Kerwin Walton Completes Carolina's Impressive Class

After a delayed announcement over the weekend, Kerwin Walton has committed to Roy Williams and the Tar Heels on Monday morning.
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After a delayed announcement over the weekend, Kerwin Walton has committed to Roy Williams and the Tar Heels on Monday morning.

Walton, a 2020 four-star shooting guard, joined one of the best recruiting classes in the history on UNC men’s basketball. He chose the Tar Heels over Georgetown, Creighton, Arizona, Vanderbilt, and in-state Minnesota.

The Hopkins star fills a scholarship on a team that looks to bounce back from one of the rockiest seasons in recent memory. The Tar Heels (14-19, 6-14 ACC) suffered from countless injuries and a lack of rhythm, and it never felt like they reached their full potential.

Walton became the sixth player to sign to North Carolina, joining the following:

• Caleb Love, 5-Star Point Guard from Christian Brothers College (St. Louis, MO)

• Day’Ron Sharpe, 5-Star Center Monteverde Academy (Montverde, FL)

• Walker Kessler, 5-Star Center from Woodward Academy (Atlanta, GA)

• RJ Davis, 4-Star Combo Guard from Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, NY)

• Puff Johnson, 4-Star Wing from Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, AZ)

Walton might be the lowest rated of all these athletes, but his value could be massive for UNC. A knock on the Heels’ 2019-20 season was an inability to find consistent scoring on the wing. Graduate transfers Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling had their moments, especially Keeling towards the end of the year, but neither could offer much scoring on a night-to-night basis. Leaky Black struggled from the perimeter, and senior Brandon Robinson was plagued with injuries throughout the campaign.

As a freshman, Walton will have to fight for his minutes, but he could offer a quality that was absent for Roy Williams. Standing at 6’5”, he has the length to play both the two and the three in college, though he is more of natural shooting guard. Even if he is unable to find his game early, Walton has the opportunity to learn from some more experienced players. He projects as a three-to-four-year player, something many fans love to hear.

In a similar situation is Puff Johnson, the brother of sharpshooter and Phoenix Suns wing Cameron Johnson. Puff holds a similar frame to his brother at 6’7” and could possibly grow even more.He looks to offer versatility on the offensive end, using his height to his advantage while still being able to score from outside. Cameron was one of the best shooters in the NCAA during his two years at UNC, and Puff wants to leave his own legacy in Chapel Hill.

Caleb Love has solid size at 6’3”, and he has a great chance of starting right out of the gate. A question mark for Love will be how he fits into UNC’s lineup. Though he is listed as a PG, he is more of combo. He is a score-first type of player that needs to work on his ability to control the pace of a game and set up his teammates. Coby White had similar notes coming to Chapel Hill, but it would be dangerous to assume that Love could offer that level of scoring in his first year. Where he could really shine and earn his is spot is on the defensive end. He will have to show a willingness to defend at the next level, and he has the length to hang with 1s and 2s on the perimeter.

RJ Davis is simply a gamer. He has fantastic speed and quickness with the ball, and he has a knack for getting it in the basket. He averaged 26.5 points, 8 boards, and 5.3 assists on his way to being named New York’s Mr. Basketball. He can also distribute, though he needed to score more in high school. His size could hinder him at times, as he is 5’11” and 164 pounds. However, his fast hands could see him grabbing his share of steals.

Day’Ron Sharpe looks to be a great fit for Roy Williams’ fast-paced, rebound-heavy system. He is a great athlete who provides tremendous effort on the board. Being 6’10” and 246 pounds, he knows how to use his body and move others off the block. There is a level of finesse that Sharpe will need to work on, but he could easily be a disruptive sixth man from day one, if not a starter.

Walker Kessler will offer a skillset that Carolina fans are not used to seeing. He has developed a reputation as a stretch-five. Kessler standing at 7’ and being able to spread the floor will be huge for UNC next year. Each of the Tar Heels’ young centers will bring a different ability to floor. Kessler fits perfectly in the era of analytics and perimeter scoring. Sharpe might be the most athletic and electric big man on the roster. And Armando Bacotwill likely prove the strongest in the block and on the boards, while also benefiting from a full year in the system and going against ACC competition.

This is the highest rated recruiting class since at least 2014, when the Heels brought in eventual national champions Justin Jackson, Theo Pinson, and Joel Berry. It looks like Roy Williams will have plenty of talent on the team in 2020, though much of it will be young. There will most likely be battles at both guard positions and center, and that will help at some healthy competition in a hungry team. North Carolina is reloaded and looks to reassert itself as a force next season. 

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