Davis Practices With The Heels

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Hubert Davis, recently retired from a successful 13-year NBA career, had a knack for finding a way to score. A 1992 graduate, Davis became known at UNC as the knifing guard with the unique ability to make a writhing, twisted shot look beautiful and reliable. Now living in Chapel Hill, Davis spent several practice sessions with this year's squad.

"I've practiced with them probably four times," said Davis, now in his second month back in Chapel Hill with his wife and two young children. "They were down to nine players and they weren't sure who was going to walk on, so Coach Williams told me he'd love for me to come by and practice with the team.

"It's been an honor to work with them," Davis continued. "I'll run the floor and do all the drills – I just didn't have to run sprints at the end if we lost."

Davis has spent a substantial amount of time playing with and against the Heels' guards for this season, a unit missing their sparkplug in the freshly-departed Raymond Felton. He's impressed with what he's seen.

"I see their talents, and I feel really good about what we've got to work with," said Davis. "Quentin (Thomas) is much more settled this season, and will be a good leader, especially on the defensive end – he's relentless, and will be a mature, defensive catalyst.

"Everyone knows Wes Miller can shoot, but he's really been getting after it on the defensive end as well," he continued. "Frasor's been very solid as well. They're all combo guards with a lot of versatility."

Davis was a junior when the heralded freshman class of Montross, Phelps, Reese, Sullivan, and Rozier came to Chapel Hill in the fall of 1990. He sees a similarity with this year's crop of new players, both individually and as a unit.

"This group's going to get a lot of attention individually," Davis remarked. "Coach Williams did a tremendous job bringing in the kind of talent that can contribute right away. They have a confidence to them that makes me feel very comfortable with their ability to step in immediately and do the job."

Davis was precise with his descriptions of the freshmen, labeling Danny Green "fabulous" and Bobby Frasor "lights out." He estimated that Marcus Ginyard will be one of the best defenders in the ACC, a guard who can shut down shooters on the perimeter. Tyler Hansbrough, according to Davis, is simply "a beast."

"I think people will be pleasantly surprised and excited by this year's team." Davis said. "Depth won't be a problem at all, and they'll have lots of options. Coach Williams likes his guys to run, as we know, and this group seems to have a great chemistry.

"Coach is probably doing more teaching than he has in recent years, but he seems to thrive off of the educational side of coaching," he continued. "That's a common denominator amongst great teachers. There's an enthusiasm amongst the coaching staff that's really, really exciting." Hubert Davis knows what Carolina fans expect from their teams. The headline names might not take the floor at the Smith Center this season, but it won't take long, according to the sharp shooter, for these new names to become household in a hurry.

"Fans should have fun with this group," he concluded. "They're solid, they hustle, and they love the fact that they play basketball at North Carolina. You can't ask for much more than that from a new group of players."

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