Three uncommitted prospects in the 2021 recruiting class who are high on UNC’s priority list were named to the SI99.
The ranking of the country’s top basketball prospects from the high school senior class was unveiled this week, naming and rating the 99 players who are candidates for Sports Illustrated All-American honors.
Center Chet Holmgren is No. 1 on the SI99. SI All-American recruiting director Jason Jordan says of Holmgren, “A seven-footer who dominates like a center on both ends, handles the ball like a point guard and drains three-pointers like a marksman. This is the best collection of talent in the senior class."
Here’s the full evaluation of the big man:
Frame: Thin and long, Holmgren will need to add muscle at the next level and beyond.
Athleticism: Holmgren is quick and agile and adept at using his versatility to his advantage on both ends of the floor. He runs the floor well and has exceptional footwork.
Instincts: Holmgren has great anticipation on both ends of the floor. He’s an exceptional ball handler with the ability to create for himself and his teammates. His timing on shot blocks and shot changes are exceptional and he’s an able offensive and defensive rebounder.
Polish: Holmgren is lean, but what he lacks in size he makes up for with his 7-4 wingspan and unmatched tenacity. Holmgren dominates on both ends of the floor and tends to raise his level of play as the game intensifies, getting more and more energized when players try and shut him down.
Bottom Line: Holmgren will organically add strength as he continues to play, but he's a ferocious competitor and his skill set and versatility are off the charts. Holmgren can legitimately run the point and then dominate as a center on the next possession. He's a player you just put on the floor and let operate. Expect to see Holmgren shake hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver early when the time comes.
Small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., of Sussex, Wisconsin’s Hamilton High, was No. 5 on the SI99. UNC is in Baldwin’s top 10, along with Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, Duke, Northwestern, UCLA, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
SI All-American’s evaluation of Baldwin says:
Frame: Lean build with room to add bulk and muscle at the next level and beyond.
Athleticism: Baldwin is a high-level athlete with great size and speed. He has great lateral movement and quickness, which helps him get free when he’s hunting his elite perimeter jump shot. Baldwin is agile and can play at all paces.
Instincts: Baldwin is the son of UW-Milwaukee head coach Patrick Sr., and it’s clear he’s been taught all of the fundamentals of the game from his dad. Baldwin picks his spots well and recognizes situations quickly and reacts. His feel is one of his best attributes.
Polish: Baldwin never gets rattled or sped up, he’s always within the frame of what he’s trying to accomplish. Since he draws most of the attention on the floor, he’s developed the ability to find the open man in the position where he’s most effective.
Bottom Line: You’d be hard-pressed to find a player that presents a greater matchup advantage on both ends than Baldwin. For the past couple of summers, he ran with Phenom U (Wis.) and averaged 17 points, five rebounds and two assists a game, despite playing with multiple five-star players on the wing. That’s telling.
Shooting guard Trevor Keels of Fairfax, Virginia’s Paul VI Catholic, was No. 13 on the list. Virginia, Villanova, Ohio State and Michigan are other strong contenders for the former high school teammate of Jeremy Roach.
SI All-American’s evaluation says:
Frame: Big and strong build with plenty of room to add even more lean muscle at the next level.
Athleticism: Keels is slippery from the wing, using his quick speed bursts to blow by defenders and his elite footwork to maneuver around the court. Keels is agile and is adept at using his strength to finish through contact.
Instincts: Keels is tactical with his approach on the offensive end. He not only recognizes situational mismatches; he also has the skill set to exploit them on all three levels. Keels is a playmaker and an underrated passer with a high basketball IQ.
Polish: Keels is most comfortable creating and remaining in attack mode. His ability to efficiently score on all three levels makes him a nightmare matchup for the opposition. Keels’ combination of strength and skill are his greatest assets.
Bottom Line: Keels is one of the most physically imposing scoring guards in the country. He’ll thrive in an uptempo system but has the ability to excel in the halfcourt because of his ability to get to the line and finish through contact. Keels will be an instant impact player from day one in college.
Shooting guard Hunter Sallis of Omaha’s Millard North is No. 16 on the SI99.
Here’s SI All-American’s evaluation of Sallis:
Frame: Lean frame with room to add and develop muscle at the next level.
Athleticism: Sallis is a high-level athlete who combines speed and quickness to dominate the opposition from the backcourt. Sallis is adept at blowing by his man using change-of-speed bursts and quick lateral movements. Sallis is a high riser who finishes at the rim with “wow” plays.
Instincts: Sallis remains in constant attack mode with the ability to score on all three levels efficiently. He’s a capable playmaker with a high IQ and recognizes and exploits matchup advantages for himself and his teammates.
Polish: Sallis controls the pace and picks his spots well as a scorer. He rarely takes bad shots and keeps the defense off balance with his efficiency at all three levels. As a defender, Sallis has quick hands and comes away with a lot of deflections from passes and poke-aways from the primary ball handler.
Bottom Line: Sallis is a relentless scoring guard with the ability to change the momentum because of his elite athleticism. He also doubles as a playmaker who hounds the ball defensively – the type of player who will always see time early at the next level. Expect his stock to continue to rise in the 2021 class.
Center Efton Reid of Bradenton, Florida’s IMG Academy is No. 17 on the list.
Here’s SI All-American’s look at the seven footer
Frame: Big, strong build with the type of bulk that helps you in the paint.
Athleticism: Reid won’t wow you with a 360-windmill, but his footwork is strong for his size and he’s agile enough to make plays around the basket. Reid shows well defending the high screen and gets back in position in time.
Instincts: Reid has a soft touch around the rim and an awareness that keeps him in position to make plays. Reid keeps the defense honest from the perimeter with the ability to efficiently knockdown perimeter and mid-range jump shots, making him a capable pick-and-pop big.
Polish: Reid is a true center with the ability to stretch the defense with his shooting ability. On the free-throw line, Reid is a major asset. Last summer he shot 83 percent from the line for the summer.
Bottom Line: Reid’s versatility is the primary reason why everyone from Louisville to Virginia to North Carolina State, among many others, are all in hot pursuit. As he continues to develop, Reid’s stock will go up and it’s likely that he’ll play his best basketball at the next level and beyond.