UNC Basketball: Grading Hubert Davis’ first 3 months on the job

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 08: Assistant coach Hubert Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies during play at the Dean Smith Center on November 8, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 84-61. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 08: Assistant coach Hubert Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies during play at the Dean Smith Center on November 8, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 84-61. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Hubert Davis was hired as North Carolina’s men’s basketball coach on April 5th. As with most things during this past year, little has been typical and there has been a ton more basketball news in this normally dead time than in past years. Davis has been busy during his first three months on the job, and now seems a good time to reflect and grade his early tenure.

With no games played, the assessment will of course be based on how he presents to the media, UNC basketball fans and, more importantly, results on the recruiting trail.

I was hopeful to get my assessment complete right at the dawn of Davis’ first quarter completion. Thankfully, my hesitation allowed for a couple new developments to manifest and notch up the grade. Let’s begin there.

Will UNC be involved with rising 2024 prospect?. light. Related Story

Davis ran his first official practice on July 8th.

Unless you’re a robot, if you’ve listened to Davis’ speech to the players, then you have to share in his strong emotional connection to what he is doing at Carolina, and how he feels about his players. The poignant moment when he said, “I choose you” to the group of young men was especially powerful. What high school player wouldn’t want to sign for a coach that says that and clearly means it?!

Case in point: The signing of Jalen Washington

A big question in a lot of fans’ minds was how successful Hubert Davis would be recruiting elite talent out of high school? One day after the new head coach’s first practice, he landed his first big-time commitment, 5-star center Jalen Washington of Gary, Indiana. His addition to the class of 2022 is a clear sign that Hubert Davis is hot on the recruiting trail!

Washington is joined by 4-star guard Seth Trimble and 3-star center Will Shaver, both of whom are likely to climb the prospect rankings. All three represent a clear target area for Davis and his staff to recruit high-level talent that is likely to develop in the system for more than one season. Washington is ranked 21st nationally, and fourth at the center position.

We know, of course, that landing talent doesn’t win championships, otherwise the insufferable school in Durham would hang a lot more banners. Nonetheless, fans of UNC basketball have to be pleased with the recent influx of talent.

Targeting and Landing Top Transfers

The commitment of Jalen Washington came just one day after the commitment of the team’s top transfer target Dawson Garcia, a former standout for the Marquette Golden Eagles. Garcia had a terrific freshman season at Marquette, and was the impact player with 24 points and 11 rebounds when the Golden Eagles decimated the Tar Heels in the Dean Dome in February, as Carolina hoped to improve its NCAA Tournament resume last season.

This development boosts Carolina’s ceiling considerably, potentially as a top-10 team and Final Four contender. Garcia adds depth in the interior and possesses Davis’ most desirable trait in players with a 48 percent field goal percentage as a freshmen.

light. Related Story. Projecting UNC's 2021-22 starting lineup

Garcia joins incoming transfer forwards Brady Manek and Justin McKoy, from Oklahoma and Virginia, respectively. The question marks in the front court from a few months ago have been answered by Coach Davis’ prowess in the transfer market.

It remains to be seen how Davis will manage the minutes and execute his game plans against what is sure to be one of the nation’s toughest schedules this season. UNC’s non-conference schedule was announced on Tuesday, and features several preseason top-10 teams including Purdue, UCLA, and Michigan, and potentially Villanova depending on how the Basketball Hall-of-Fame Tip-Off Tournament plays out. Add in two contests with Duke, and its clear that Davis’ first team will be tested prior to tournament time in March.

It’s time for the evaluation.

Overall Grade: A

The recent additions of Marquette transfer Dawson Garcia and 2022 5-star center Jalen Washington boosted Davis grade to almost an A-plus. About the only thing to dock a point from the head coach was his attempt to re-recruit Walker Kessler, who transferred to Auburn. Personally, I think Kessler’s mind was made up for him, and whatever transpired before Davis took over his duties were going to be too difficult to overcome in this situation.

You can add that outgoing transfers Garrison Brooks and Walker Miller who are leaving the program are both taking advantage of their super senior seasons seemed ready to move on from the program.

Nonetheless, there is a lot to be excited about for the upcoming basketball season in Chapel Hill! Coach Davis has proven himself adept at recruiting his own players, targeting top talent in the transfer portal and building that trust quickly. And now he is showing his mettle at landing top high school talent all in player profiles that appear to fit his system perfectly.

Let’s bring home another banner! Go Heels!!

dark. Next. Former UNC basketball player to turn pro

Stick with the Keeping It Heel team for all the latest on the UNC basketball program.