In the final moments of the 2021 national championship game, when it was apparent that Kansas was going to cut down the nets and deny Carolina a magical finish to a magical run to New Orleans, it was clear that Carolina wasn’t deep enough to win a national title. You can get to the national title game with six players, but winning one with only six players is hard. Shortly after the season ended, and the program went into off-season mode, Hubert Davis expressed his desire to be a much deeper team in 2022-23, but that depended on who came back and who left. Carolina learned shortly into the off-season, that Armando Bacot, Leaky Black, Caleb Love and R.J. Davis were all coming back, to not only get back to the Final Four, but cut down the nets, and win a national championship. That quartet, were all starters last season, and core members of the Iron 5, a group that will live in Carolina Basketball lore forever. With four starters back, along with Puff Johnson, Dontrez Styles, D’Marco Dunn, Justin McKoy, Hubert Davis suddenly has the depth he desperately desires, but it doesn’t stop there. Davis’ first recruiting class arrives in the form of Seth Trimble, Tyler Nickel, Jalen Washington, and Will Shaver who enrolled back in January and is technically a redshirt freshman. That gives Davis at least 12 players to utilize this season if they earn the right to be on the court.
If you go back to last summer, Seth Trimble was all but a lock for Michigan, until new head coach Hubert Davis showed up. Trimble is the younger brother of former Tar Heel, J.P. Tokoto, and the Chapel Hill ties were too much for Trimble to pass up, and he committed to UNC, the first signature recruiting victory for the first-time head coach.
Trimble arrives in Chapel Hill with plenty of hype and expectations coming off a stellar high school career and turning heads on the AAU circuit, and early reviews say he’s worth every ounce of it. Last Saturday, Carolina held their Blue/White scrimmage, where Trimble scored 21 points for the Blue, while drilling three, three-pointers, and registered a couple of blocks. Trimble doesn’t seem phased entering a program that boats the best backcourt in all of college basketball, and a team that has national title aspirations. If anything he seems eager and poised to make an immediate impact coming off the bench, something Coby White and Cole Anthony didn’t have the luxury to do, given the state of the backcourt upon their own arrivals in Chapel Hill.
His emergence means that Hubert Davis shouldn’t have to play Caleb Love or R.J. Davis for nearly 40 minutes a night. It could also mean that Carolina deploys a lineup with three lead guards on the floor simultaneously, something Hubert expressed he’d love to be able to do, back when he was introduced as Carolina’s head coach. With that in mind, we could see various different lineups this season, as Carolina should be able to dictate matchups on a more consistent basis, which should take the offense to a different level.
With all the hype surrounding Trimble which he has earned, we do need to remember that he’s going to be a freshman, and there’s going to be a learning curve that comes with him adapting to playing in the ACC on a night-in, night-out basis. Lucky for him, he’s got an experienced backcourt duo to help him acclimate to playing college basketball at the highest level.
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