UNC Basketball: Should we be hitting the panic button?

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 28: Head coach Hubert Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches his team play against the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls during their game at the Dean E. Smith Center on October 28, 2022 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 28: Head coach Hubert Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches his team play against the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls during their game at the Dean E. Smith Center on October 28, 2022 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Should we, as UNC basketball fans, be panicking about the 2023-2024 roster and beyond with what is being reported on the recruiting trail?

Following the many transfers that the UNC basketball program experienced following the 2022-2023 season, there has been much skepticism regarding the future of the program.

Hubert Davis entered this off-season with zero open scholarships, however following the departures of Will Shaver, Justin McKoy, Puff Johnson, Tyler Nickel, Dontrez Styles, and Caleb Love, the Tar Heels had six available scholarships.

After filling two of those spots with transfers Jae’lyn Withers and Paxson Wojcik, there are still four open spots remaining. There have been several speculations on other transfers and with the Class of 2023 high school recruits. In the transfer portal, we’ve heard that the UNC basketball program was among the “favorites” for players such as Nick Timberlake and Harrison Ingram early in the process.

It appeared Nick Timberlake was all but a lock for North Carolina a few weeks back. Timberlake had received a 100% crystal ball prediction from 247Sports the night before his official visit to Chapel Hill a few weeks ago. His visit came and went and we saw no commitment from Timberlake. Instead, he scheduled official visits to Kansas and Connecticut and the recruiting camp has been quiet on him.

Carolina was tabbed the favorite to land a commitment from Harrison Ingram as soon as he entered the transfer portal. The Tar Heels finished second in his recruitment out of high school to Stanford just two years ago. Ingram has scheduled in-home visits with Baylor, Texas A&M, and North Carolina and had an official visit to Kansas. Surrounding his official visit with Kansas, Ingram also received two crystal ball predictions for the Jayhawks.

On the recruiting front, Mackenzie Mgbako, the No. 7 ranked player in the class of 2023, de-committed from rival Duke on Tuesday and the Carolina fanbase (and some reports) immediately began clamoring that Hubert Davis and UNC were a favorite for the star power forward. Now after a few days, we are hearing that the favorite is Louisville or the professional ranks and that Carolina may be a longshot to add 2023 signee, Simeon Wilcher’s, high school teammate.

As far as Dalton Knecht, who we were notified early in the transfer portal that UNC had contacted, we haven’t heard anything. His circle has stayed silent on any recruiting news involving the Northern Colorado forward.

So the question becomes… is it time to panic? 

In my opinion, not yet. With the key word here being “yet”. Adding role players such as Withers and Wojcik is important in the process of building depth, which Hubert has said he wants to accomplish.

With that being said, it’s hard to build depth without adding talent to the starting lineup. I feel comfortable saying that the Tar Heels have two legit starters in RJ Davis and Armando Bacot. The case could be made for a third starter in Jalen Washington. However, I’m not certain that the other two starting positions can come from the current roster in place.

It is only mid-April. This isn’t to say that we won’t be hitting the panic button in a couple of weeks if we begin to look around and all of the current targets are committed elsewhere for 2023-2024, but at this moment in time, the UNC basketball fan base needs to take a deep breath and just relax.

There’s still plenty of time left in the transfer portal and the recruiting process. The portal doesn’t even CLOSE for almost another month on May 12. It isn’t comforting to see potential players such as Ingram and Timberlake schedule visits elsewhere.

However, visiting a school doesn’t mean they are committing to them, it just means they are viewing all their options before making a decision. This is something they should do as mature young adults and not make rushed decisions on gut feelings without having all the information presented to them.

Addressing a high school recruit signing such as Brady Dunlap or Mackenzie Mgbako, we are late in the recruiting cycle for 2023. I expect these decisions to be made soon in the next month. Regarding potential reclassification for high school recruits of the 2024 class, such as Elliot Cadeau or Ian Jackson, these need patience. I do not believe we will see any such announcements until late May or early June on anything involving reclassification. From reports at the GEICO Nationals, on the surface, it appeared Cadeau was reclassifying but until we hear that from Cadeau himself, we have to assume he will stay in the 2024 class.

Armando Bacot and RJ Davis have both hinted that good things are coming on their Twitter pages. Let’s just calm down and see where we end up.

I’m a die-hard fan just like you are. We, as Tar Heel fans, expect every single player in the portal or at the high school level to want to come to Chapel Hill and love it just as much as we do. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case, especially in 2023.

Many factors play into what a basketball player looks for in a school, and every situation is different, especially in the day and age of NIL and the transfer portal.

Should we be pushing against Hubert Davis as head coach?


He just finished his full second year as a head coach for the first time ever. He has four open scholarship spots for 2023-2024, let’s give him some time and see how he builds this roster going into the summer.

Next. UNC Basketball: Brady Dunlap down to five schools. dark

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