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What Kennedy Meeks, UNC's Best Player Tonight, Looked Like In High School

Kennedy Meeks in the high school McDonald's All American Game.

The Tar Heels' big man has completely changed his body for the better.

North Carolina's best player in tonight's Final Four game against Oregon has been Kennedy Meeks. The senior forward has been dominating the Ducks in the paint and on the glass. At 6-foot-10, 260 pounds, he's simply been too much for Dana Altman's front line.

Five minutes into the second half, Meeks had already totaled a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Meeks was a big recruit of out high school - both literally and physically. Too big, really. The four-star center arrived in Chapel Hill weighing more than 300 pounds.

He looked like this:

Now, he's flying through the lane, doing things like this on college basketball's biggest stage:

Meeks is down to about 260 pounds, 50 pounds lighter than he was when he arrived at North Carolina.

He spoke to USA TODAY a couple of seasons ago about the transformation he had to put his body through.

"This time last year, he was probably the worst-conditioned guy I have ever seen," said Jonas Sahratian, UNC men's basketball's strength and conditioning coordinator. "Horrible shape. Couldn't do a lot. Would just give in. Couldn't do hardly anything."

Meeks had spent his whole life to that point practicing poor eating habits, but still playing good basketball. He was confused and hurt by the chatter he kept hearing around him, all of it centered on a number on the scale.

"It used to really bother me," Meeks said. "I used to think, 'Is that all it's about? Is my weight all it's about? I'm still a basketball player.' After awhile, it was something I was used to. OK, I'll answer it.

"That's something I don't really worry about now. I'm where I want to be in terms of my weight."

Meeks is now about 12 minutes away from sending North Carolina to the national title game for the second straight year.

UNC leads Oregon, 56-49, with 12:10 to play. The game is being televised on CBS.