Hubert Davis looks to revamp UNC basketball after a few less than stellar seasons in Chapel Hill.
Roy Williams announced his retirement this summer and it allowed Hubert Davis to come in and give his hand at coaching the storied UNC basketball program.
Davis is a player’s coach and must be respected by how the Tar Heels retained many players from Williams’ regime. He also landed two big-time transfers in Dawson Garcia and Brady Manek, both of whom will play big roles for North Carolina this season.
Caleb Love is also back, giving UNC some of the best star power in the ACC.
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PG: RJ Davis (6-0, 160, So.)
2021 stats: 8.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 32.3 3P%
Projected stats: 9.9 points, 3.6 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 34.2 3P%
SG: Caleb Love (6-4, 195, So.)
2021 stats: 10.5 points, 3.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 26.6 3P%
Projected stats: 14.6 points, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 33.1 3P%
SF: Leaky Black (6-8, 200, Sr.)
2021 stats: 5.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals
Projected stats: 5.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals
PF: Dawson Garcia (6-11, 235, So.)
2021 stats: 13.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 35.6 3P% (Marquette)
Projected stats: 15.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 38.2 3P%
C: Armando Bacot (6-10, 240, Jr.)
2021 stats: 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 62.8 FG%
Projected stats: 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 61.0 FG%
6: Brady Manek (6-9, 230, Gr.-Sr.)
2021 stats: 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 blocks, 37.5 3P% (Oklahoma)
Projected stats: 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 blocks, 36.4 3P%
7: Kerwin Walton (6-5, 210, So.)
2021 stats: 8.2 points, 1.8 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 42.0 3P%
Projected stats: 10.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 39.7 3p%
8: Anthony Harris (6-4, 195, Rs.-So.)
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) January 17, 2021
2021 stats: 3.2 points, 1.3 assists, 1.0 rebounds
Projected stats: 4.5 points, 2.5 assists, 1.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals
9: Justin McKoy (6-8, 220, Jr.)
2021 stats: 3.5 points, 3.3 rebounds (Virginia)
Projected stats: 2.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.6 blocks
10: Dontrez Styles (6-6, 210, Fr.)
247Sports #65 overall rated recruit
Projected stats: 2.5 points, 1.6 rebounds
11: D’Marco Dunn (6-4, 185, Fr.)
247Sports #67 overall rated recruit
Projected stats: 1.9 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Team MVP: Dawson Garcia
While most people might go with Caleb Love, I’m choosing the Marquette transfer as the Heels’ top guy. Garcia was a freshman standout who thrived in the Big East and now will get to play alongside a stud center in Armando Bacot. Having Love in the backcourt will also give Garcia endless chances to get free on the perimeter, where the 6-foot-11 forward can incite a lot of damage.
Garcia will get to battle against former teammate Theo John who transferred to Duke, so the rivalry between UNC basketball and the Blue Devils will heat up even more. It’s just impossible to ignore how well he played in year one with the Golden Eagles and what he can bring to the table with North Carolina – especially after how he torched them last December.
Make or Break Player: Anthony Harris
Manek and Walton will be able to handle to scoring off the bench but Harris looks like the only solid option to come in and handle point guard duties when Love and Davis come off the court.
Having three point guards is a benefit for Hubert Davis but being able to get solid minutes off the bench from Harris will give the Heels the comfort that is needed on a bench that is primarily wings and big men. Harris was good last season but he’ll need to be better to really strengthen the UNC basketball second unit.
Bench Rating: 9.5/10
You need to have the perfect bench to earn a perfect rating but UNC basketball is about as close as it gets.
Manek’s stats may have gone down at Oklahoma last season but college basketball fans know how good of a scorer he can be. The Heels are already loaded with guys that can put the ball in the basket and Manek is surely one of the top-tier guys for them. Walton isn’t too shabby either and both him and Manek could close games out in favor of Black, especially when points are needed to come back. Walton could be the breakout performer for Carolina.
As mentioned before, Harris will need to step up but he’s proven enough to be able to hold down 15 to 20 minutes per game. McKoy comes over from Virginia, so we know his defense and rebounding will be able to compliment a highly efficient offensive team.
A few other underclassmen might get the nod from time to time, but those first four off the bench could be starting elsewhere. The Tar Heels have just about everything they can ask for from players six through nine.
Analytic to Know: PPSC
Last season UNC basketball ranked second in the country in potential quick points off second-chance offensive rebounds per 100 trips upcourt. This might be a very strict analytic but it is important for how the Heels play. Black, Garcia and Bacot give them three extremely solid rebounders. Manek and McKoy will also help in that department as the Tar Heels look to use their size once again this size.
UNC basketball hasn’t exactly lived up to preseason expectations over the past couple of seasons, but this year, the experience will come into hand. The switch from Williams to Davis as head coach should also change whatever edge may have been lost as the Tar Heels look to stay atop the ACC.
The Tar Heels have all the parts to be a legit contender to win the @theACC / They have a strong inside/ outside package @UNC_Basketball will come up big in HUBERT DAVIS 1st year as the leader of the prestigious UNC program . https://t.co/zstKaUfJZw
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) October 25, 2021
Love, Garcia and Bacot will be a tough ‘Big 3’ to stop and they’re surrounded by other veterans like Manek and Black that know their roles and have seen just about everything there is to see in college basketball.
The ACC is also wide open this year, so I expect North Carolina hoops to go out there and play for that title. No team has a clear-cut path in the conference and the Tar Heels have just as good a team as the next to finish in first.