North Carolina's 2013 basketball class got a huge shot in the arm Friday evening, as Charlotte (N.C.) West Charlotte High big man Kennedy Meeks announced that he would be signing with the Tar Heels during ESPU's 'Signing Day Live' telecast.
The 6-9, 285-pound Meeks, the No. 4 center and No. 54 overall prospect in the Rivals 150 in the current senior class, was torn for weeks between UNC and his runner-up Georgetown, but in the end the chance to stay in-state and play for the Tar Heels was too much to pass up.
"Obviously they're recruiting in our state, and they want to win," said Meeks about North Carolina.
"I talk to Roy Williams almost every other day. He's very cool, I like him. He understands the recruiting process and gives me good advice about college and about being a great player."
"I mean, it's Carolina. They've got a good coach and a good team. They represent themselves well, and they know how to win. They're a good school," Meeks added.
"He kept it quiet and in the end, I think Meeks just had an overwhelming affinity to North Carolina," said Tar Heel Illustrated basketball recruiting director Clint Jackson. "I think it was in his heart all along to go to the UNC, but props to Georgetown for making it a battle."
"I think John Thompson III made a heck of a run at the Charlotte center and he was truly torn for a while."
"I pay a lot of attention to body language and you could just tell that Meeks wasn't feeling very sure of his thoughts for awhile there, but Roy Williams personally grabbed this recruitment and closed the deal."
Williams is impressed with several aspects of Meeks' game, including his defensive ability---particularly rebounding and shot blocking---as well as his superior outlet passing skills, which has drawn some impressive comparisons to post greats including Wes Unseld and Kevin Love.
"(Coach Williams said he liked) just my tenacity, my desire to play the game, my rebounding and outlet passing," Meeks said.
"I'm a force in the paint. I think I have a good jump shot. I can hit the open 15 foot shot and I just box out, grab the rebounds and throw the outlet pass to start the break."
As was the case with UNC 2012 signee and current freshman big man Joel James, one of the biggest areas of focus for Meeks between now and when he enrolls at UNC next summer will be his physical conditioning.
He will be well-served to keep working hard running, maintaining his weight, and attempting to get into peak shape to maximize his potential at Carolina.
"I just want to make sure I pay attention to what I'm putting in my body. You know, try and eat right, so I will just continue to put my attention that stuff," Meeks said.
"He's got two areas (Meeks needs to work on)," said West Charlotte High head coach Baronton Terry. "One is conditioning and one is his?diet. He's very skilled around the post and passes the ball very well. With better conditioning and better diet, the sky is the limit. But he's really dedicated to that."
While Meeks has time to do all the things he needs to do to ensure he'll be productive in college, the big thing from UNC's perspective is that they've landed him to go along with Nate Britt and Isaiah Hicks.
This is a well-rounded class with a gifted point guard, power forward, and now a true center in Meeks, and it's another foundation class that should help the Tar Heels win plenty of games in the coming years.