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Roy Williams showed interest but never offered 5-star power forward Alonzo Gaffney.

North Carolina recruiting: Commitment brings end to curious recruitment of 5-star PF Alonzo Gaffney

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 the end of the relationship between the Tar Heels and 5-star power forward Alonzo Gaffney that never really developed.

Alonzo Gaffney commits to Ohio State

North Carolina had interest in Alonzo Gaffney, a 5-star power forward out of Cleveland. In fact, Tar Heels assistants trekked to Garfield Heights several times to see him and Roy Williams even went once.

Gaffney seemed like the quintessential target for North Carolina. He’s a consensus top-20 prospect and is rated as the No. 3 overall power forward in the junior class. The Tar Heels have established a bit of a foothold in Ohio recruiting, including 4-star 2019 point guard Jeremiah Francis, and Gaffney acknowledged that growing up, North Carolina was his dream school.

Still, an offer never came and on Tuesday, any possibility of one all but vanished when Gaffney announced his commitment to Ohio State.

In all likelihood, North Carolina viewed Gaffney as a secondary choice among its front-court targets, and felt comfortable enough waiting on the others that it didn’t mind losing out on Gaffney.

In a class that will probably have four players, it would make sense for North Carolina to go with two guards, with Francis already on board and 4-star shooting guard Josh Nickelberry being No. 2, and two forwards.

Armando Bacot, a 5-star power forward/center out of Richmond, Va., is North Carolina’s No. 1 target. Behind him, the Tar Heels have pursued top players James Wiseman and Vernon Carey Jr., both of whom seem like long shots to head to Chapel Hill. More realistically, there’s 5-star small forward Wendell Moore, 5-star power forward Matthew Hurt and 5-star center Will Baker.

Moore seems like the ideal choice to pair with Bacot, especially if Nassir Little goes the one-and-done route.

If any of the three end up in Chapel Hill, it won’t matter much that Gaffney got away, and that’s probably what the Tar Heels had planned all along.

Tar Heels crack top 5 for 4-star DT C.J. Clark

Shortly after National Signing Day, we surveyed some of the top in-state talent that North Carolina might have its eye on in The Dean’s List.

That list took a hit Monday night when 4-star quarterback Sam Howell committed to Florida State. But on Tuesday afternoon, there was good news on the recruiting trail when 4-star New London, N.C. defensive tackle C.J. Clark announced his top 5.

North Carolina made the cut, along with N.C. State, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

Clark is the state’s second-ranked defensive tackle, coming in at No. 19 at his position and No. 277 overall nationally.

The loss of 4-star defensive tackle Hakeem Beamon in March makes North Carolina’s recruitment of Clark that much more important.

North Carolina has been one of his hottest destinations, including two visits since the end of February. He also took a trip to South Carolina in February and to N.C. State on Saturday.

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