When you look at all the national championship teams under Roy Williams, you immediately think of great point guard play, with a dominant inside game, which is true. What you probably don’t think about is that those teams had a dynamic wing player, that made a difference on both ends of the floor. From Jawad Williams, Danny Green, and Justin Jackson, those guys opened the floor for the speedy point guards and made it harder for teams to double team when the ball went in the post. Even the last UNC team to win an ACC regular season title (2018-19), had Cam Johnson, which made life easier for Coby White and Luke Maye. Since Johnson exhausted his college eligibility, Carolina hasn’t had a dynamic wing presence, and it’s no wonder why they’ve posted 14-19, and 18-11 records respectively.
When Hubert Davis was introduced as the new head coach of Carolina Basketball, and he laid out his vision for the program, it centered around a more modern approach on offense, with floor spacing, and shot making at the forefront. To have that, you have to have big-time players on the wing, and he was aggressive trying to find such talent. After initially going to scout a different player, Davis came across Tyler Nickel, as he scored 36 points on 4-8 three-point shooting. The next day, Davis offered him a scholarship and UNC has been recruiting him ever since. When Davis finalized his staff, it was made known the importance of getting Nickel to Chapel Hill, and in Carolina Blue. Today all of that hard work paid off, as UNC out-lasted the home state Virginia Tech, as Nickel announced his commitment to North Carolina, giving the program the type of player it’s been missing the last few seasons. It also secures Davis a recruiting victory involving another ACC program, after missing out on Justin Taylor who committed to Syracuse. Nickel is currently ranked as the No. 75 player in the 2022 class, while being the No. 22 small forward and the No. 2 player from Virginia, according to 247Sports. At 6-8, and 210 pounds, he is TaylorMade to be an impact player the second he arrives at UNC, and should flourish in Hubert Davis’ system.
Nickel is joining an already impressive class that features five-star Jalen Washington, combo guard Seth Trimble, and big man Will Shaver who will reclassify and join the team in January. That’s not too bad for a first time head coach and a staff that was doubted for their ability to recruit. UNC is still looking to add another wing player in the form of Cam Whitmore, whom they are battling Villanova and Illinois for.
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