Tyrone Outlaw wasn't the most high-profile Class of 2013 prospect to select a college this past weekend, but the 6-foot-6 Roxboro, N.C., native's choice may be the most impactful for his future program.
Outlaw committed to UNC Greensboro on Saturday, a significant addition for a Spartans program hoping to get back into the contention in the Southern Conference under second-year coach Wes Miller. Not only did Outlaw hold scholarship offers from the likes of Ole Miss, St. Bonaventure and George Washington, he had also received interest from the likes of Duke, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.
"Wake, NC State, Duke and North Carolina have all shown interest to some degree, but he didn't really want to be a backup plan," said Charles Dacus, Outlaw's coach at Person High School. "He's seen kids that have gone to some of those schools as a second or third option and they wind up sitting on the bench for two, three or even four years. He just wants to be somewhere he can play right away and somewhere he can win. He thinks UNC Greensboro is somewhere he can do that."
It's a testament to Miller and his staff that UNC Greensboro was able to nab Outlaw early while some of the big-name schools were still figuring out whether he was worth offering a scholarship or not.
Outlaw averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds per game as a junior, leading Person High School to a 22-6 record and an appearance in the sectional finals of the state playoffs. He is the second in-state product to commit to Miller from the 2013 class, joining perimeter shooter Clay Byrd.
What sold Outlaw on UNC Greensboro over some of the other schools that offered him was the package of academic and athletic opportunities offered. He likes the fact that UNC Greensboro has strong science programs and he sees basketball at the school being on the ascent under Miller.
"He just thinks UNC Greensboro is set up for everything he wants," Dacus said. "He's a high academic kid and he wants to do something in the medical science field. Their kinesiology program is ranked 15th in the nation and their basketball program is on the rise. They're going to be built to win his freshman year. He just fell in love with the program and that's what he chose."
Outlaw is a late bloomer whose sporadic defensive effort may have scared some of the in-state ACC powers off, but his ability to attack the rim and score in transition make him an ideal fit for Miller's fast-paced system at UNC Greensboro. He'll have an opportunity to play one year alongside rising junior Trevis Simpson during the 2013-14 season before potentially inheriting the role of go-to scorer from him.
When UNC Greensboro removed the interim tag from Miller this spring and tabbed him with the responsibility of rebuilding a struggling program, the Spartans were hoping that his energy and charisma would make up for his lack of head coaching experience. Between his better-than-expected on-court success last year and his strong start in recruiting this offseason, so far that gamble appears to be paying off.