CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s been seven months since Hubert Davis was hired to succeed Roy Williams at North Carolina.
And the initial rush of taking over one of college basketball’s greatest programs has not worn off yet.
“I’m having a ball,” smiled Davis. “I just love being around these kids on and off the court.”
The transition from Roy Williams to Davis has been a smooth one by all accounts. Davis was an assistant coach under Williams for a decade and he has decided to keep many of the principles of Tar Heels basketball that are already in place.
“Everybody’s on the same page,” Davis said. “From that standpoint, I feel very comfortable with them being able to adapt to my personality and my style of coaching.”
By design, Davis’s coaching staff has a distinct Tar Heels flavor.
Brad Frederick, Jeff Lebo, Sean May, Pat Sullivan and Jackie Manuel all played for North Carolina. And none of them are shy when it comes to telling stories of their accomplishments while wearing the baby blue.
“We’ve told stories about the experiences that we’ve had here at Carolina,” Davis said. “In a good way, I think they’re tired of hearing our stories.”
And the stories they could tell.
May was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2005 NCAA Final Four when he led the Tar Heels to a national championship. Lebo was a point guard under Dean Smith in the late 80s helping North Carolina to two ACC titles.
Sullivan won a national championship in 1993 as a junior. His teams went to three Final Fours and no Tar Heels player has been a part of more NCAA Tournament games (19) and NCAA Tournament wins (17) than Sulllivan.
Manuel was a tri-captain with Sean May on the 2005 NCAA Championship team. That’s a lot of stories to be told. Davis feels his players will one day have some tales to tell as well.
“They want to create their own stories, their testimonies of playing and winning and making big shots in big games and winning championships, said Davis.
All of which takes work. Lots of work.
“I really believe that that’s the driving force in them over the past couple of months since we’ve started practice and it’s fun to watch and it’s fun to coach.”
“It’s a joy to be able to coach them and hug them, teach them and try to get the best out of them,”gushed Davis. “That’s what I am. I’m having the time of my life.”