Tar Heels add pair of elite guards

Originally Published: November 13, 2009
ESPN.com news services

Two of the nation's top prospects -- Reggie Bullock of Kinston, N.C. (Kinston), No. 13 in the ESPNU 100 and the second-ranked shooting guard, and Kendall Marshall of Arlington, Va. (Bishop O'Connell), No. 19 in the top 100 and fourth-ranked point guard -- signed with North Carolina.

Bullock chose the Tar Heels over Indiana and Wake Forest; Marshall picked UNC over Georgetown, Villanova and Virginia.

By adding the two players, the Tar Heels' recruiting class likely will be among the nation's top 10 when final rankings are released, but possibly could become an elite class by the end of Friday.

UNC also is still in the running for forward Harrison Barnes of Ames, Iowa (Ames), who is the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100. He will announce his decision Friday (ESPNU, 4 p.m. ET).

Barnes, 6-foot-8 and 209 pounds, is deciding among North Carolina, Duke and Kansas, with Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State considered long shots.

But even without Barnes, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams has added a pair of elite guards who will fit in his system perfectly.

What makes the 6-7, 190-pound Bullock stand out is his versatility and ability to score as a big shooting guard, according to analysis by Scouts Inc. He will fit well in Williams' fast-break style because he is a versatile athlete who can consistently knock down 3-pointers when open, an effective passer off the dribble, and he can absorb contact and finish in transition.

Bullock also should be able to quickly adjust to the collegiate game defensively; he is sound on and off the ball and is able to defend multiple positions. Where Bullock separates himself from the pack is when he takes over the game offensively. He has the ability to score in bunches and wants the ball in tough situations. He is mentally tough and at the end of games is a consistent free throw shooter. He is a hard worker who is coachable and understands how to play.

"Reggie is a wonderful prospect as a perimeter player," Williams said. "At 6-7, he has the ability to handle the ball and be a fantastic shooter. He is also a good defensive player. He's the kind of young man whom everyone will enjoy watching."

Marshall, 6-4 and 180 pounds, is simply the best passer in high school basketball, according to Scouts Inc. He always has his head up looking for the open teammate. He is extremely efficient with his dribble as he uses it to push the ball in transition.

Everything he does throughout the course of a game has a purpose. He is adept at seeing the entire floor and making the assist on target and on time. He makes all kinds of passes (penetration-and-kick, dump-off from his drives, skip, post feed, open cutters) that lead to open looks. He supports and encourages his teammates if they drop one of his passes, the sign of a true leader. Marshall is a good midrange shooter who still needs work on his jumper behind the arc.

"Kendall is a true point guard," Williams said. "He's a Lenny Wilkens-type player -- very clever with the ball. I love his unselfishness. Everyone who has played with him wants to be his teammate again. He's a thinking man's point guard who will fit in well with the way we play."