It’s time to Break It Down!
You already know, I’m a fan of the game. If you don’t know…now you know. The NCAA Men’s Basketball season ended Monday night, as the Baylor Bears facilitated an inglorious conclusion to what for much of the season had appeared to be Gonzaga’s inexorable march toward the Title. The Bulldogs of Gonzaga entered the contest, having amassed a 31-0 record. They were attempting to be the first collegiate men’s basketball team to complete the season, including the title, undefeated. At the end of the night, they were denied. Baylor won the game in what for all intents and purposes was dominating fashion. Up by 19 with ten minutes to go in the first half, they led by ten at the half. They went on to lead by 20, in the second half, and won by 19. Congratulations Baylor.
Of course, I’m a Tar Heel. So, while Monday’s Title Game marked the culmination of the college hoops season, it was the second most significant college basketball event of the day for me. What, you may ask, was the first? The University of North Carolina Tar Heels, my alma mater, named a new men’s head basketball coach.
Monday afternoon at 2:44 p.m., insidecarolina.com sent a text message informing boosters and fans (like me) that the UNC Board of Trustees was holding an emergency meeting at 3:00 p.m., to review the terms and conditions of a prospective employment contract to approve Huber Davis as Carolina’s new basketball coach. To be honest, it was cool that, unlike last year, there was an NCAA Tournament, a Final Four, and the crowning of an NCAA Champion. But, after that text message, and the ensuing machinations and press conferences that followed, I could have been OK, skipping the Title Game.
On April 1st, Coach Roy Williams announced his retirement, after 18 seasons at Carolina, which followed 15 at Kansas University. After two exceedingly tough years for Carolina basketball, there was a lot of noise emanating throughout Tar Heel Nation regarding the question of what’s wrong with our Heels, including a fair number of voices suggesting a coaching change was in order. The noise notwithstanding, I seriously doubt many people expected the venerable coach to step down. In fact, given his reputed stubbornness, I personally felt Coach Williams’ most likely response would be to double down, come back, and lead the Heels to an incredible rebound season, not unlike what his mentor Dean Smith did in ’97. Alas, it was not to be. Once I was forced to accept that it was not an April Fools prank, I transitioned into next coach mode. Let’s do this!
Back in 2012, when Coach Williams asked ESPN Analyst, and former Tar Heel player Hubert Davis to join him on the bench as an assistant coach, there was rampant speculation, perhaps some of it informed, that the move was a prelude to elevating Davis to the Head Coach spot, whenever Coach Williams retired. At the time, most folks, or so it seemed, knew that. However, when the moment actually arrived, there seemed to be significant pushback to the idea of Coach Davis. The vibe I got was that Davis was Coach Williams’ personal pick, in much the same way Coach Guthridge was the pick by Coach Smith back in 1998.
To make a long story short, there is a concept known as the Carolina Way. The premise is steeped in the notion of “family,” and the idea that as openings occur at UNC, every effort will be made to select a Carolina guy as the next man up. To wit, Coach Guthridge, who had been a Dean Smith assistant coach and protege for decades, succeeded Coach Smith. Matt Doherty, who played for Coach Smith, succeeded Coach Guthridge. Roy Williams, who played JV ball during Coach Smith’s tenure, then apprenticed as an assistant coach under Coach Smith succeeded Coach Doherty. Now, Coach Davis, who played for Coach Smith, and served as an assistant under Coach Williams, emerges as the head basketball coach, at the University of North Carolina.
Coach Davis’ resume includes:
Played 4 seasons at UNC (1988-92)
Second Team All-ACC – 1992
Coached by Dean Smith
43.5% 3-pt FG (best in school history)
20th pick in the 1992 NBA Draft
Spent 12 seasons in the NBA )1992-2004
44.1% 3-pt FG (3rd best in NBA History)
Spent 7 years as an ESPN Sports Analyst
Received the 2008 Coach Wooden Keys to Life Award
Spent the last 9 seasons as an assistant to Roy Williams (2012-2021)
Coached the UNC JV Team
1st Black head coach in program history
I will speak only for myself; I’m delighted. GO HEELS! Hubert Davis: He’s A Tar Heel…Coach!
I’m done; holla back!
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