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Heel Tough Blog: R.J. and Hubert Land on Semifinalist Lists for Prestigious Awards

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

This week has been one filled with accolades for Tar Heel players as well as their head coach and that continued on Friday with two of the most important trophies in the sport revealing their semifinalists.

The James Naismith Trophy committee announced the remaining candidates for their five awards that they give at the end of each season. Head coach Hubert Davis is one of ten coaches still remaining for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award with guys like UConn’s Danny Hurley and Houston’s Kelvin Sampson headlining that group. 

Davis, who took home ACC Coach of the Year honors earlier this week, has helped lead the Tar Heels to a 26-6 overall record so far this season and a 17-3 mark in conference play. The seventeen conference wins are the most in program history and gave them their first outright conference title in seven years. The 25 wins were the most in the regular season in five years and follows a 20-13 campaign that ranks up there with some of the most disappointing in program history.

Senior guard R.J. Davis, meanwhile, is one of the ten remaining in the hunt for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy. He joins guys like Purdue’s Zach Edey, who’s looking to take home the award for a second straight season, Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht and former teammate Caleb Love as those still battling for the prestigious hardware.

Davis led the ACC and is top 20 nationally with 21.0 points per game and 223 made field goals and second in the conference, but still top 20 nationally, in three point field goal makes with 99. His 21.0 per game makes him the first player to average more than 20.0 points per game in a season since Tyler Hansbrough in 2008-09. That mark is also the best since Hansbrough averaged 22.6 per game in 2007-08. His 99 3-point makes has him on pace to break the single-season record for three point makes that is currently held by Justin Jackson at 105 three point makes back in the 2016-17 season. His 43.2% field percentage is the second-best of his career, while his 41.6% 3-point field goal percentage is easily the best mark he has put up in his four years.

The finalists for the Naismith Trophy and Coach of the Year award will be announced on March 25.


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