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Heel Tough Blog: Should UNC Target Creighton Transfer?

Steve Branscombe Photography

It’s already been a big week for Hubert Davis, as on Tuesday 2024 five-star point guard, Elliot Cadeau reclassified and will join the team for the upcoming season. That news came after months of speculation, and with the roster being decimated by exits via the transfer portal, Davis was saving a spot open for him, if he made that decision. Also this week, 2024 five-star forward, Jarin Stevenson was on campus for an official visit, amid rumors that he was going to commit, reclassify, and join the program for the upcoming season. Well, that didn’t happen, and that means that Hubert Davis still has two roster spots available for next year to fill up. Now there’s still a chance that Stevenson does commit, and reclassify, or that another 2024 five-star commit, Ian Jackson, could do the same, but as of right now, it looks like Carolina will have to add two more transfers, to complete the roster for next season.

Earlier this week, prospects that had entered their name in the 2023 NBA Draft, had to decide whether or not to stay in the draft or return to play at the college level next season. One of the players that had to make that decision, was Creighton forward, Arthur Kaluma, who eventually withdrew from the Draft, and will return to college, but is seeking a transfer. Kaluma was a starter for a Creighton squad, that made it to the Elite Eight, before falling to eventual runner-up, San Diego State. Kaluma averaged 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 42% from the field, and 31% from behind the arc. And so far, he’s been contacted by the likes of Kentucky, Alabama, Texas, and Texas Tech, but not UNC. Does that need to change?

Carolina has done a really good job in this transfer portal cycle, adding talent and depth to a roster in need of both. Davis and his staff, have brought in Harrison Ingram from Stanford, and Jae’Lyn Withers from Louisville, to pair with the return of Armando Bacot, and Jalen Washington, while Zayden High arrives, as a four-star freshman. For the first time since Davis became the head coach of Carolina Basketball, he finally has adequate talent, and depth in the front court, and shouldn’t be afraid to play more guys this season.

Even with the additions that Carolina has brought in, that shouldn’t stand in the way of going after a guy like Kaluma, that has started, and produced at the power conference level, as he started 67 games for the Blue Jays, and for his career has averaged over 11 points and 5.7 rebounds. His three-point shooting numbers leave a lot to be desired, but that didn’t stop Davis from going after Withers, who also struggled to shoot the ball from the perimeter. Many Tar Heel fans want Jalen Washington to start, or be the first guy off the bench, but it’s important to remember, that Washington needs to get stronger to play on the post in the ACC, and is still working his way to his former self, before a knee injury his last year in high school. Outside of Bacot and Ingram, there isn’t a forward on the roster that should stand in the way of potentially adding him to the roster. Also, adding the likes of Kaluma would only add more depth to the roster, and even give Davis the chance to platoon his lineups, if he chose to do so.

The issue now is the possibility that Carolina has waited all too long to go after him, and would be playing from behind, while schools like Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas have already started recruiting him. On the flip side, given UNC’s disinterest so far, that probably means that Davis knows something we don’t, and is saving that roster spot for another reclassifying five-star prospect. Nonetheless, Tar Heel fans should feel better about where the roster is today, as opposed to when the season came to an end, and players were transferring out of the program left and right.

Make sure to stay tuned to the Heel Tough Blog for the latest Carolina Basketball news as the off-season marches on.

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