The Tar Heels identified Berry early on, first contacting the 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect last April and visiting his school. The UNC staff watched him closely on the spring and summer travel circuit as his stock soared. By the end of the circuit, Berry was ranked the No. 15 prospect in the country in the 2014 class and had received a scholarship offer from Roy Williams.
"There was nothing this summer that could be done to keep Berry out of the lane - where he went right to the rim using his strength and athleticism, and finished or drew contact seemingly every time - and then for good measure he was hitting step back jumpers as well," Scout.com's Brian Snow said of the point guard's stellar summer. "Berry knows how to get to the foul line, and has enough floor vision to also make good passes on the move."
From there UNC put on the full court press. Roy Williams traveled to Lake Highland HS in December, for a lengthy meeting with Berry, and secured Berry's first official visit.
This past weekend Berry made the official visit to Chapel Hill. From touring the campus, spending time on Franklin Street, hanging out with Paige and the rest of the team, sitting courtside for UNC's win over Maryland -- which included the student section chanting his name, and breakfast with Roy Williams on Sunday, the visit sealed the deal.
"I've always wanted to go there," the Orlando (Fla.) Lake Highland junior point guard told InsideCarolina.com.
Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Miami, Ohio State and others had offered and were involved.
Berry became the first sophomore ever to be named Mr. Basketball in Florida, after averageing 23.4 points and leading Lake Highland to its first appearance in a state championship game. This season, Berry missed five games due to a knee injury, but his team is undefeated in games he's played. He is averaging 27.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the No. 1 ranked 4A team in the state.
"His size, strength, shot making, and point guard skills clearly put him up there with the nation's best," Snow said.
Joel Berry Profile