Hubert Davis Reportedly Frontrunner for UNC Job, Jay Wright 'Not Interested'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2021

A basketball with the North Carolina logo before an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Chris Seward/Associated Press

University of North Carolina assistant Hubert Davis is reportedly considered the frontrunner to become the next UNC head men's basketball coach.

Andy Katz of Turner Sports reported the news Saturday, adding that UNC leadership has consulted with TNT NBA analyst and former Tar Heels player Kenny Smith about who should be hired. Smith reportedly may be a candidate for the job as well.

Dana O'Neil of The Athletic reported that Villanova head coach Jay Wright is not interested in the UNC job despite being mentioned as a potential candidate.

The North Carolina job became available Thursday when Roy Williams announced his retirement after 18 seasons as the Tar Heels' head coach.

Davis has been an assistant under Williams since 2012, and he played college basketball for the Tar Heels from 1988 to 1992 before the New York Knicks selected him with the No. 20 overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.

In four seasons as a player at UNC, Davis averaged 11.8 points per game, including 21.4 points per game as a senior. For his collegiate career, Davis shot 43.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Davis went on to spend 12 seasons in the NBA with the Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

In 685 regular-season games, Davis averaged 8.2 points and shot 44.1 percent from three-point range, which is the second-best mark in NBA history.

During Williams' 18 seasons as head coach of UNC, the Tar Heels enjoyed a great deal of success, reaching the Final Four five times and winning three national championships.

The past two seasons have been more of a struggle, though, as UNC went just 14-19 in 2019-20 and then lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament this season.

Legendary NBA and college basketball coach and North Carolina alum Larry Brown expressed his hope Friday that Williams would have input in selecting the next coach. He also hoped it would be someone "from the Carolina family."

Since Dean Smith's retirement in 1997, North Carolina has had three different head coaches. Bill Guthridge, Matt Doherty and Williams all either coached or played at North Carolina before landing the job.

Davis would continue that trend, although he would be a first-time head coach at any level.

Someone like Wright, who has coached Villanova since 2001 and won a pair of national championships, may be the ideal candidate, but if he isn't interested in the job, hiring from within may be North Carolina's best option.