Hubert Davis’ UNC basketball career comes full circle at Final Four

Some people weren’t big fans of the rental, but Coach Hubert Davis showed the world that the North Carolina men’s basketball program is in good hands under his leadership. In his first season as head coach of UNC basketball, the man in charge guided the Tar Heels to their 21st Final Four appearance in college basketball history. from North Carolina.

Davis and company had to bring down Marquette, Baylor, UCLA and Saint Pierre in order to secure the Eastern Regional crown in Philadelphia and punch their ticket to New Orleans. They will face their great rival (Duke) in the Final Four for the first time in NCAA Tournament History. While we wait for this historic March Madness match to take place, let’s explore Hubert Davis’ career at UNC as a player and coach.

Hubert Davis’ playing career in Chapel Hill and the NBA

Photo by Manny Millan/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

After playing his high school years as a Bruin from Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Virginia, Davis chose to bring his talents to Chapel Hill and play for Dean Smith’s UNC team in the ACC. . Davis, whose uncle Walter Davis also played for Coach Smith, scored 1,615 total points in 137 games as a Tar Heel and was named to the All-ACC Second Team as a senior. he helped the program advance to the Final Four in 1991, losing to Kansas in the semifinals. Interestingly, this 1991 Tar Heels team just missed out on a chance to face Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils in 1991 in the championship game. Davis would end his college career with an outstanding 43.5% three-point percentage, which is still a UNC basketball record in 2022.

Davis will always be remembered as a player who didn’t shy away from putting big numbers in a UNC uniform, as he scored in double digits in 58% of his college games. After the 1991-92 season ended, Davis turned to the 1992 NBA draft and was selected by the New York Knicks in the first round (20th pick). After playing for the Knicks and various other NBA organizations during his 12-year professional career (Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets), Davis retired in 2004 with 5,583 total points, 728 three-pointers and a shooting percentage. 44.1% at three points. Although he never managed to lift the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy or make an All-Star Game, he helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals in 1994, beating the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals with a few free throws and taking a stacked Houston Rockets team to seven games before falling to the world champions.

Davis’ coaching career began as an assistant at UNC

Hubert Davis and Roy Williams watch a game from the UNC bench
Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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In 2012, Davis began his coaching career as an assistant coach on Roy Williams’ staff at UNC. He must have been thrilled when the Tar Heels won a national championship in 2017 because he came close to achieving that goal as a player, but was never part of a team that was lucky enough to win all six of its games. of the NCAA Tournament.

After Roy Williams announced his retirement on April 1, 2021the Tar Heels decided to promote Davis four days later, making him the first African-American head coach in the history of UNC. After suffering two demoralizing losses at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament earlier this season, Davis helped the Tar Heels win their next five contests, including their ACC opener against Georgia Tech on Dec. 5. Questions about Davis’ ability to lead a top program like UNC have been raised following the Tar Heels’ embarrassing losses to Miami and Wake Forest on the road in January. Now I’m all for criticizing a coach who struggles to get his team into the win column in a conference game, but I’m also a big proponent of giving a coach enough time to figure things out as you go.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where individuals are often counted before they can prove their worth, which is why many people jumped to the conclusion that Davis wasn’t the right man for the UNC job after this brutal two game stretch. Davis clearly heard the noise and was determined to prove all his doubters wrong, as this turned out to be the last losing streak the Tar Heels had in the regular season. They won 11 of their next 13 games and finished third in the ACC behind Notre Dame and Duke. Unfortunately, they ran into a starving Virginia Tech team in the ACC Tournament that wasn’t going to be denied an automatic offer for the Big Dance, but Davis still had the Tar Heels playing some great basketball heading into the biggest event in the game. season.

Even with the NCAA Tournament underway, Davis can go ahead and add four NCAA Tournament wins and an Eastern Regional Championship to his Division 1 head coaching resume. On Saturday, Davis will have the chance to defeat the Duke Blue Devils and fire coach K with one last loss before leaving the world of college basketball (as a coach) for good. I’m sure several fans have already taken the liberty of scoring a win for Coach K’s team, but Davis will ensure his team is fully prepared for a 40-minute battle in the National Semi-Finals.

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