On Monday, 247Sports.com released their top 25 college basketball coaches list for the upcoming 2022-23 season. Listed in the top ten were names that you would expect: Mark Few, Bill Self, John Calipari, and Scott Drew all made the cut. However, there was one name that was a bit surprising to see, and that name was Hubert Davis.
247Sports listed Davis as the ninth-best college basketball coach in the country. In just his first year as head coach, Davis led the Heels to the Final Four where they beat Duke in Coach K’s final game, but lost to Kansas in the national championship game. Here is what 247Sports writer Isaac Trotter had to say about Davis’ ranking:
This is a big swing, but we’re buying high on Hubert Davis. Stepping in for an all-timer like Roy Williams is no easy task, but Davis steadied the ship for North Carolina. He never got too low when the Tar Heels scuffled. Davis then engineered one of the all-time, late-season resurgences, guiding North Carolina all the way to the national championship game as a No. 8 seed. Davis had Kansas in a 15-point hole at halftime and was 20 minutes away from winning it all in Year 1 before the Jayhawks came alive in the second half. But we do not believe that Year 1 was a fluke for Davis. His guys absolutely love him. He has the perfect temperament for the ever-changing collegiate game. Davis has helped North Carolina recruit at a super high level, so it’s obvious college basketball’s next studs are buying into his mission. Davis could skyrocket up this list if North Carolina runs it back in 2022-23.
The most notable thing that Trotter referenced when talking about Davis is the 15-point advantage the Heels went into halftime with against Kansas. To think that the Heels were just 20 minutes away from winning the national championship in Davis’ first season is insane, but the Jayhawks deserve credit for how well they fought back in the second half. We will also forever wonder if the same outcome would’ve transpired if Armando Bacot was completely healthy, but isn’t that always how sports go? Regardless, the Heels finished the season in incredible fashion, and Hubert Davis deserves a lot of credit.
Trotter also stated that he didn’t think that Year 1 was a fluke, and I couldn’t possibly agree more. Truth be told, Davis’ first season was far from perfect if you paid attention from start to finish. Whether it was something Davis was or wasn’t doing, it took the Heels a good amount of time to fully buy in to what he was selling, but thankfully they became the March team that we all knew that they could be. The players do really love Davis, and he has a way of communicating to him that seems to resonate well and gets the most of out of them. Undoubtedly recruits have noticed this as well, which has led to the Heels landing players like Jalen Washington, Seth Trimble, Simeon WIlcher, and GG Jackson. By the way, have we mentioned that Jackson is now the fourth-best high school player in the 2023 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings? Needless to say, the caliber of talent that Davis is bringing in is pretty darn high.
While I personally still have a hard time getting over the fact that Roy Williams retired from coaching, Hubert Davis has made the changing of the guard as painless as possible. Where he will finish among the all-time list of head coaches is anybody’s guess, but what we know right now is that he is one of the best active head coaches in the game. Now let’s see if they can run it back and return to the Final Four in 2023.