Future Tar Heel Justin Jackson updates his path to Chapel Hill with regular journal entries at…
2014 Rankings Report: North Carolina
This was a key class for North Carolina to re-stock their roster with talented perimeter pieces, and Roy Williams was able to accomplish just that with a trio of prospects. It is definitely one of the premier classes in the country with the Tar Heels featuring two five-star prospects. Leading the way for UNC in this class is five-star prospect Justin Jackson. Jackson held on to his top 10 ranking coming in at No. 10 overall. With Jackson it is all about his efficiency and ability to score. Other highly touted prospects made it tough on Jackson to remain in the top 10, but a tremendous showing during the high school season in January combined with a very solid week all around at the McDonald's game showed why he was worthy of holding on to that lofty perch. Jackson is still a bit of a reluctant three point shooter, but he has made some strides there and actually shoots a decent percentage. Still Jackson is most comfortable in the mid-range, especially working the baseline where his floater is nearly automatic. There isn't a ton of style to Jackson's game, but there is a lot of substance and that is why he held on to his top 10 ranking. Making a move up the rankings was Theo Pinson. After the summer Pinson was viewed as the No. 27 prospect with a four-star ranking. Now Pinson checks in as a five-star and No. 19 overall. A big reason for the jump was his very impressive senior season. Analyst Rob Harrington was adamant after multiple viewings this year that Pinson deserved to be put on a higher perch due to his athleticism, toughness, defensive ability, and growing offensive game. Also it is worth noting that Pinson was moved over from the small forward spot to the shooting guard position with the improvement he made on the offensive end. His shot and ball handling both improved to the point where offensively he can handle that position. That combined with his defensive versatility makes him one of the more athletic and intriguing wings in the class. He still has to get a bit more efficient, but Pinson's game is going in the right direction and we felt a bump in the rakings was more than justified. While Pinson jumped from a four-star to a five-star, point guard Joel Berry fell from five-star to four-star. Berry now checks in at No. 34 in the rankings after previously coming in at No. 21 overall. The reason for the drop was fairly simple. Berry struggled mightily all week at the McDonald's All-American Game when matched up against the other top floor generals in the class. He then followed that up with another underwhelming performance at the Nike Hoops Summit. With that it became clear that Berry probably was best served below the five-star range, but as a high four-star prospect. Berry still projects to be a very good college player and someone who could take the reins early on in his career as the point guard, but he doesn't project as that elite impact guard early on. He needs to improve as a shooter and show that at his size, measured at 6-foot in shoes at the Hoops Summit, he can control the flow of a game and use his quickness to breakdown defenders off the dribble. From a class perspective this one remains relatively the same. UNC still has two five-star prospects and a four-star in the mix headed to Chapel Hill, and it remains one of the elite classes in the entire country.
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