UNC Basketball: How does Dawson Garcia impact the Tar Heels?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 24: Dawson Garcia #33 of Marquette takes a throw-in during a game between Marquette and North Carolina at Dean E. Smith Center on February 24, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 24: Dawson Garcia #33 of Marquette takes a throw-in during a game between Marquette and North Carolina at Dean E. Smith Center on February 24, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

The UNC basketball program has landed another transfer in forward Dawson Garcia. How will Garcia impact the Tar Heels moving forward?

Back in 2019, the UNC basketball program, then led by former head coach Roy Williams, made an official offer to four-star forward forward Dawson Garcia. The Prior Lake, Minnesota native was coming off an impressive showing at the 2019 NBPA Camp, where the Tar Heels’ coaching staff identified him as a possible impact player for their program.

Hubert Davis, an assistant for Williams at the time, became the lead recruiter for Garcia. It’s very likely that the two created a good relationship during the talented forward’s original recruitment process, but the stars didn’t align for Garcia to make his way to Chapel Hill.

Once Walker Kessler committed to North Carolina, the traction in the Tar Heels’ pursuit of Garcia seemed to die down. Ultimately, Garcia decided to commit to Marquette, where he would play out his freshman season.

In a regular season battle in Chapel Hill, Garcia got the chance to show the Tar Heels what they missed out on. Over 37 minutes of action, Garcia led Marquette to an 83-70 victory as he recorded a double-double, scoring 24 points while hauling in 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 forward also shot the basketball efficiently, as he knocked in nine of his 13 shots, while making all five of his free throw attempts.

Garcia had an impressive freshman season, as he averaged 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per-contest. He shot 48 percent from the floor, and knocked down 35.6 percent of his three-point field goal attempts.

After the season, Garcia decided to go through the NBA Draft process. With the new transfer rule in place, Garcia also opted to enter the transfer portal, where he would look for a new home if he decided to continue his collegiate career. Luckily for the Tar Heels, Garcia has decided to return to the college ranks, and will finally join the Tar Heel family.

Garcia officially announced his commitment to the University of North Carolina on Thursday morning. This is a huge transfer addition for Davis, as he takes over in his first season as the program’s head coach.

Now that it’s official, how will Garcia impact the North Carolina basketball program moving forward?

For starters, Garcia will help replenish some of the front court depth that the Tar Heels lost from last year’s squad. Although Davis and his staff were able to haul in Brady Manek and Justin McKoy via the transfer portal, the Tar Heels were still in need of at least one more big man to help provide depth.

Additionally, Garcia fits the mold of the type of player that the Tar Heels have traditionally liked to use at the forward position. With the ability to space the floor and shoot the basketball at a high level, Garcia will add another scoring threat to the mix.

The Tar Heels needed to add shooters, especially after the last two seasons of offensive struggles. With some key additions, combined with some of the team’s returning standout scorers, North Carolina should have no problem spacing the floor better and finding better shots on their offensive possessions.

It will be interesting to see what Davis’ starting lineup will look like. Given the team’s struggles to get going offensively early in games over the last two seasons, it’s very possible that the Tar Heels will elect to find a way to get their best five scorers on the floor to begin the contest.

Armando Bacot, Caleb Love and Kerwin Walton should most definitely be included in the mix, as all three are returning starters from a year ago. Is it a possibility that Leaky Black will be asked to come off the bench to allow Davis to start both Garcia and Manek?

Needless to say, it’s great that the Tar Heels have options to consider!

Viewed as one of the top transfers in the country, Garcia should have a major impact for the UNC basketball program right away. Although the roster is completely different from a year ago, both on the coaching and players side of things, there should be a lot of anticipation and excitement to see this year’s squad take the floor.

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