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'He wants to win': Hubert Davis details Elliot Cadeau's reclassing decision

Incoming first-year Elliot Cadeau makes a no-look pass in a game against Gill St. Bernard’s School. (TNS/ Tom Horak)

“The timeline of players has sped up dramatically,” UNC men’s basketball head coach Hubert Davis said.

And perhaps no other Tar Heel has been sped up in the same way as incoming first-year Elliot Cadeau. 

The intention was always for Cadeau to remain part of the 2024 class.

But then, at just 18 years old, he competed in the FIBA World Cup for the Swedish senior national team. He was three years younger than anyone else on the team, and over 23 years younger than the oldest player on that roster.

But then, he won the GEICO National Championship with Link Academy over AZ Compass Prep, 73-55. Over the course of the three games, he set the record for the most assists in the tournament’s history with 29.

But then, things changed.

“It changed his thinking on wanting to come here early,” Davis said. “He also had a desire to be here. He’s such a team guy, he wants to win, wants to be a great teammate.”

And those were important boxes for Davis to check. He is understandably hesitant when having the reclassification discussion with commits. Coach Davis understands the sacrifices a young man is making when he forgoes his final year of high school like Cadeau has.

“Out of all the years in high school, I can remember my senior year,” Davis said. “It was a big deal getting my diploma in high school. It was a big deal my senior year for senior night. I remember that. So, I don’t want guys to pass that up. It’s an important part of growth.”

That’s why Davis made sure to ask Cadeau why he wanted to reclass. He made sure that Cadeau wanted to be a part of this Tar Heel squad. It was only once he felt that this was the right fit that Davis agreed to endorse the decision, because it’s a big step.

Part of the decision to bring Cadeau in early was out of a desire to strengthen next year's team — there’s no denying that. Cadeau is a 6-foot-1 point guard with a feel for the court and an ability to set his teammates up with keen passing. Even after reclassing, Cadeau was tabbed as the No. 11 player in the class of 2023 by 247Sports.

He brings a valuable skill set that, placed alongside rising senior RJ Davis, makes for a dangerous backcourt.

Still, his inclusion on this year’s team was never planned. The ultimate change in direction is a result of the modern nature of college basketball.

“In the past, you could predict what a team’s gonna look like next year and the year after that,” Davis said. “You could recruit in a way knowing that this person’s going to be here, and this person’s going to be gone. You can no longer do that. You can 100 percent predict that you don’t know what it’s going to look like from year to year.”

That unpredictability is what led Cadeau to UNC a year early. He’ll miss senior prom. He’ll miss his senior night. But that’s what Cadeau decided.

“What’s important for me is guys that want to be here,” Davis said. “Guys that want to be part of a team, and understand the importance of the name on the front of your jersey, that it’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of this program. It means something to run out of that tunnel and onto that floor.”

It’s a sacrifice, but it’s one Cadeau is ready for — Davis seems confident in that. And now, Cadeau will take another big step as he steps onto Roy Williams Court for the first time in front of the Tar Heel faithful this fall.


@dthsports |

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