The North Carolina men’s basketball team has seen its fair share of change over the past few weeks, with multiple players entering the transfer portal and, most notably, head coach Roy Williams retiring after winning three national championships in Chapel Hill.
With new coach Hubert Davis at the helm, he will have the opportunity to shape this team into the future, starting with the recruiting class of 2021.
The Tar Heels were able to sign two players in the class of 2021 and score one transfer, helping bolster the team after the losses of this past season. Here's a look at the newcomers while UNC awaits further transfer decisions.
Dontrez Styles, a 247Sports four-star recruit out of Kinston High School in Kinston, is a much-needed piece for the Tar Heels entering the upcoming seasons. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound small forward will help fill the immediate gap in the paint after Day’Ron Sharpe and Armando Bacot potentially leave for the NBA Draft, as well as Garrison Brooks, Walker Kessler, Walker Miller and Sterling Manley, who head into the transfer portal.
Styles posted stellar numbers throughout his high school career, with his strongest year being his junior season in 2019-20. He scored 19.7 points per game that year, as well as 11 rebounds per game, 1.1 assists per contest and 0.7 blocks per game. His senior season showed similar numbers but was less than a quarter of the length of his junior campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Styles should make a case for a starting role in Davis’ new system, with the current lack of paint presence.
D'Marco Dunn, the other four-star recruit in North Carolina’s 2021 class, will help bolster another aspect of the Tar Heel team — mid-range and perimeter shooting. Hailing from Westover High School in Fayetteville, Dunn will add depth to the guard position and should help improve one of UNC's weaker points last season.
In Dunn's upperclassman seasons, he played incredibly well for his position in both. He managed to improve upon his junior season, scoring 23.4 points per game his senior year, compared to 20.4 the prior year. He also averaged 8.6 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game, 2.7 steals per game and 0.9 blocks per contest in his senior campaign.
Though Dunn might not be a day-one starter for the Tar Heels due to the depth at the guard position, he will certainly be a deadly rotation piece for the offense with his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. If he plays his cards right, a starting role might not be that wild an idea.
Justin McKoy, a rising junior from the University of Virginia, is another small forward who could immediately make an impact in the new system due to the lack of depth in the paint. Standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing 215 pounds, McKoy could very well see an increase in playing time compared to his limited career at Virginia.
McKoy played in 19 games at Virginia this past season, starting in four. He averaged 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, mainly as a bench player, but gradually increased his minutes on the court as the season progressed. At Panther Creek High School in Cary, McKoy averaged a double-double of 24.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in his senior season.
McKoy could see his role switch to that of a hybrid player as a Tar Heel, as he and rising senior Leaky Black are slated to be the tallest players on the team, barring further transfers coming to UNC.
In what has been one of North Carolina’s most hectic offseasons in the history of the program, the Tar Heels, led by their rookie head coach, look to turn around two years of disappointing seasons. And they look to do so with the help of fresh talent in the form of Styles, Dunn and McKoy.