Is North Carolina's Ed Davis NBA Material?

Sam AbramsContributor IDecember 2, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20:  Arinze Onuaku #21 of the Syracuse Orange shoots against Ed Davis #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic on November 20, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Orange defeated the Tar Heels 87-71 to win the championship.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Six months ago, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Ed Davis.  Would he ride his stellar performance in the Final Four all the way to the NBA? Or would he come back to Chapel Hill and try to improve on his top 10 draft status?

After he made his decision to stay, Tarheel fans were ecstatic (as they well should be). Davis had all of a sudden vaulted from a solid sixth man to near Tyler Hansbrough-status.

A few games into the season has some Tarheel fans asking "What happened?"

Ed Davis, despite his freakish athleticism and lottery pick projections, hasn't produced early in the season like some expected him to.  He's come on as of late, posting three straight double-doubles against the likes of Syracuse, Gardner-Webb, and Nevada. But is this really the guy who turned down millions of dollars to come back for another year?

The answer: Yes. A resounding yes.

Despite his meager output in the first few games of the season, any basketball fan doesn't have to watch more than a few minutes of his game footage to realize that he is just a special player. 

Whether he's gliding across the lane to block a shot, or dropping in another hook shot, or soaring to grab another rebound, you can tell he has something special.

It isn't 20-20 stat lines or highlight reel dunks.  It's tenacity and hard work, traits which Roy Williams is famous for breeding in his players.  Roy never bases his offenses around one player, which explains Davis' humble point totals.

That's the thing about being a product of the North Carolina basketball program. You aren't bred for the NBA. You're bred to become a better basketball player. 

In Chapel Hill, the NBA is an afterthought.  Like Williams told Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green when they withdrew from the draft: "You're representing the name on the front of the jersey, not the back."

So was it a mistake for Davis to come back if it wasn't simply to improve his draft stock? Not at all. 

Case in point: Ty Lawson. 

Lawson came back for one more year and put his heart and soul into that team.  He represented "NORTH CAROLINA," not "LAWSON."  By doing that, he went from a late first round or early second round pick to a lottery pick.

Can't argue with those results.

Davis is going to be a force.  He has all the skills, can finish with either hand, block shots, and run the floor. He's everything you would want in a big man.  He is a consistent double-double man.

He is NBA-ready.  He will make a definite impact for Carolina this year.

Put Davis alongside Deon Thompson, and the North Carolina frontcourt will be a force to reckoned with all season long.


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