sean May lookalike when (May) was a junior or senior in high school,” Williams said on his radio show recently, comparing Meeks to the former UNC All-American. “He’s got to get his body into shape but (has) great hands. (He is) probably the best outlet passer that I’ve ever recruited.

“The way we like to run, if we can get the perimeter guys out running, you’ll see him a lot of times throw the ball two-thirds the length of the court.”

Meeks will likely start some fast breaks in McDonald’s All-American game Wednesday night on ESPN (9:30 p.m.). He will play for the East team, coached by Freddy Johnson of Greensboro Day School.

Meeks, in this year’s game with fellow UNC recruit Isaiah Hicks of Oxford Webb High, is one of 28 North Carolina players selected for the all-star game since it began in 1977. Meeks’ aunt, Brenda Richmond, who handled the bulk of his recruiting, said North Carolina hasn’t given her nephew a specific schedule to follow before he arrives on campus June 11.

“They just want him to maintain his (4.2) grade average,” she said. “They have not put any pressures on him. They have a plan for him as far as his weight, but they have not told us anything more. You see it all over the Internet about his weight, but they have to understand he has an 18-year-old body. It’ll change and develop.”

Richmond said Meeks is playing tennis and working out with a personal trainer. She said each night, Meeks is in his room doing push-ups and squats and other exercises.

“He’s getting ready,” she said. “When he goes to UNC, he’ll have a nutritionist that comes with the program. I really believe that program, that all the kids go through, with weight training and drills and exercise, will pull the weight off.”

Richmond said she is urging Meeks – a National Honor Society member – to enjoy his senior year.

“His vacation time, his coming home time, his hang time with his friends, a lot of that is going to change,” she said. “He may as well enjoy life now, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Meeks is a two-time Associated Press all-state pick (the 2013 team has not been announced). As a senior, he averaged 19 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three blocks for West Charlotte (26-5). As a sophomore and junior, Meeks led the Lions to the N.C. 4A championship game, winning the title and being named MVP as a sophomore.

Throughout his career, while he’s been a strong scorer and spectacular rebounder, Meeks’ strength has always been that outlet passing.

Williams believes Meeks’ passing will fit well on his team next season.

“He has good solid post moves inside,” Williams said on his radio show. “He has to do a much better job with his conditioning to get him in shape, but he’s going to be a fine player for us.

Wertz: 704-612-9716; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr

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