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Analysis: Looking at UNC men's basketball's depth chart ahead of the 2023-2024 season

20230304 - UNC MEN'S BASKETBALL VS. DUKE
UNC senior forward Armando Bacot (5) celebrates after a dunk during the men's basketball game against Duke at the Dean E. Smith Center on Saturday, March 4, 2023. UNC fell to Duke 62-57.

Since the announcement that the UNC men’s basketball team would not accept its bid to the NIT, six Tar Heels have entered the transfer portal. 

North Carolina will have two veterans returning in senior forward Armando Bacot and junior guard RJ Davis. The Tar Heels will also add two four-star recruits to the team next season — combo guard Simeon Wilcher and power forward Zayden High — as well as former Brown guard Paxson Wojcik, who committed to UNC on Monday.

With the departure of Puff Johnson, Tyler Nickel, Will Shaver, Dontrez Styles, Justin McKoy and Caleb Love, UNC has six scholarship spots available for the upcoming season. Given the state of the current roster, head coach Hubert Davis will likely be looking to add an experienced wing player and other contributors to fill vacant roles. 

Here’s a look at where UNC’s depth chart stands as of now:

Guards

On Monday, the Tar Heels' roster took a hit with the transfer announcement of Love, who led the team in scoring this past season with 16.7 points per game.

A former five-star recruit, Love will likely be remembered most for his postseason run in the 2022 NCAA Tournament — especially his 3-point shot over the outstretched arms of Mark Williams against Duke in the Final Four game. Love struggled with his shot selection this season, shooting under 30 percent from behind the arc while leading the team in 3-point attempts with 244.

RJ Davis will have to step up in Love's absence, and — assuming that they return for next season — Seth Trimble and D’Marco Dunn should also see more minutes. Wojcik, who shot 38 percent from deep at Brown last season, is likely to provide some shooting, while incoming guard Simeon Wilcher, scouted as a versatile finisher, will enter Chapel Hill expected to make an impact in the fall.

Wings

This past season, Johnson was often the Tar Heels’ go-to sixth man, earning more minutes off the bench than any other player. Johnson, who has two more years of eligibility remaining, averaged 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game and has already received interest from Big 12 and SEC schools.

McKoy came to UNC from Virginia before the 2021-22 season. He averaged just over six minutes per game and appeared in 41 games as a Tar Heel, playing in just 11 outings in the past season. Because of the pandemic, McKoy has one more year of eligibility and will be a graduate transfer. 

Nickel also entered the transfer portal and has received interest from multiple schools, such as South Carolina and Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-7 wing was touted for his 3-point shooting abilities in high school but shot 6-for-27 from behind the arc at UNC.

Styles, a guard from Kinston, North Carolina, is most notable for his appearance in the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a first-year. Styles averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds against Marquette and Baylor, but he averaged just under six minutes per game this past season.

UNC is without any wings for this upcoming season, as graduate Leaky Black is out of eligibility, and the rest of North Carolina’s wings have transferred. Retooling this group should be a point of focus for Hubert Davis and his coaching staff as they scour the portal ahead of next season.

Frontcourt

Will Shaver, a redshirt first-year from Alabama, spent most of last season rehabbing his foot and appeared in three games for a total of six minutes. 

UNC’s group of forwards should see the least change, as Bacot and Jalen Washington have confirmed that they are returning to the team next season. Without Pete Nance, who is out of eligibility, Washington and High should see some valuable minutes.

@smithhannahg

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com  

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