Hubert Davis' start at North Carolina has him headed down a path to potential greatness

Hubert Davis’ start at North Carolina has him headed down a path to potential greatness



wednesday afternoon Hubert Davis and North Carolina had a major score on the recruiting trail when five-star junior GG Jackson selected the Tar Heels. His addition gives them the second-ranked recruiting class in 2023 as Davis and his staff prove they’re up to the challenge of recruiting at the level supporters of the program have come to expect.

Success on the recruiting trail is great. Keeping a program flush with talent is vitally important to success and winning titles. But there’s a good chance that we are at the beginning of something much bigger than establishing himself as an ace recruiter when it comes to Hubert Davis and what he’s doing in Chapel Hill.

Over the last year, college basketball has seen some of its greatest coaches leave the game. Davis replaced a legend in Roy Williams. Mike Krzyzewski is done at Duke and Jay Wright recently stepped down at Villanova. Change at the top of the college coaching food chain is afoot.

Yes, there are still some Hall-of-Famers with titles left in the college game like Bill Self at Kansas, John Calipari at Kentucky, Tom Izzo at Michigan State and Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. The game is changing, though, and the old guard is on the way out while the new guard led by the likes of Scott Drew at Baylor and Tony Bennett at Virginia are establishing themselves.

As the college basketball world wonders who will emerge to help lead the next great crop of coaches, we should start asking why Davis shouldn’t be near or at the top of the list?

No amount of ‘whatabout’ism’ can change the fact that Davis did lead the Tar Heels to a title game in Year 1 and that as of today an already great program is in better shape than the day he was named coach. And while Davis won with “Roy William’s players,” it’s not like he didn’t recruit those guys to Chapel Hill. And it isn’t like Davis got his first shot to coach at the easiest of times.

Following a legend is never easy to do. It’s one of the hardest things in all of sports. To do so in a bold new era of Name Image and Likeness, the transfer portal and unrealistic players who bolt for the NBA too early makes it exceedingly tough to do so. Not every button that has been pushed has been the right one but just over a year in, Davis has been able to handle pretty much everything that has been thrown at him and he’s done so with grace and humility.

Getting a player to withdraw from the NBA Draft a single time, no matter what the NBA tells them to do, is always difficult. To get players like Armando Bacot and Caleb Love to come back twice, well that’s dang near unheard of. Those guys will be college basketball stars next season.

Davis doesn’t look like he’ll need to do much in the portal this season, but he proved that he knows what’s up last year with the addition of Brady Manek. Without the Oklahoma transfer’s clutch jump shooting in the NCAA Tournament, the Tar heels don’t make the run they do and at the end of the day it’s Davis who decided Manek was a must-have.

Things like NIL are hard to quantify when records of what players are getting and who they are getting it from aren’t readily available. However, word among the college coaching ranks is that Carolina is navigating the NIL waters quite well. Again, another feather in Davis’ cap.

Because of the talent coming back and the arrival of a top 15 recruiting class from the class of 2022, expectations for Davis and the Heels are going to be sky-high next season. They will be among the preseason favorites to win the title and Bacot could be a preseason National Player of the Year pick.

The fun’s just getting started.

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