Last week, 247 Sports and Scout confirmed what many of us have known for some time now: Nassir Little is one of the best players in the country. Both 247 and Rivals released their final recruiting rankings for the 2018 class, and both had Little as #2 overall in the nation.
Anyone who has been familiar with Little over the past several months was not surprised by his jump in the rankings. The 6’7″ forward posesses elite athleticism and versatility, and has the best work ethic and motor of any 5-star recruit in the 2018 class.
Rivals analyst, Corey Evans, had this to say about Little and his recent rise to #2 overall in the country: “There is an argument for Little to be slotted at No. 1 overall (although that is for another day), but the Orlando Christian product belongs ranked where he is.”
While Little’s talent has long been known, he has been on a tear as of late. In the past month alone, Little earned MVP honors in both the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic, joining Harrison Barnes and James Michael McAdoo as the only Tar Heels ever to do so.
Little’s rapid rise has also caught the attention of NBA analysts and scouts alike. In their most recent 2019 NBA mock draft, ESPN projected Little to be selected #2 overall to the Boston Celtics. While this means he will likely be a one-and-done player, his impact will very much be felt in Chapel Hill.
Little is the highest ranked recruit UNC has had since Barnes, who signed in 2010. However, his size, strength, and athleticism should allow him to have even more of an instant impact at Carolina than Barnes did.
The Orange Park, Florida native will have a great shot to earn a starting spot from day one at UNC, an opportunity freshmen under Roy Williams rarely receive. A starting lineup including Little, 2018 All-American Luke Maye, Kenny Williams and Cameron Johnson would be one of the best and most exciting in the country.
Aside from his extraordinary talent, one of the best reasons to get excited about Little is the comments he has made about the rivalry with Duke:
“Mostly, I’m excited to play against Duke. That’s obvious, but that rivalry is one of the best at all sports at all levels. It’s been all Duke, Duke, Duke this recruiting season, but that’s expected…I’m looking forward to that level of energy and competition.”
These comments are intriguing to say the least. It seems as though Little is going to use the hype Duke’s recruiting class is receiving as fuel. That is good news for Carolina, but not any of their opponents. The last thing the rest of the country needs is for Little to become even more motivated than he is now.
Nassir Little will be one of the best players in the nation and one of the most talented UNC has had in some time. His talent, along with the experience of Maye, Johnson and Williams should make the Tar Heels one of the top teams in the country as well as a contender for the National Championship. The future is bright in Chapel Hill.