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Heel Tough Blog: Hubert Davis Press Conference Takeaways- 7/20

For the first time this summer, Tar Heel basketball head coach Hubert Davis sat down with the media. After a wild offseason of roster turnover and questions about the state of the program, he was able to finally sit down and tell everyone where things stand as we come down the stretch of the offseason. Here is a look at our biggest takeaways from what the third year head coach had to say.

New Changes By NCAA Allowing For Two Additional Coaches

The biggest piece of news to come out of the day was that the Tar Heels will have two additional coaches on the court this season. This move will allow for them to work on the court with players, including in an individual capacity. Pat Sullivan and Marcus Paige, who joined the coaching staff earlier in the offseason, will assume those roles for the team this year.

Cormac Ryan is Not Just a Scorer

It’s no secret that the Tar Heels were most attracted to what Cormac Ryan does on the offensive end of the floor, but as Davis explained on Thursday, he brings much more to the table than that. He pointed to his leadership as the element that he didn’t know a lot about but has discovered since his arrival to campus. Davis said that he has been a vocal leader in the locker room and on the court and has a sense of urgency with this being his final season that this team needs. He also acknowledged what Ryan brings as a defender, something that is extremely valuable for a team that needs new stars to emerge on that end of the floor this offseason. With his combination of leadership and defensive impact, he could go a long way toward replacing what was left behind by the graduation of Leaky Black. 

Jae’Lyn Withers Brings a Lot of Versatility

Davis said that Withers was the one guy the last couple of years that he was worried about when playing Louisville because of just how versatile he is. He mentioned Withers's ability to score the basketball at all three levels, something we’ve talked about a lot on the Four Corner Podcast this offseason since his commitment. He is also very complimentary of what he brings to the table on the defensive end, saying he can guard 1 to 5, exactly what Leaky Black able to do for this team the past couple of years. We don’t know what the starting lineup is going to look like just yet, but expect Withers to have a major impact on this team this season.

Harrison Ingram Can Play a Variety of Different Positions

Withers isn’t the only player that brings a lot of versatility with him to Chapel Hill. Davis raved about all of the different things that Ingram can do and the fact that he can play a number of different positions. “He can handle the ball, he can pass, he can shoot. He can post up. He’s really physical and can defend, whether it’s in the post or out on the perimeter”. Davis expressed his excitement over what Ingram was able to do in his time at Stanford and with less of the attention on him with the player he is surrounded with in Chapel Hill, that production should only increase.

Shooting and Ball Movement Already Showing Major Signs of Improvement

When asked about where this team may be better this season with the retooled roster, Davis said there are two areas where they are already seeing those marked improvements. He said that he likes the way the team has shot the ball and moved the ball so far in their summer practices, two areas that the team struggle mightily in a year ago. It is still early and we’ll need to see this translated when it matters, but this is exactly what we were hoping to hear with the newcomers that are a part of this roster.

Chemistry Has Been Built Early

Davis talked about just how disappointed he was with what happened last year and a big part of the issues for the 2022-23 squad was the lack of chemistry on and off the court. That doesn’t seem to be an issue with this group. Davis said that this group has bonded very quickly and the personalities are meshing the way they should be. “In the locker room and out there on the floor, the chemistry is there, and I really like it. And there’s a desire to be good from different directions.” He credits RJ Davis and Armando Bacot for bringing this group together and getting them acclimated quickly, no easy task with all the newcomers that are a part of the team.

This is Armando Bacot’s Final Season

Davis dropped the shocking nugget that this will be Bacot’s final season in a Tar Heel uniform on Thursday afternoon. In all seriousness, he did say that he has had a conversation with him about just how important this final season and about what it means for his legacy. “What does he want his last year to look like? What does he want to remember when he leaves this place? And we’ve had a lot of talks about that.” This is all part of the “‘I only have one year left’ mentality that Davis said he is excited to see from Bacot this season. I think we all share that excitement, especially after with his devotion to the team and how last year finished.

Seth Trimble’s Defense Gets HIGH Praise

Davis didn’t have many declarative statements on Thursday, but his one regarding Trimble was certainly a significant one. He said that with the rare athleticism that he possesses, he can be the “best defender in the country”. His ability to pick up full court and keep the ball in front of him, I think he has that ability to be a problem on the defensive end”. Davis is also happy with the improvement that he has seen from Trimble on the offensive end, especially when it comes to how he has shot the ball.

Jalen Washington is Bulking Up

Trimble isn’t the only second player who has been working hard this offseason. Davis says Washington has been the weight room nearly the entire summer and is also working hard on his conditioning. The sophomore wants to play a bigger role and he frankly has to with him being the primary backup to Bacot again this season. The good news is, Davis is seeing everything that he needs to so far from Washington in terms of his preparation.


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