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Roy Williams hit the recruiting trail between the Duke and N.C. State games last week.

North Carolina recruiting: Roy Williams make important visit; new trend with elite prospects?

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 DieHards.com team. Read his daily notebooks here at 9 a.m. ET Monday through Friday. In this edition, we discuss Roy Williams’ strategic Friday night visit and an interesting trend emerging among top prospects.


Roy Williams visits Rechon Black, Wendell Moore

North Carolina coach Roy Williams may have had a game to coach Saturday, but he wasn’t going to let that — and 150 miles — stand between him and a game between Cox Mill High School and Northwest Cabarrus in Concord, N.C., on Friday night.

Rivals’ Deana King snapped a picture of Williams on the sidelines and tweeted it that night.

Williams has become a familiar face at Cox Mill during his recruitment of 4-star forward/guard Rechon Black, now a Tar Heels signee. And Friday was senior night, which likely made it all the more important for Williams to be there.

Of course, Williams’ motivation to continue to show up at Cox Mill doesn’t stop at his desire to support his future player. Cox Mill is also the home to 5-star Class of 2019 small forward Wendell Moore, who happens to be one of the Tar Heels’ top targets in the junior class.

Once upon a time, Moore, the No. 23 overall player and No. 7 small forward in his class per the 247Sports composite ratings, was considered an easy favorite to land with North Carolina and even had people around him saying he might commit before the basketball season started. Once Duke got involved, though, Moore decided to slow things down and take a look at several schools in a top 10 that he released shortly thereafter.

This was Williams’ second trip to see Moore since the end of December. Moore certainly put on a clinic for Williams and assistant Steve Robinson, putting up 31 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the floor and going a perfect 9 for 9 from the free-throw line. Black had himself a nice night, too, putting up 11 points and 3 assists including a 3-for-4 performance from 3-point range as the Chargers won 89-51, improving the team’s regular-season record to 21-3.

On the season, Moore is averaging 25.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while Black is averaging 13.8 points. 6 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Five-star SG Anfernee Simons debuts weekly journal

Reporters used to be the only real medium by which athletes could communicate with those interested in what they have to say. But now with social media, it’s easier than ever for athletes to directly spread their message.

The Players’ Tribune, Derek Jeter’s media venture, has added another layer to this, and we’ve seen that trickle down to recruiting with some high school prospects using that essay-style approach to announce their commitment.

We might be watching another trend develop.

On Friday, Rivals debuted Simons Says, a weekly journal-type column where 5-star shooting guard Anfernee Simons directly discusses his recruiting process.

Simons is an interesting prospect — the No. 7 overall player in the Class of 2018 is at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and a year removed from his high school graduation. So he’s balancing recruitment with the possibility that he could jump straight into the NBA at the end of this season.

Although North Carolina isn’t recruiting Simons, he did take in the Tar Heels’ road revenge victory against North Carolina State last weekend while on his official visit with the Wolfpack. And his takes on the recruiting process will certainly be worth the weekly read.

This isn’t the first such recruit-centered essay, either.

Tar Heels fans might be more familiar with the Zion Williamson blog on USA Today, which has been far less frequent than Simons’ expected weekly updates. Williamson’s fellow Duke commit and the top-ranked recruit in 2018, 5-star small forward R.J. Barrett, also has an infrequent USA Today blog called R.J.’s World.

While Williamson was the only player North Carolina recruited that went this route, it seems like it’s only going to get more common. With the Tar Heels aiming high in the Class of 2019, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a blog or two chronicling some of North Carolina’s targets come the start of next school year.

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