Last Word On Basketball

Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #15 North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina Tar Heels

ATLANTA, GA DECEMBER 30: North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) takes a shot during the NCAA basketball game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on December 30th, 2020 at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Roy Williams is no longer at the helm of the North Carolina Tar Heels program due to his retirement. This feels weird. But have no fear, Hubert Davis is still here. I love the new hire and I don’t think this program is going to miss a step. Davis has been on the bench in Chapel Hill as an assistant since 2012 and played there from 1988-1992. He also spent twelve seasons playing in the NBA. I believe he will do a very good job as the head man. Plus, this roster has tons of talent.

The Tar Heels did lose a lot of talent. But there is plenty left over. Even though their recruiting class wasn’t top tier like it usually is, they still got two studs and three big-time transfers. This team could go ten deep this season. That’s crazy. After a relatively disappointing season where they were bounced early in the NCAA Tournament as an eight seed, I have UNC as one of my preseason ACC favorites.

Check out the 16th ranked Duke Blue Devils right here.

The North Carolina Tar Heels

The biggest thing for this year’s Tar Heels is perhaps what they are returning. Armando Bacot and Caleb Love are both back. That is huge. The two were two of their three best players last year and will be their two best players this season. Both of them are All-ACC candidates and could be NBA lottery picks. Bacot is the x-factor for this team though. They have a lot of playmakers out on the wing and in the backcourt, but other than Bacot the major frontcourt contributors are both newcomers this season. Bacot is one of the best bigs in the country and I expect him to prove it this year.

As I mentioned above, the Tar Heels have a ton of talent out on the wing and in the backcourt. The wing talent is led by senior guard/forward Leaky Black. Black is a very dynamic and versatile player and really has been his entire time at UNC. That will not change this year. He is joined on the wing this year by an intriguing top 70 recruit in Dontrez Styles and Virginia transfer Justin McKoy.

The backcourt, like I said, is very talented too. They are obviously led by Caleb Love. But he is not alone. The Tar Heels return both RJ Davis and Kerwin Walton. Both of them played in all 29 games last year. Walton started in 20 of them and Davis started in 10. They will both have a chance to start again this season. Top 70 freshman D’Marco Dunn joins them back there too.

The frontcourt is where things get a little more interesting. Bacot is obviously a stud. But so are the two impact transfer they brought in. Power forwards Dawson Garcia (Marquette) and Brady Manek (Oklahoma) were both huge gets for this team in the transfer portal. Garcia will probably start from day one, and Manek will make big contributions as well.

I mentioned that UNC can go ten deep this season. Seven of those guys I think have a chance to start in the season opener. The best part about being a deep team like this is that new head coach Hubert Davis will be able to tailor his starting lineup each game to best counter his opponents. They are young for the most part, yes. But they are still very talented.

Projected Lineup

PG – Caleb Love (10.5 PPG/ 2.6 RPG/ 3.6 APG/ 1.2 SPG)

G – Kerwin Walton (8.2 PPG/ 1.7 RPG/ 1.8 APG)

G/F – Leaky Black (5.6 PPG/ 4.9 RPG/ 2.4 APG/ 1.2 SPG)

PF – Dawson Garcia (13.0 PPG/ 6.6 RPG at Marquette)

C – Armando Bacot (12.3 PPG/ 7.8 RPG)

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images

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