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Heel Tough Blog: Caleb Love Enters Transfer Portal

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As expected, Caleb Love has officially admitted entered the transfer portal, after three seasons in Chapel Hill, leading the Tar Heels to the national championship game last season. After losing to Kansas in the final, Love returned with other starters from last year, to try and cut down the nets and win a national championship. Instead, Carolina went 20-13, suffered through multiple four-game losing steaks, and became the first-ever team to start the season #1 and miss out on the Big Dance since the tournament expanded to 64 teams back in 1985.

Love arrived in Carolina, as a five-star prospect, set to be the next quart point guard at Carolina. Upon his arrival, the country, and the sports world, was navigating a global pandemic, that saw him play in empty gyms, and miss out on the normal college basketball experience. After being part of the only team that lost in the first round in the NCAA Tournament coached by Roy Williams, Love saw his Hall of Fame head coach, retire, as the ever-changing world of college athletics single handily forced the coach out of the sport. In comes, Hubert Davis, whose new offense was supposed to let his guards thrive, and while that eventually happened, it didn’t happen right away, and after a loss at Notre Dame, Love admitted to not playing hard in the first half. As the team entered the regular season finale at Duke, needing a win to make the NCAA Tournament, Love engineered an all-time upset of Duke, sending Coach K out with one final loss to North Carolina, in historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. Once Carolina got into the tournament, Love turned his game up a notch, leading Carolina to the Final Four, with late-game heroics against UCLA in the Sweet 16. In the Final Four, Love hit arguably the biggest shot in the history of Duke rivalry, as Carolina retired Coach K for good, and earned a spot in the national championship game, where they ultimately lost to Kansas.

Caleb Love is going to have as complex a legacy as any Tar Heel to ever come through the basketball program. You can’t have the run to the 2022 national title game without him, but his senior season was as big a letdown for any individual player or team in recent memory. Add in rumors off the court involving drama with teammates, and the disconnect that clearly existed this season, can be attributed to Love, just not being a fit on or off the floor, despite the basketball talent he possesses. For his career, Love averaged 14.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, on 36% shooting from the field, and 32% shooting from behind the arc. He also earned All-ACC freshman honors, NCAA All-Region, and NCAA All-Tourney honors for his efforts in the 2022 tournament.

This decision was an expected one, and Carolina has been preparing for his exit by already expressing interest in multiple transfers in Nick Timberlake from Towson, and Paxson Wojcik from Brown, as both will have completed their official visits to Chapel Hill by the end of tomorrow. With R.J. Davis already announcing his decision to return, the UNC backcourt will consist of the aforementioned Davis, rising junior D’Marco Dunn, sophomore Seth Trimble, and incoming five-star freshman Simeon Wilcher.

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