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North Carolina has a lot to be happy about after Team USA's dominance in the first three games of the FIBA U18 Americas Championship.

North Carolina recruiting: Targets help Team USA dominate group play

Cody Pace

Join us daily at ACC DieHards for the latest North Carolina recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Tar Heels. Don’t miss any coverage from Cody Pace and the team. Read his daily notebooks here at 7 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday. In this edition, we discuss Team USA’s dominant run through the FIBA U18 Americas Championship group play with the help of several Tar Heels targets.

Most of North Carolina’s highest priority recruiting attention has been directed to Canada over the last several days with Team USA at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship.

Group play started Sunday with a dominant 105-73 win over the Dominican Republic, with several Tar Heels’ targets at the forefront.

Cole Anthony, a 5-star combo guard out of New York, led all scorers with 18 points. Anthony was trailed by 5-star combo guard signee Coby White, who dropped 14 points.

Behind them, North Carolina’s other three targets all eclipsed the double-digit points mark. Power forwards Matthew Hurt and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who both started alongside Anthony, dropped 12 and 10 points, respectively, while 5-star power forward/center Armando Bacot dropped 11. Both Bacot and Hurt fell just short of a double-double, as both players pulled down 9 rebounds.

As dominant as Sunday’s opening showing was, Monday was even better.

Team USA walloped Panama 118-26 after getting out to a 43-0 lead in the first quarter.

Bacot led the team with 17 points in less than 15 minutes of play. Anthony had another strong showing, too, dropping 14 points. Hurt, Robinson-Earl and White each dropped less than 10 (8, 6 and 8 respectively), although none of them played more than 20 minutes.

The final game, a Tuesday evening matchup against Puerto Rico, was just as easy as Team USA went on to a 115-71 win.

White again had a strong showing, finishing second behind Quentin Grimes with 15 points. He also had 6 rebounds and 4 assists to give him averages of 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4 assists per game through group play.

Anthony scored 14 to give him a 15.3 average points per game through the first three.

Hurt and Robinson-Earl each also eclipsed double-digit points (12 and 13, respectively) and the latter netted 10 rebounds for the team’s only double-double on the evening.

Team USA emerged from group play with a perfect 3-0 record, making it the top seed in Group A ahead of 2-1 Puerto Rico.

Wednesday is an off day, but play picks up again on Thursday with the quarterfinals. Team USA will match up against the low seed from Group B, 0-3 Ecuador.

Tar Heels host 3-star New Jersey linebacker

North Carolina will have quite a few prospects on campus over the next several weeks between camps and visits.

One of the more important visitors was on campus Wednesday, 3-star Class of 2020 inside linebacker Korey Smith.

Smith is just below the 4-star threshold, ranking as the 10th-best inside linebacker and No. 313 overall prospect in the rising junior class.

The Tar Heels are one of six offers for Smith, the others being Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Vanderbilt.

Rutgers is the in-state school, which he took advantage of for a visit in May. However, he’s originally from Virginia, so that may not be too big of a boost for the Scarlet Knights.

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