It’s finally official: Caleb Love has decided to leave Chapel Hill. This announcement took a bit longer than expected, but the rumblings about him potentially leaving only got louder and louder since the season ended against Virginia in the ACC Tournament. Now that it’s official, Hubert Davis has one more spot open in his starting lineup.
with love, the journey continues… pic.twitter.com/hnVddUAbo3— Caleb Love (@caleb2love) March 27, 2023
It goes without saying that Love has been one of the most polarizing Tar Heels in recent memory. He arrived on campus as one of the best players out of the state of Missouri, and was ranked the second-best point guard in the country. Being a score-first point guard, he fit the mold of Roy Williams’ system, yet it never felt like he could get things going in any meaningful way his freshman year. During his first season under Hubert Davis, he his scoring improved to 15.9 points per game, and he helped lead the Tar Heels all the way to the national championship game against Kansas.
Then there was this season.
While Love averaged a career-high 16.7 points per game, his three-point shooting efficiency fell off of a cliff. I won’t get too deep into the weeds, but his lack of efficiency and questionable decision-making seemed to go hand-in-hand with one another. To make things worse, teams packed the paint because nobody was able to knock down shots from deep, so Love’s ability to even get to the rim was challenged frequently. I’ve always said that his game requires him to play inside-out, but when inside isn’t an option, all you have left is a number of bad shots from the perimeter. To be fair, Love’s season was not the only reason the Tar Heels missed the NCAA Tournament. However, it was definitely a piece of a pretty messy puzzle, and it is tough to see him leave campus on such a sour note.
Now that Love is gone, five players total have left Chapel Hill for better opportunities. Unless Hubert Davis can get someone to reclassify from the 2024 class, I have a hard time seeing him fill each open spot on the roster. All we can do is wait and see what happens, but fair warning: this saga could drag into the summer as we await commits to decide if they are ready to join the Tar Heels, or if they want one more season to play high school ball. It’s about to be a long few months.