Tar Heels in desperate need for power forward help in 2017-18


UNC missed on 4-star power forward Garrison Brooks last week as the Alabama native signed with Mississippi State.

Brooks was one of three highly touted forwards to take officials to UNC this fall, but he and 5-star standout P.J. Washington pledged to other schools, while 5-star Jarred Vanderbilt held off on making a decision. Washington chose Kentucky on Nov. 10 — the day after Brooks picked MSU.

The Tar Heels face stiff competition in Kentucky and Kansas as they battle for Vanderbilt. They were late to the party with the 6-8 standout, waiting until August to extend an offer. UNC has been aggressive recently, visiting Vanderbilt in Texas in September prior to his mid-October official visit to Chapel Hill.

Like Vanderbilt, Florida combo forward Kevin Knox isn’t signing until the spring. The versatile 6-8 combo forward is taking his official visit to Chapel Hill in early February.

Knox, who visited UNC for a game last season, plans on being back in Chapel Hill in March when the Tar Heels and Blue Devils meet up, according to InsideCarolina.com. Roy Williams still has time to persuade Knox in person to overlook Duke, Kentucky and Florida State, his other finalists, and sign with the Tar Heels.

UNC has already added four scholarship players in the 2017 class, including two big men in 6-9 Brandon Huffman and 6-10 Sterling Manley. But with projected losses including five seniors — Nate Britt, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Stilman White and Kanler Coker — along with the distinct possibility that juniors Joel Berry and Justin Jackson will enter the 2017 NBA Draft, Carolina has room for at least one and as many as three more freshmen for 2017-18.