UNC Basketball: Premier Big Man Reports Contact by Tar Heels

The No. 1 center in the 2026 class appears to be a UNC basketball offer candidate.
UNC basketball recruiting prospect Sam Funches
UNC basketball recruiting prospect Sam Funches / Lauren Witte/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY

Germantown High School (Miss.) center Sam Funches began receiving interest from the UNC basketball coaches last summer. And on Saturday morning, the first day that college coaches are allowed to contact 2026 recruits directly, the 6-foot-10, 205-pound composite five-star told On3's Jamie Shaw that the staff in Chapel Hill was among the first to reach out to him.

Plus, he's among the first to report such direct contact initiated by the Tar Heels.

Indiana, Michigan State, Texas, Ole Miss, LSU, and Mississippi State are the others who hit up Funches' phone early on the highly anticipated day for rising high school juniors, according to Shaw's report.

Funches, No. 14 overall and No. 1 among centers on the 247Sports 2026 Composite, is the namesake son of a late-1990s UConn and North Texas forward. He currently holds roughly 20 offers, a list that already includes a few ACC schools in Georgia Tech, Florida State, and one of UNC's rivals, NC State.

For now, Caldwell Academy (N.C.) forward Cole Cloer, a composite four-star ranking No. 25 overall in the class, is the only 2026 prospect who has landed an offer from UNC basketball head coach Hubert Davis and his crew. It arrived a few weeks ago.

Although Sam Funches isn't the most polished talent in the cycle, he has top-shelf potential. He's light-footed for his size and enjoys a 7-foot-4 wingspan. Add to that his impressive motor on both ends of the floor.

Indeed, Funches looks like a prime candidate to be one of the next 2026 recruits to end up on the Tar Heels' wishlist.

ALSO READ: Four 2025 UNC Targets Head to Team USA Camp

Matt Giles


Matt Giles is the editor and publisher of FanNation's Blue Devil Country and All Tar Heels, covering the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels on SI.com.