After high school, Caleb Ellis didn’t expect to play competitive basketball again. He was focused on his studies and pursuing a degree in finance at UNC-Charlotte, but he always hoped for something bigger.
It wasn't just his dream to go to school at UNC-Chapel Hill, but his mother’s, as well. She had attended dental school there, and Ellis says he was her last hope for a family member to attend her alma mater.
Not only did he do just that, but he found a place that felt like home when he transferred to Chapel Hill following his only year at UNC-Charlotte. He said it was an easy transition for him when he settled in with many of his friends from high school who already attended UNC.
Before Ellis even stepped foot on campus, he'd heard about Chapel Hill’s junior varsity basketball program through a friend. He hadn’t thought about it much until he heard a group discussing tryouts while he was shooting around at a gym on campus.
He signed up for tryouts and found himself in a pool of over 100 other students looking to make the team. The tryouts went on for a few days, and by the end of it, he had secured himself a spot.
Jump to two years later, and Ellis, a 6-foot-5 guard, had been called up to the main team. He hardly remembers the moment he was so shocked.
“We were in the weight room and Roy (Williams) came in,” Ellis said. “He called everybody together for a quick meeting and kind of took me to the side where he was standing, and told me that the coaches had been talking. He saw that I had been working hard the last couple years, and they wanted to offer me a spot on the team. I don’t remember exactly what happened after that.”
He recalls all of his teammates jumping up and down and having a great time as they celebrated the moment.
Now, after two seasons on the varsity team and a degree in hand, Ellis looks back on his time with the basketball team with no regrets.