UNC Basketball: What's Roy Williams' Next Move After Losing Robert Johnson?

From Bleacher Report - College Basketball
September 20, 2013 - 5:34pm

Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels were hoping to end the 2014 recruiting season today with the commitment of shooting guard Robert Johnson out of Richmond, Virginia. Most experts were favoring UNC, despite Johnson's near commitment to Indiana in late August, according to All Hoosiers. Once again, the experts were wrong. Johnson chose the Indiana Hoosiers. This serves as another lesson in the nerve-racking world of college basketball recruiting. Unless you have telepathic powers, you don't know jack. Let's be real. What we do know is that the search for a shooting guard continues for North Carolina. Who that will be is anyone's guess. As of today, three offers remain on the table for the final piece of the Tar Heels' 2014 recruiting puzzle: Rashad Vaughn, Dante Exum and James Blackmon. Many consider those players to be better than Johnson, but it would have been a relief for the coaching staff to know they locked in a shooting guard. If P.J. Hairston departs for the NBA after the 2013-14 season, and Roy Williams isn't able to get another commitment, the Tar Heels will be running on empty at the 2 in 2014-15. The semi-good news is that, according to Inside Carolina, Rashad Vaughn was admittedly close to committing to North Carolina this past spring, following his unofficial visit to Chapel Hill. However, his parents convinced him to wait, as they didn't get to see the campus with their son. Later this summer, Vaughn said he may not even take an official visit to UNC, which really concerned the fanbase and, undoubtedly, the coaching staff. Strangely enough, Vaughn had a timely change of heart. On September 9, the weekend of Johnson's visit to Chapel Hill, Vaughn scheduled an official visit for September 27. Roy Williams has been on record with Rashad Vaughn and the media, claiming the No. 11 overall recruit (2014 ESPN 100) as the Tar Heels' top priority—and rightfully so. There may not be a more dangerous off-guard in the 2014 class. There is no doubt that Coach Williams' first move following the Robert Johnson decision will be locking down Rashad Vaughn during his visit. If he was that close to committing before, and if his parents jump on board, he could commit to North Carolina earlier than expected. If he doesn't, Vaughn will likely wait it out until spring as previously planned. That means Coach Williams will be lighting up Dante Exum and James Blackmon's phones to continue building a rapport with the young prospects. Exum is so highly touted, though, he told the Herald Sun he's "50-50" on entering the 2014 NBA draft. He's 18 and will graduate in December, making the Aussie eligible to skip college and go pro. Coach Williams is a pretty darn good recruiter, but it doesn't get any tougher than battling with the NBA. On the bright side, his father, Cecil Exum, did play for North Carolina in the early 80s. He cut down the nets in 1982 with a couple legends named Michael Jordan and James Worthy. How much does that really mean to Dante Exum, though? Then there is James Blackmon, who currently ranks at No. 25 on the 2014 ESPN 100. It may be even harder to predict where this young man will end up. Blackmon jumped the gun in 2010, giving an unusually early verbal commitment to the Indiana Hoosiers. As his stock rose in 2013, he decided to de-commit and play the field for a while before signing his name to a letter of intent. You can hardly blame the kid. He did make a decision awfully early, and being from Indiana probably played into that quite a bit. You can't help envisioning a red flag waiving over his head, though. It doesn't appear the soap opera will end anytime soon for the Tar Heels, unless Rashad Vaughn shocks the world with an early commitment. But there is no doubt North Carolina will be going all out for his services next weekend. Until Roy Williams puts out more offers, Vaughn may be Carolina's best hope at landing a shooting guard for 2014-15. Let's hope it doesn't go down to the wire like last recruiting season with Andrew Wiggins.   Follow @TSBRollinRead more College Basketball news on BleacherReport.com


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