How does North Carolina replace GG Jackson?

GG Jackson de-committed from North Carolina. Where does the UNC basketball program turn next in the class of 2023?

It was rumored. It was talked about. It was rejected as click-bait. It was accepted with resignation. And then…it actually happened: GG Jackson de-committed from North Carolina.

It’s high time to be finished talking about Jackson. He de-committed. He’s gone. It’s over. It’s time to move on.

However, one aspect of Jackson’s de-commitment we do need to consider, and the big question going forward is, “Where do Coach Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels turn next in the class of 2023?” With Jackson’s de-commitment, Simeon Wilcher is the only remaining recruit in the class for UNC.

In addition to the newly-vacated scholarship left behind by Jackson, I believe Carolina will have three other scholarships available to hand out ahead of the 2023-34 season. Let’s look at the math together. Each DI men’s basketball team has 13 available scholarships per season.

We know for certain that the Tar Heels lose Leaky Black and Pete Nance, who will both be out of eligibility. That leaves 11 players on the current roster who could theoretically return – Armando Bacot, Justin McKoy, Puff Johnson, Caleb Love, RJ Davis, Dontrez Styles, D’Marco Dunn, Tyler Nickel, Will Shaver, Seth Trimble, and Jalen Washington.

Keep in mind that, while Bacot and McKoy are seniors this season, they could utilize COVID eligibility next year.

I project that McKoy will use his COVID year, but that Bacot (along with Love) will leave to pursue professional opportunities and that at least one player will transfer. Those losses bring the scholarship count from 11 down to eight. Add in one for Simeon Wilcher and you arrive at a total of nine scholarships accounted for, meaning there are four available.

How will Coach Hubert Davis and his staff fill those spots? On a recent episode of Locked On Tar Heels, I chatted with Sports Illustrated’s Director of Basketball Recruiting, Jason Jordan to gain more insight.

Beyond the players Coach Davis has already offered as positional replacements for Jackson in the class of 2023, Jordan proposed more names in the class, who, while they play different positions, would be great additions to the Tar Heel roster. Here’s what Jordan had to say about each.

As Jordan said, “I don’t think they’ll leave any bullets left in the gun, that’s not really Hubert’s style.”

Positional Replacements for GG Jackson

(Already with offers from UNC)

TJ Power

Power, a 6’8” PF from Massachusetts, went off at Peach Jam and gained even more national notoriety, but Jordan said that Power “has been very good all summer”.

The two-sport star (baseball) has been on the basketball radar for longer than this summer, the reason for the ascension is his much-improved three-point shooting.

Given Hubert Davis’ offensive system, Power would be a fantastic addition, and potentially provide even more long-term program benefits than would Jackson.

“For college, for what he brings to the table if they were able to snag him, I don’t think there would be much of a drop-off. He’s that good,” Jordan said. “He’s shooting it a lot better than GG. I love his motor, I love how relentless he plays on both ends of the court. He’s like a warrior. He would be a fan favorite if he came for sure.”

Zayden High

High is another PF, hailing from Spring Branch, TX. He stands 6’9” and reminds Jordan of a recently-departed Tar Heel that will make fans stand up and take notice: “Super versatile, face-up four. Great in the pick-and-pop, he’s knocking down the shot. Brady-Manek style – he’s knocking everything down.”

According to Jordan, High, along with Power, would be “guys who would definitely produce from day one”.

Other Class of 2023 Possibilities

(Not yet offered by UNC / Not positional matches for GG Jackson)

Trey Parker

Parker is a 6’2” in-state combo guard.

“I know that they [UNC] have contacted Parker, who just went to Overtime Elite,” Jordan told me. “Dynamic guard, he was amazing at Peach Jam. I know they’ve reached out to him.”

You might read that and be confused at how Parker could go to Overtime Elite (a pro league that pays its players) and ultimately still come to North Carolina. Jordan reported late in July that Parker was waiving the $100,000 salary to maintain his collegiate eligibility.

Jordan recently wrote about Parker that he “built his reputation on his athletic ability” and that “tends to overshadow his abilities as an efficient three-level scorer and playmaker.”

Jizzle James

James is the son of Hall of Fame RB Edgerrin James. Jordan told me that he’s a “really good combo guard” and that he specifically is hoping for an offer from UNC, as Jordan recently wrote in his profile of James for Sports Illustrated.

James was named the MVP of the last Nike EYBL session in Kansas City a few weeks ago. The continued success of this type could lead to Coach Davis ultimately offering a scholarship to the 6’1” point guard.

Freddie Dillone

Jordan mentioned Dilione to me as another possibility. A great reason for that is geographical proximity. Dilione is “actually in the state at Word of God Christian Academy, and is a superstar, in my opinion,” said Jordan. “He played on the Adidas circuit and dominated all summer against all comers.”

Dilione is a bigger combo guard (6’4”) and currently holds offers from schools like Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wake Forest.

What is the potential that Parker, James, or Dilione winds up in Chapel Hill? Jordan concluded his thoughts by saying, “I think one of those last three, Trey, Jizzle, or Freddie, might grab one. [a scholarship]…stay tuned.”

Transfer Portal

Keep in mind, Hubert Davis has shown himself willing and able to extract big-time talent from the transfer portal. We obviously won’t know the names or eligibility until Spring of 2023, but expect that if North Carolina has four open scholarships remaining, one or two will (wisely) go to existing high-level college players.

Follow us @KeepingItHeel on Twitter and like our fan page on Facebook for continued coverage of UNC basketball news, views, and updates.

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