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UNC Basketball: The Tar Heels’ rebuild requires more points

RJ Davis and Armando Bacot are a solid foundation, but Carolina needs to replace a lot of scoring to get back in the groove.

Jumpman Classic: Michigan v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

With Caleb Love’s departure from Chapel Hill, UNC basketball has now officially lost three of its five primary starters from last year’s team. Pete Nance and Leaky Black have exhausted their eligibility, and Armando Bacot and RJ Davis have announced their returns.

As Hubert Davis looks to fill in his roster through the transfer portal, besides finding players to fill vacant positions on the wing, presumably stretch four, another combo guard or dedicated shooting guard, and the rest of the bench, he needs to find scoring.

Last season, UNC scored a total of 2,514 points (76.2 ppg). Here’s how those points broke down through the team:

· Armando Bacot – 509 (15.9 ppg)

· RJ Davis – 532 (16.1 ppg)

· Caleb Love – 550 (16.7 ppg)

· Leaky Black – 240 (7.3 ppg)

· Pete Nance – 299 (10 ppg)

· Everyone else – just 384 total points

Ignoring bench contributions that left the program—Puff Johnson was the highest contributor with 110 points (4.1 ppg)— Hubert Davis just saw 43% of his scoring walk out the door. The good news? He should have a healthy Armando Bacot to feature as the fulcrum of his attack. Bacot looked unstoppable at times last season when the Heels were firing from distance from at least three positions. RJ with five healthy right-hand fingers is one. Who will the others be?

Pete Nance was not a Brady Manek duplicate, Hubert Davis made that clear when he committed to Carolina. Manek scored 589 points last season (15.1 ppg), but more importantly provided spacing. His main avenues of attack were behind the three-point line and cutting to the basket, not plopped in the paint.

Nance was more comfortable being fed in the post and attacking with his back to the basket, either on a turn-around jumper when guarded by a big, or a straight pull-up when on a guard. This avenue of attack led to too much congestion in the paint, hampering Bacot’s ability to find the space he needed to attack his defender one-on-one.

We saw what Bacot looked like with a frontcourt partner like Manek and Nance. We need another Manek.

Ironically, Hubert Davis had two in his first season as head coach. In another universe, had Dawson Garcia never transferred from Marquette, he would be an ideal successor to Manek. He primarily prowled the perimeter (staying off Bacot’s toes), fired jumpers when open, and rebounded at a fair clip. HD needs to find someone like that.

What else? Balanced scoring is great, but Carolina needs scoring, period dot.

If Bacot has a monster season and scores around 20 ppg, and RJ scores 18 ppg, that would be marked improvement, but still not enough. To maintain a 76-80 ppg pace as a team, they need more backcourt and wing scoring. With Leaky Black gone, we can also expect opponents scoring to rise as well, so points will be even more required.