clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UNC Basketball: RJ Davis has been the Tar Heels’ offensive star

Always a dynamic scorer, RJ Davis suddenly finds himself on the precipice of UNC history.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since his arrival in Chapel Hill, RJ Davis has not been afraid to put the ball in the basket. As a senior, he is the team’s best option to grab a clutch basket when the Heels have nowhere else to turn. He’s shooting the ball better than he ever has in his UNC career — 44% FG%, 36.4% 3P% (just 0.3% off his sophomore year high), and an unbelievable 95.3 FT% — while leading the team in scoring with 21 ppg.

Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram are solid compliments to him, averaging 15.9 and 15.1 ppg respectively, but their games don’t diminish or blunt anything that RJ is trying to do on the court. Furthermore, RJ’s’ scoring has blossomed with the addition of freshman point guard Elliot Cadeau into the starting line-up, something that wasn’t necessarily true when Davis shared the backcourt with Caleb Love.

RJ has heated up as the season moved into its toughest non-conference portion. In early season games against Radford, Lehigh, UC Riverside, and Northern Iowa, Davis averaged 14 ppg while playing just 29.3 mpg. When Carolina played Villanova, Arkansas, Tennessee, FSU, and UConn, Hubert Davis started keeping his senior playmaker on the floor almost permanently, taking his minutes up to 38 mpg (with Villanova going into overtime).

That slate of games saw RJ Davis scoring against KenPom’s #41 adjusted defense (23 points vs Villanova), #54 (30 points vs Arkansas), #2 (27 points vs Tennessee), #52 (27 points vs Florida State), and #16 (26 points vs Connecticut). He’s not stat-padding against chumps!

As scary as Kentucky has been offensively, they’re worse per KenPom’s defensive statistics than any of the teams listed above. The CBS Sports Classic in Atlanta should be an up-and-down affair, the type of game where RJ could really put up some mouth-watering numbers.

To date, RJ Davis has 1,493 career points, just 370 shy of the late, great Walter Davis for tenth place all-time at Carolina. Provided he stays healthy, RJ should eclipse that total to get into the top ten. If he goes crazy this season, and UNC makes it deep into the ACC and NCAA tournaments, there’s a possibility he could catch Larry Miller (1,982 points) for seventh place.

RJ hasn’t forced the issue scoring so far this season. With a balanced attack of Bacot in the post, Ingram wherever he wants, and hopefully Cormac Ryan helping space the floor with timely 3-point shooting, RJ should have room to carve out his spots, hitting them at high clips, and getting to the line where he’s been near automatic (30 for 30 in his last four games). We could be looking at a very special scoring season for RJ, just in the nick of time.