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North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams visited Vernon Carey in Florida in September.

North Carolina recruiting: PF Vernon Carey names top 8, hopes to visit Tar Heels soon

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 9 a.m. ET Monday through Friday. In this edition, we discuss 5-star 2019 power forward Vernon Carey, who released his top eight Monday and hopes to make a visit to Chapel Hill in the near future.

North Carolina created some serious recruiting momentum with the addition of 5-star small forward Nassir Little to its Class of 2018.

With the addition of Little, the highest rated recruit pulled in by Roy Williams since 2014, and the announcement that North Carolina won’t face any NCAA sanctions in its longstanding academic fraud investigation, it’s fair to wonder if this momentum could yield an overall uptick in recruiting at North Carolina, which hasn’t had many top 10 or one-and-done players like many other basketball powerhouses.

That could come in the form of another addition to the Class of 2018, such as 5-star forward Simi Shittu, but it’s more likely that the next big splash is in the Class of 2019. So far, that class has just one commit — 4-star point guard Jeremiah Francis — and many of the offers from Williams have been focused on the highest-rated players in the class.

Near the top of that list is 5-star power forward Vernon Carey, the No. 1 overall player in the class, and it looks as if that interest in mutual. On Monday, Carey announced his top eight, which included North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, Florida, Duke, UCLA, Kansas and Miami.

“I just feel like I have good relationship with all their coaching staffs,” Carey told Rivals’ Corey Evans. “I am probably talking to Duke, Michigan State and Miami the most.”

The eight finalists come from nearly 20 offers for the 6-foot-9 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. standout. While Carey hasn’t been to Chapel Hill yet, Williams has been a mainstay on the sidelines during the scouting periods over the summer and went to visit Carey last month.

“He came down to my school about two weeks ago and told me to just keep on working,” Carey told Scout’s Sean Moran. “He saw me work out and just wanted to see me keep getting better.”

At the USA Junior National Team minicamp last week in Colorado Springs, Colo., Carey indicated to Moran he intends to make it to Chapel Hill near the end of the year, in addition to Duke. His high school team, University School, will play a tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Dec. 28-30 and he hopes to use that to get to both schools.

“My high school team is playing a tournament in North Carolina so I think we might take a visit around then,” Carey said.

Until then, Carey will continue to make visits when he can as the high school season gets closer. He’s been to Miami several times and was at Michigan State for the first time at the end of September. He has also been to Duke, a trip he made last December, and Kentucky and he attended a camp at Florida in 2016.

This should be the last update expected on Carey until he makes his visit, though. He plans to let the recruiting process play out and won’t cut his list any further until next summer, according to Evans, at which point he would likely be down to the five schools he intends to officially visit.

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