After initially setting his visit to UNC later this month, West Virginia transfer, James Okonkwo has committed to Carolina and will join the Tar Heels. In a tweet, Okonkwo stated “After being in communication with the UNC coaching staff following my decision to enter the transfer portal, I have decided to commit to UNC to play for Coach (Hubert) Davis in the 2023-2024 season. Can’t wait to compete for a national championship at Chapel Hill. Let’s go Tar Heels!" Okonkwo was scheduled to visit Carolina on July 24th, after entering the transfer portal following the firing of Bob Huggins in West Virginia. Okonkwo’s numbers aren’t anything special, as he averaged 2.5 points and 3.2 rebounds.
This move as much as anything is a depth move, to add another piece to the front court, which is considerably deeper than any of the first two teams Hubert Davis has coached. Armando Bacot now has Jalen Washington, incoming freshman Zayden High, and now Okwonkwo in the front court with him, giving Hubert Davis more options to work with. When you look at Okwonko’s numbers, per 40 minutes, Okwonko averaged 2.4 blocks per 40 minutes, giving the team a rim protector they haven’t had since their run to the national championship back in 2017.
This is likely the last addition to the roster, after Huubert Davis retooled his team, after a disappointing 2022-23 season. Davis brought in coveted Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram, Cormac Ryan from Notre Dame, Paxson Wojcik out of Brown, along with Jae’Lyn Withers from Louisville. The transfer portal era has been an adjustment for many Tar Heel fans, as it’s hard to see the roster overturn year after year, but that’s the nature of college athletics in the 21st century. Luckily, Hubert Davis has appeared to make the adjustment rather well as Carolina’s head coach, and the decision to skip the NIT to get the program for the next reason has turned out to be the correct one.
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