Although North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams is not done filling out his 2018 recruiting class, his 2019 recruiting efforts began with a bang on Friday when 4-star point guard Jeremiah Francis made his verbal commitment to the Tar Heels.
Francis announced his decision on Twitter.
— Jeremiah Francis🖤 (@JFrancis30_) August 11, 2017
In the process of picking the Tar Heels, Francis — an Ohio native — turned down interest from hometown favorite Ohio State (his father, Jerry, was a star player for the Buckeyes in the 1980s). Francis also had offers from Dayton, Florida State, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Purdue, TCU, Virginia Tech and West Virginia among others.
Francis, who was offered a scholarship by North Carolina just 10 days ago, also spoke with Zach Fleer of 270 Hoops on his decision. Francis said the allure of being a part of a prestigious program such as North Carolina — which, of course, is coming off winning the 2017 national championship — was too hard to pass up.
Here is more on Francis’ decision from 270 Hoops:
“I mean, it’s just North Carolina,” Francis told 270 Hoops of the thinking behind his decision. “It’s a powerful basketball program and really just a great place to be.”
Considering Williams did not receive a commitment in the 2018 class from a point guard, the expectation is that he and the Tar Heels will bypass recruiting a lead guard this year and count on Francis to make an immediate contribution in the 2019-2020 season.
Francis, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard from Pickerington, Ohio, (Pickerington Central High School) is widely regarded as a 4-star recruit, which 247Sports rates him. The site ranks him as the No. 61 overall prospect in the 2019 class and the seventh-best point guard in the country. 247Sports also regards Francis as the best basketball player in the state of Ohio for the 2019 class.
Francis is a warrior on the court.
His skills, basketball IQ and instincts are second to none. Francis has slick handles and the ability to do as he pleases when he penetrates the lane, while usually finding his teammates open for easy baskets.
Francis already has a ready-made college body and uses his strength to implore his will on the basketball court. While not overly speedy, Francis is quick with his decisions and timing. He also has a solid jump shot.
Francis could not have picked a better school than North Carolina to accentuate his strengths, as Williams is known to churn out quality point guards at Chapel Hill. His past standouts include Marcus Paige, Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson and Kendrick Marshall, among others.
North Carolina’s track record of molding quality point guards was also a deciding factor in Francis pulling the trigger this early.
“It factored in a lot,” Francis said, according to 270 Hoops. “Coach Williams loves his point guard and I feel he can take me to the next level as a person and player.”
Another factor in Francis picking North Carolina was the fact that he will reunite with his ex-high school teammate Sterling Manley. A 3-star power forward, Manley is set to enter his freshman season at Chapel Hill this year.
With Joel Berry II locking down the point guard duties this year, and with Jalek Felton (Raymond Felton’s nephew) set to take over for Berry after that, Williams will have a great pipeline of lead guards flowing into the program for the foreseeable future.
It will be a while before Francis takes the court in Chapel Hill, but he could be worth the wait. Francis’ competitiveness and gritty spirit will quickly endear him to the Tar Heel faithful and he is expected to be a fan favorite in no time.
Also expect Francis to carry on North Carolina’s lineage of point guards, a position that’s considered the backbone of the basketball program.