Sunday, January 13, 2008

Breaking News: Dexter Strickland Chooses North Carolina

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The rich got richer on Sunday, as St. Patrick (N.J.) guard Dexter Strickland, one of the nation's top-ranked juniors, announced his decision to attend No. 1 North Carolina.

"It was a great fit for me," Strickland said after St. Pat's defeated St. Raymond's (N.Y.) in the Nike Super Six at Madison Square Garden. "There was just something special about North Carolina. I felt like it was home."

The 6-3, 180-pound Strickland, who chose the Tar Heels over Michigan State and Florida, finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals in the win. He is ranked as the top point guard in the class of 2009 by and No. 3 point guard (No. 16 player overall) by

Strickland said he made his decision and informed North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, who was in attendance at today's game, that he was headed to Chapel Hill about a week ago. "One of the biggest things was the relationship I had with the coaches," he said. "I also think I can learn under their system."

He also said that the fact Williams was at the game didn't affect the way he played. "There was no extra pressure," Strickland said. "I just tried to stay focused and play my game."

Strickland is the fourth five-star junior to commit to the Tar Heels, joining three big men: 6-9 twins David and Travis Wear, and 6-10 John Henson. Sophomores Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall have committed to UNC. "The big guys are 6-9, 6-10, so that will be good for us," Strickland said. "I think we'll have a pretty good team."

St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle supported Strickland's decision. "Dexter has become a real team player," Boyle said. "I think our team really plays unselfish, and I think North Carolina plays that way. I think they play the right way."

With his college decision out of the way, Strickland said he does not regret announcing his intentions early and is looking forward to the rest of the season without it looming over his head. "I think I've been to enough schools to pick out the right one, so I don't regret my decision at all," he said.

"Some of the pressure will be off me."

March Madness All Season's Jeff Borzello will have more coverage of the Nike Super Six over at Big East Basketball Report.

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