UNC Basketball: Luke Davis Profile


How do you replace Kendall Marshall? The answer is simple, you can’t. The question shouldn’t be how do you replace a Kousy Award winner that averaged 8.1 ppg and 9.8 apg, it should be what are we going to do in order to help fill the void? Roy Williams lost the best floor general in the country. Marshall may not have been the best player at point guard nationwide, but he certainly was the most important. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anyone run the point in Chapel Hill like him. I think of Ed Cota in terms of having the wherewithal to know where his teammates were on the floor and how to get them in position to score.

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Even with the loss, Roy isn’t coming into the year empty handed. He has an experienced player that can field the position in Dexter Strickland and a pure point guard who ranks number one in his class in high school in that role in Marcus Paige. In my opinion, the Tar Heels entire season hangs in the balance of how well those two kids can run the offense. While that will undoubtedly be fun to watch, my focus lies on a guy not mentioned in many headlines. His name is Luke Davis.

Last year, the Tar Heels were plagued by devastating injuries to both Marshall and Strickland and Roy was forced to hand the keys to his offense to a freshman by the name of Stillman White. White came in on scholarship to UNC having thought that he would just sit and learn his first year while preparing for his mission related to his Mormon faith and then when he returned, he’d step into a more prominent role. That was not the case. Marshall’s injury to his wrist was about as untimely as ever as it occurred right before the Sweet Sixteen. Stillman White’s first collegiate start came three rounds into a tournament that his team was expected to win before the start of the season. Talk about pressure. To his credit, White played two great games of mistake free basketball and unfortunately got out manned by a very talented Kansas squad.

There is no Stillman White this year or next year; only Luke Davis. Most Tar Heel basketball fans are familiar with the name and the face, but do they really know him? For all we know, this kid may have to step up and be the guy to lead this team in tough situations. Obviously, we want everyone to make it through the season completely healthy (UNC certainly is due one of those), but nonetheless, let’s see what we’re working with.

Luke Davis, as we all know, transferred to North Carolina from Gardener-Webb University after his freshman season. During that season, Davis was named to the Big South Conference All-Freshman Team while finishing third in the conference in assists. His stamina and ability to play a large amount of minutes was tested for the Bulldogs by playing a team-high 32.3 minutes per game. That stat is extremely underrated especially given that Roy’s offense is so fast-paced and requires constant motion. Strength and endurance are big time factors there. Davis averaged 7.2 points per game and had 135 assists (freshman record) during that season, but the most impressive stat to me is his ability to not turn over the ball. Luke had more assists than turnovers in 18 games, including 10 of the last 13 games he played. That’s a very Marshall type statistic.

Mark my words, Luke Davis will be an important part of this team this season. Whether it’s putting in three quality minutes a game in order to give Paige and Dex a breather, or whether it’s starting the Sweet Sixteen at point guard, we will know this kid’s name. I hope there is opportunity early on to see Davis play. It should be a fun season watching him mature alongside the other point guards.