A top-5 point guard in the junior class nationally, Joel Berry II of Lake Highland Prep (FL), announced his verbal commitment to North Carolina on Monday. Berry wrote on his Twitter account,”I feel honored and blessed to officially be a part of the North Carolina Tar Heels tradition and excellence.”
Berry recently tripped to Chapel Hill, and it didn’t take coach Roy Williams and company to close the deal on the highly sought after Sunshine State lead guard. Berry is the first pledge to North Carolina in the 2014 class and Hoopniks.com considers Berry the No. 16 overall prospect in the junior class nationally.
The Tar Heels currently have a top-15 ranked recruiting class for 2013, which includes point guard Nate Britt, forward Isaiah Hicks and center Kennedy Meeks. With Berry, Britt and current freshman point guard Marcus Paige, North Carolina will have signed top-10 point guards in three consecutive classes.
Berry made the USA Basketball 17-U team that won a gold medal in Lithuania over the summer. He started five of nine games, averaging 8 points and 3 rebounds per game. He also had a strong 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio in international action. He came on like gangbusters in trials for the squad in June. In assessing Berry’s game, relative to other members of the USA Basketball squad, we wrote:
Berry is a more than adequate outside shooter, that can also slash to the basket and finish above the rim. In scrimmage action he frequently scored when needed, when his squad was in a lull. Berry is a physical lead guard at his position, and has strength and durability. He’s unlikely to wear down against international competition, given his strong frame.
While it was early in his recruitment, national players like the Kansas Jayhawks and Ohio State Buckeyes, as well as in-state schools like the Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles were all pressing for Berry’s college services.