UNC basketball whiffs on in-state 4-star, fails to bolster 2023 class

Jarin Stevenson, North Carolina Tar Heels. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jarin Stevenson, North Carolina Tar Heels. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

UNC basketball let in-state prospect Jarin Stevenson slip away to Alabama in a recruiting whiff that should be unimaginable in Chapel Hill.

Everyone knows in the recruiting game it’s essential to keep your homegrown talent at home. So when a kid who grew up in the shadow of an elite basketball institution opts to leave, it’s always a big deal.

That’s what happened to UNC basketball with Jarin Stevenson.

The 6-foot-10, 200-pound power forward out of Seaforth, a high school 25 minutes away from the Dean Smith Center, committed to Alabama over UNC on Wednesday.

Originally rated the No. 22 prospect in the class of 2024 by 247Sports, Stevenson reclassified into the class of 2023 and now ranks No. 40 in the 247Sports composite.

UNC basketball losing Jarin Stevenson to Alabama is a whiff

North Carolina’s class of 2024 is already stacked with five-star commits Ian Jackson and Drake Powell, but Stevenson would have been a welcome addition to that group which ranks No. 1 nationally. He’d have stood out even more as a member of the 2023 class, which sits 33rd in the national rankings with five-star point guard Elliot Cadeau holding down the fort alongside four-star forward Zayden High.

Stevenson’s decision to reclassify clearly played a role in his decision to roll with the Tide. However, it remains that Nate Oats beat out Hubert Davis and company on the recruiting trail with this one. That’s a bad sign.

The Tar Heels had scholarship space for Stevenson even with the change in classes. They were the first school to offer him and remained the favorite most of the way through the recruitment. There may be justifications for losing him, like playing time and NIL power, but those just highlight how Davis and company failed to make UNC the more desirable destination.

The saving grace for UNC is having such a strong 2024 class coming down the pipe along with Cadeau joining the 2023 class with his own reclassification.

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