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The Next Step: UNC-Wilmington Seahawks
by Brian Flinn, Future150 (1:45 PM CT, Thu March 17, 2016)
Fornes will help to replace Craig Ponder next year
Fornes will help to replace Craig Ponder next year
Brian Flinn
Brian Flinn:

Future150 National Recruiting Analyst. Covering high school basketball nationally.

Wilmington, NC (Future150) -- The Big Dance is finally here and while everyone would like to cut down the nets, there can only be one champion. That being said, there is always the chance that the next season could be better than the last. With that in mind, Future150 would like to introduce "The Next Step", a segment dedicated to breaking down each program's recruiting class as they bow out of the tournament; because there's always next season.

Next up is UNC-Wilmington. The Seahawks gave Duke a bit of a scare, leading 43-40 at the end of the half. The Blue Devils ultimately exerted their will in the second half, holding on for the win. Still, it's hard not to see upside in the Seahawks program. Kevin Keatts is one of the rising stars in the coaching ranks, and a majority of their core returns next season. 

Losing guard Craig Ponder will certainly hurt, as he averaged 11 points and 2.3 assists on the season. Keatts has done a great job on the recruiting trail though, as he brings in Jaylen Fornes. A sharp-shooting combo-guard, Fornes will be ready to contribute from day one. He can play point guard in certain situations, but will likely be used off the ball as long as Denzel Ingram and Jordon Talley are on the roster. 

Joining Fornes is Future150 Alum, Matt Elmore. The 6-foot-9, 225 pound forward will be physically ready for the CAA and isn't afraid to bang down low. Elmore will be a suitable replacement to Dylan Sherwood and could carve out a niche in year one thanks to his blue-collar work ethic. 

One more thing that Seahawk fans should look forward to is the addition of transfer JaQuel Richmond, a speedy point guard prospect who can get into the lane seemingly at will. With a talented core returning and Keatts at the helm, the Seahawks should be the class of the CAA again next season. 


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