Shortly after UNC hired Hubert Davis as Carolina’s new basketball coach, Davis spent the majority of his spring and summer at various scouting players, while finalizing his staff. During that time, Davis came across Tyler Nickel, a sharpshooting wing from the state of Virginia, and after seeing Nickel score 36 points, while making 4-8 three-pointers, Davis has been recruiting him ever since. Nickel is currently ranked as the No. 75 player in the 2022 cycle while being the No. 22 small forward, and the No. 2 player from Virginia, all according to 247Sports. When Davis finalized his staff of Sean May, Jeff Lebo, Brad Frederick, Jackie Manuel, and Pat Sullivan, he emphasized the importance of getting Nickel to Chapel Hill, as since the departure of Cam Johnson, Carolina has lacked a big-time player on the wing. That aggressiveness made an impact on Nickel, who has been recruited by other schools for a longer time than by UNC, as he listed the Tar Heels in his top 5 schools not long ago. After visiting Virginia Tech the first weekend of September, and UNC this past weekend, Nickel is ready to make his decision, virtually eliminating LSU, Butler, and Iowa from his recruitment.
UNC has to feel good about tier chances of landing Nickel going into tomorrow, as Nickel was on their campus last, and a priority for him is developing his game to one day play in the NBA. While Virginia Tech has produced NBA talent in the past, and Mike Young is a quality coach in the ACC, even with a new head coach, the Hokies can’t compete with Carolina’s NBA pedigree. Add in the addition of Pat Sullivan to the staff, who has spent the last 18 years in the NBA, makes it easy to believe Nickel will be wearing Carolina Blue. Nonetheless, the pull to stay in-state and play for Virginia Tech is legitimate, and 247Sports does have two crystal balls with him residing in Blacksburg as opposed to Chapel Hill.
The 2022 class is already shaping up nicely for Hubert Davis, as he’s already secured commitments from five-star Jalen Washington, convinced Seth Trimble to commit after being considered a lock for Michigan, and landed Will Shaver who will reclassify and join the Tar Heels in January. The missing piece to the class though is the game-changing wing player that they are hoping to get in Nickel. In addition to the recruitment of Nickel, UNC is in a contested battle with another dynamic wing, Cam Whitmore who is considering UNC, Villanova, and Illinois. A potential commitment of Nickel would give Davis the nod in recruitment involving an ACC school, after missing out on Justin Taylor to Syracuse and being eliminated from Jaden Bradley’s recruiting process.
Nickel will announce his decision tomorrow at 2:45 PM. Make sure to stay tuned to the Heel Tough Blog, as we will have coverage following his announcement. Also, check out The Four Corners Podcast episode below where we covered all the latest on the recruiting earlier this month.
The Four Corners Podcast: