After failing to convince Walker Kessler to return for his sophomore season, the Tar Heels were in dire need of adding front court talent. Brady Manek decided to leave Oklahoma after legendary head coach Lon Kruger decided to retire following the 2020-21 season. Manek, a stretch 4 was going to be one of the more coveted transfers this off-season. During his four year stint in Norman, Manek shot 37% from behind the three point line, and after shooting 32% as a team last season, Hubert Davis was desperate to add perimeter shooting to their lineup. His extensive pitch to Walker Kessler wasn’t enough for the former 5 star big man to return, but Hubert Davis got the job done this time, and in the process earned the biggest recruiting win since being named the head coach.
One of the biggest reasons Carolina moved so quickly in their hiring process, was to help build their roster for next season. Recruiting restrictions were just eased up earlier this week, and with over 1,300 players listed in the transfer portal, Hubert Davis made it known they’d use that to their advantage. Manek becomes the second transfer to join the UNC program, as last week Justin McKoy from Virginia joined the Tar Heels roster.
Manek will bring with him the ability to stretch the floor, which Carolina desperately needs as they're going to be more guard oriented next season. During his time with the Sooners, Manek averaged 12.0 points, and 5.6 rebounds per game. His 37% shooting from behind the arc, would put him second on the team behind Kerwin Walton. UNC was a different team last season when either Caleb Love or R.J. Davis provided some sort of outside shooting. UNC will expect Manek to shoot the ball well from the outside for the course of the season.
Landing Manek is a huge get for Hubert Davis, who just finalized his staff yesterday. They made the final three for Christian Bishop, a transfer from Creighton but lost out to Texas. While Manek is 6-9, Carolina still needs to add size to their front court. UNC decided to not recruit Jonas Aidoo, an in-state product from Charlotte, who committed to Tennessee shortly after UNC was out of the running. There are still plenty of options in the portal for Hubert Davis, but Carolina has been selective in their recruiting of the transfer portal. All of their main targets have been from the Power 6 conferences, as recruiting from the mid-major level didn't work out back in 2019-20.
There's still optimism that Armando Bacot will return for his junior season, despite him entering the NBA. That might be best case scenario for the Tar Heels, as Bacot led the team in scoring and rebounding, and understands the Carolina system better than any transfer on the market. With that in mind, expect Davis and his staff to do their due diligence on the portal, while trying to establish relationships before the recruiting cycle finishes up.
Make sure to stay tuned to the Heel Tough Blog for all the latest news on the recruiting front for Carolina Basketball.
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