Nassir Little in action during the Pangos All-American Camp at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA in June 2016. Brian Rothmuller AP
Nassir Little in action during the Pangos All-American Camp at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA in June 2016. Brian Rothmuller AP

Latest News

Nassir Little, prospect whose family denies ties to basketball scandal, commits to UNC

By Jonathan M. Alexander

jalexander@newsobserver.com

October 04, 2017 06:15 PM

UPDATED October 05, 2017 12:44 PM

Nassir Little, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2018, has committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Little, a 6-7, 205-pound small forward, is ranked No. 9 overall, according to 247sports’ Composite rankings. He chose UNC over Arizona, Duke, Miami and Georgia Tech.

COMMITTED‼️ pic.twitter.com/RdvxLC5WaO

— Nassir Little (@2ez_nassie) October 4, 2017

“North Carolina was my favorite school growing up,” Little told ESPN.com. “I would watch them whenever I could. My dad is from Greenville, N.C., and he always liked the Tar Heels. The program is coming off so much success, and I am excited to play with the other recruits Coby White and Rechon Black.”

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

Little told ESPN.com that he took advice from UNC guard Joel Berry during his visit to UNC. Both played their high school basketball in Florida.

“Joel told me he loves coach (Roy) Williams because he is genuine,” he said. “He truly cares about the players both on and off the court. That means a lot to me.”

Little’s announcement comes a week after media outlets reported that he appeared to be one of the high school prospects involved in a bribery scheme.

Multiple outlets reported last week that Little appeared to be a player cited in FBI documents as being involved in a scandal that led to the indictment of 10 people connected to college basketball, including his AAU coach, Jonathan Brad Augustine.

Augustine, the coach of Little and the 1 Family AAU program in Orlando, is alleged to be part of a scheme to pay players’ families in exchange for those players going to certain universities sponsored by adidas.

Little was not named in the federal indictment, but the Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post, SB Nation and other media outlets have reported that Little appears to be the player referred to in the FBI documents who was offered money for his commitment to the University of Miami.

The 1 Family AAU program emphatically denied those allegations in a tweet last week.

Here's how the NCAA basketball bribery schemes worked

After two years undercover, the FBI found members of top NCAA basketball programs involved in corrupt bribery schemes. Here's how those schemes worked.

Patrick Gleason and Eric Garland

“The Little family did not ask for, nor were offered money by any institution or individual,” the tweet read. “They were completely unaware of any of the alleged offenses that may have been mentioned or contained their son’s name. There is not one single player in our program, nor family member of any player, that had any knowledge or discussion about payments being made in regards to making a college decision.”

Little’s father, Harold Little, and mother, April Little, also defended their son on Twitter.

“(Arizona head coach) Sean Miller did not offer Nassir any Money,” Harold Little tweeted. “Please stop promoting that false narrative...please!”

“I hate what people are saying about our baby @2ez_nassie,” April Little tweeted. “It’s not true. YOU tarnished our baby’s name. Unforgivable.”

Little is the first top-10 recruit UNC has landed since Justin Jackson in 2014. He is the third recruit in the 2018 recruiting class to commit to North Carolina.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander