Help is on the way for North Carolina’s women’s basketball team. In their second year under head coach Courtney Banghart, the Tar Heels finished with a disappointing 13-11 record and were bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Alabama. However, the future appears to be bright as all four members of UNC’s 2021 recruiting class have been placed on the Jordan Brand Classic roster. Sharing the honor are wings Destiny Adams and Teonni Key and guards Kayla McPherson and Morasha Wiggins.
UNC and Connecticut are the only programs to place four players each on the team.
“I’m so enormously proud of Destiny, Teonni, Kayla, and Morasha for being selected to the Jordan Brand All American game,” Banghart said. “This is entirely a merit-based opportunity, which only 30 players nation-wide have earned. All four of these special people have had brilliant high school and club careers and we are grateful to have them represent both North Carolina and the Jordan Brand! The entire Tar Heel family is eager to have Des, Teonni, Kayla, and Mo in Carolina blue very soon.”
— Carolina Women’s Basketball (@uncwbb) May 23, 2021
The Tar Heels’ class is composed of four top-20 players in Key (No. 9), McPherson (No. 17), Wiggins (No. 18), and Adams (No. 20). The class ranks No. 2 in the nation, according to ESPN, and gives the Tar Heels their first top-five finish in the recruiting rankings since 2013.
Banghart’s first class (2019) at Carolina was ranked No. 10 in the nation. The Tar Heels had not signed a top 20 class since 2016.
Key has the potential to be an instant impact player when she arrives in Carmichael Arena. As a junior at Cary High School, the 6-foot-3 wing averaged 20.6 points and 13.6 rebounds per game and notched four 20-point, 20-rebound games.
“Teonni is one of the premier players in the state of North Carolina,” Banghart said on signing day. “She has great versatility on the both sides of the ball. At 6-foot-3, she offers great length at the wing position and tremendous skill as a face-up forward. Her range extends to the arc and she can attack off the dribble. She can defend multiple positions, is an elite shot-blocker, and can help us play fast by igniting the break straight from a defensive rebound. The sky is the limit for Teonni and we look forward to adding one of the best players not only in the state, but in the country as well, to our team.”
McPherson was the Peach State’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019. As a sophomore, the 5-foot-7 floor general averaged 23.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.5 steals per game while leading the Madison County Red Raiders (25-3) to the second round of the Class AAAA state tournament. Building off her stellar sophomore campaign, McPherson put up ridiculous numbers as a junior this past season. Playing in 22 games, she averaged a nation-best 36.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 6.0 steals per game en route to Athens Banner-Herald girls basketball player of the year and overall Female Player of the Year honors.
“Kayla is an explosive lead guard who will help us play fast as a team,” Banghart said. “She is a dynamic offensive threat from all three levels and is relentless in her attack on both ends of the floor. She is great off the dribble, she has deep range, and she can both create her own shot and create for others. Kayla plays with extreme physicality, will defend her position over 94 feet, and will make everyone around her better. She’s one of the premier guards in the 2021 class and we look forward to adding her fearlessness and competitiveness to our team.”
Adams, UNC’s first commitment in the class of 2021, averaged a double-double as a junior with a stat line of 18.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game. Playing for New Jersey’s Manchester Township High School, she was able to lead her team to the state championship game before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite her lengthy 6-foot-3 frame, Adams has shown the ability to knock down shots from behind the arc. As a sophomore, she was able to put in 47 threes while primarily playing in the post.
“Destiny is a winner,” Banghart said. “She has proven to be a consistent double-double threat and will bring a high level of toughness to our team. She is one of the most elite rebounders in this class. She will go and get it out of her area, and will help push pace with and without the ball on a change of direction. Already a great athlete, Destiny is incredibly versatile. She can attack with her back to the basket and from the perimeter, and will defend multiple positions at an elite level. She is a great teammate and will be an important addition to this team.”
Joining McPherson in the 2021 backcourt is Wiggins, who, despite suffering a torn ACL in the middle of her junior year, has maintained a high evaluation grade. As a sophomore for Michigan’s Kalamazoo Central high school, the future Tar Heel averaged 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three blocks per game. Wiggins’s ability to contribute in a variety of ways helped her earn recognition with an AP Second-Team Division I All-State nod in 2019.
“Morasha is an elite-level wing and a premier two-way player,” Banghart said. “She can score at all three levels and her ability to stretch the floor will be a great addition to this team. She can shoot with range, is dynamic in 1 v 1 settings, and finishes well around the rim. She will rebound from her position and is plug-in ready defensively. Like her classmates, Morasha is a great athlete and incredibly versatile on both ends of the floor. She is a gym rat with unlimited potential and we are so glad that she’s a Tar Heel.”
The Jordan Brand Classic game will not take place for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a full list of the 2021 Jordan Brand Classic roster, click here.