Projecting Who's Staying and Who's Leaving from UNC After NCAA Tournament Loss
Everything came together at the right time for North Carolina, which compensated for an uneven regular season with a run to the national championship game of the 2022 NCAA men's tournament.
That included a victory over Duke in the Final Four, sending Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski out with a loss to his biggest rival in his final game. The win over their rivals will likely make the Tar Heels' collapse in the second half of Monday's national title game against Kansas easier to accept for their fans.
The overall tournament outcome represents an encouraging foundation for Hubert Davis' tenure. Roy Williams left big shoes to fill, but his former assistant acquitted himself nicely in the head coaching role in his first season.
Davis might be returning a number of key players for the 2022-23 campaign as well, putting him and North Carolina in a good position to build on this year's success.
Leaky Black, Ryan McAdoo and Brady Manek were all honored during North Carolina's Senior Night celebration. And McAdoo and Manek are sure things to leave Chapel Hill in the offseason.
McAdoo was a seldom-used forward after transferring in from Florida Gulf Coast in 2018. He logged a total of 14 minutes this season.
Manek's departure will leave a large void in the frontcourt, though. The 6'9" forward averaged 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 0.6 blocks. He also helped space the floor, knocking down 2.5 three-pointers per game and shooting 40.1 percent from beyond the arc.
When it comes to Black's future, the situation is a little more murky. Returning to the Tar Heels for one more year—an option he has because of the additional year of eligibility granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic—is at least something on the table.
Keeping Black on the roster would be a major boost for Davis and his staff.
"Everyone knows about [Armando] Bacot and the shooters," an anonymous ACC assistant said to ESPN's Paul Biancardi. "Leaky can take almost anyone out of their game with his ability to guard one-on-one or with his help defense. He was the best defensive player in the ACC."
Along with Black, Dawson Garcia is a major wild card.
Garcia last played on Jan. 22 in a 98-76 loss to Wake Forest, with the school announcing on Feb. 10 he'd miss the remainder of the year because of "family medical concerns."
Details about the sophomore forward have been scarce, and his teammates may have offered a telling admission by their absence of comment when asked about him following a first-round win over his old school, Marquette.
For Armando Bacot, Caleb Love and RJ Davis, there isn't much downside to testing the NBA waters and seeing what evaluators are saying. They might also decide the risk of going undrafted is worth it because they could earn money playing overseas or inch closer to the Association through the NBA G League.
But all three could plausibly suit up for the Tar Heels in 2022-23.
That would give Davis three of his top four scorers from this season. Bacot led the way with 16.3 points and averaged a double-double with 13.1 rebounds per game. Love and Davis combined to pour in 29.5 points per game.
The statuses of Bacot, Love and Davis take on an added importance because of the uncertainty surrounding Garcia.
Entering the year, Garcia seemed like a safe bet to stick around for a few seasons and potentially exhaust all of his eligibility at North Carolina. Now, he could be out the door, removing a solid role player (9.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 0.4 SPG) from the rotation.
Davis might be getting Anthony Harris back, though. He averaged 2.6 points and provided good energy off the bench before the school said in January he'd have to miss the rest of the year.
In that announcement, Davis said Harris would "continue to contribute and we know he will work hard so he can play for us again next season."
Harris would add to a second unit that will have Kerwin Walton and Puff Johnson back.
North Carolina is 11th in 247Sports' composite team rankings for the 2022 recruiting class. Davis has letters of intent from three 4-star recruits: point guard Seth Trimble, center Jalen Washington and small forward Tyler Nickel.
Trimble (No. 32) and Washington (No. 41) are both top-50 players in 247Sports' composite player rankings, while Nickel comes in at 81st.
You can probably count on Davis dipping into the transfer portal, too, especially with how much Manek had an impact after arriving from Oklahoma.
For prospective transfers, North Carolina is an attractive landing spot on reputation alone. The team's tournament run went a long way toward allaying the initial uncertainty about the program's direction under Davis.