UNC Basketball: Cormac Ryan defends teammates in postgame media conference

The veteran transfer had some strong words regarding his teammates following the UNC basketball program's loss to Alabama in the Sweet 16.

Mar 28, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Mark Sears (1) shoots against North
Mar 28, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Mark Sears (1) shoots against North / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The UNC basketball program suffered a heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night, ending a season to remember for the Tar Heels.

Cormac Ryan played in his final collegiate game on Thursday night, finishing with 17 points to go along with five rebounds. The same can't be said for RJ Davis, as the All-American struggled to find a groove while knocking down just four of his 20 shot attempts.

Following the game, Ryan, along with Davis and Armando Bacot, met with the media. Davis was asked by a reporter about his rough outing, as the senior was at a loss of words on the podium.

This is where Ryan chimed in to defend his teammates:

"I've got to chime in here. You guys can write whatever you want about tonight's game. You could talk about RJ you could talk about the stats. You could talk about whatever. We would not be in this position today without RJ Davis and Armando Bacot. Carolina wouldn't be in this position today without these two guys.

And so say what you want, there's just not a true fiber in your being that could actually believe that anything that happened tonight could be the result of something RJ did wrong, because RJ's done something incredible for this team. He's done stuff that's never been done before. He's one of the greatest Tar Heels of all time. And for anybody to come and say anything negative about RJ is unacceptable, and I'm just going to say that."

Cormac Ryan is absolutely right. Sure, it wasn't RJ Davis' night by any means, but he's been a dominant force for the previous 36 games the Tar Heels played this season. The UNC basketball program doesn't get this far without Davis or Bacot, as Ryan's statement reminded us.

It shows the type of leadership Ryan brought to Chapel Hill during his short stint with the program. His addition was a huge one, both on and off the court.

As we look at next year's roster, sure, filling the voids of Bacot and potentially Davis will be big. However, the Tar Heels have big shoes to fill with Ryan exhausting his eligibility, as it's hard to find players who can bring what he brings to the table.

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