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The Tar Heels are back for more

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Oct. 21, 2005

Wow, North Carolina wasted no time in putting together an amazing recruiting class for the future. Roy Williams and his staff capitalized on its national championship by assembling a great group.

Yes, the Tar Heels lost Sean May, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, Marvin Williams, Jackie Manuel and Jawad Williams. These guys set the tone big-time. Kids want to play immediately, and North Carolina is a place where they could get into action pretty quickly. Plus they see that Carolina blue uniform and think about the rich history and tradition and those are great incentives to go to Chapel Hill. Playing at the place that Dean Smith built, where the Michelangelo of coaching was so successful, is special.

The Tar Heels have a young squad in 2005, and people better jump on the bandwaggon now because their future is so bright. They have a lot of talented freshmen, but there will be under a lot of pressure to perform since there is limited experience among the returning veterans like David Noel, Reyshawn Terry and Quentin Thomas. Tyler Hansbrough and company will play hard and make a run for an NCAA tournament bid.

Next season, when this class becomes sophomores, they will have help. Watch out for the 2006-07 edition of the Tar Heels. Roy Williams has one of the most talented classes, with 6-foot-4 Wayne Ellington, one of the top shooting guards in the country, and 6-foot point guard Tywon Lawson, as a potential backcourt tandem. Lawson is rated among the nation's premier point guards. Williams had success recruiting in California, getting Paul Pierce at Kansas. Now he has 6-8 Deon Thompson and 6-9 Alex Stepheson committed to Chapel Hill.

Then came the news of 6-9 Brandan Wright picking Carolina over the likes of Duke and Kentucky. Signing Wright is like hitting a home run, baby!

Coach Williams has to feel magical, like a million bucks, with this group. He also added forward William Graves to round out a great future lineup.

North Carolina is in great hands with Williams. This program is ready for another big-time run.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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