Welter: Hubert Davis admits a sad truth about UNC basketball :: WRALSportsFan.com


By Pat Welter, Multimedia sports journalist

Finally the energy, effort and toughness weren't the issue. The players just aren't good enough; a sad and uncomfortable truth for North Carolina basketball.

"You're playing against better players," Hubert Davis said after a 98-76 loss to Wake Forest, his team's second twenty point plus loss in a week. "Williamson, Williams, and Laravia were the best players on the floor and it wasn't even close."

Davis's answer would be acceptable if we weren't talking about THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA. Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams is a grad transfer from Oklahoma. He's a nice story and currently leads the ACC in scoring, but he isn't Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

"When I was in the NBA I did all the things," Davis said. "I did the scouting report, I denied one pass away, I was in a defensive stance, but at the end of the day Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson were better than me."

Wait, what?

"I'm not saying these guys are that good, but they were better than us today," Davis finished.

Okay that clears it up. Alondes Williams is a projected second round pick by the way. He might turn into an All-Star, but that's the type of asset NBA teams would give away for a Bojangles biscuit.

Wake Forest doesn't have better talent than North Carolina. Neither did Miami who beat UNC 85-57. Both those teams technically have more experience, but it's not like UNC is trotting out all freshman. Brady Manek is also a transfer from Oklahoma, looks like Davis recruited the wrong guy. UNC could really use another guard instead of another big.

"We just don't have the athleticism and the ability to be able to breakdown defenders," Davis said. "Wake Forest was switching all ball screens one through five. We couldn't get by them. We couldn't create a shot."

When Davis was hired we were sold uptempo, modern NBA basketball. Instead we've gotten NBA basketball from the era Davis played. The strength of this team is in the front court. That has meant running the offense through Armando Bacot and playing fellow big Manek at the same time on the floor. At guard they get nothing offensively from Leaky Black, RJ Davis is undersized, and Caleb Love can disappear for long stretches at a time.

"We are a team that is really good scoring in the paint with Armando and at the end of the day we are a jump shooting team," Davis said. "So when we don't shoot well from the outside and Armando doesn't have a dominant game and we aren't lights out defensively it's going to be difficult for us against really good teams."

You hear a quote like that, it makes it sound like Davis is coaching a mid major. Love is a projected first round NBA draft pick. Bacot is a player of the year candidate in the ACC. Davis has called out this team's "energy, effort, and toughness" weekly. Now he's calling out the players. He better look in the mirror or this is going to get worse before it gets better.

"This past week wasn't a good week for us," Davis said. "So we can sit here and whine and complain and point fingers and make excuses or we can get back up and keep fighting or start fighting."

If UNC can't fight this week they will be in danger of missing the NCAA tournament. They have home games versus Virginia Tech, Boston College and NC State. You want to talk about guard mismatches, I can't wait to hear what Davis has to say about NC State's Dereon Seabron and Terquavion Smith.

The Tar Heels have an iconic brand, but their recruiting hasn't reflected it which speaks to the talent gap Davis is referencing. Davis helped recruit the number two class in the nation in 2020 according to 247 Sports, but two five-star players from that class are already gone. Day'Ron Sharpe was drafted 29th last year by the Brooklyn Nets. Walker Kessler is averaging 10.7 ppg and 7.4 rpb for the #2 Auburn Tigers. Caleb Love was the highest rated player, he'll be gone after this season.

Over the last ten years UNC has had just two top five classes. That obviously didn't stop Roy Williams from winning a national title in 2017, but so far it looks like an issue for Davis. UNC's 2022 class is ranked #12. Davis top two players from this year's class, D'Marco Dunn and Dontrez Styles can barely get on the floor. The players either aren't good enough as Davis suggests or he isn't getting enough out of them. So far he's just made his opponents look like Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan.