Hubert Davis has struck the right balance for UNC’s March Madness race


NEW ORLEANS — Sometimes, even in a place like North Carolina, you land the rental. Hubert Davis continues the story Monday night against Kansas, looking to be the first rookie coach to win a national championship.

Duke can only hope and pray that his handover from Coach K to Jon Scheyer will be as smooth as his handover from Roy Williams to Hubert Davis was at Chapel Hill.

Davis remembers being haunted by his 79-73 loss in the 1991 national semi-final to Kansas, then coached by his mentor Williams, at the Hoosier Dome.

“Before winning the national championship in 2017, from 1991 to 2017, I watched this game at least once a year,” Davis said. “It’s the best team I’ve played with. … We were as connected as this team is connected now. And it was a game that Coach [Dean] Smith picked up two technical fouls and was sent off. It was an emotional game and an emotional end to the season.

“I’ve always wanted to cut those nets as a player.

“And it was the hardest loss I’ve ever suffered in my entire life.”

It was so difficult for the former ex-Knick that he told his players he would cry every time he watched it. “I told them, I played 12 years in the NBA and that was my best as a basketball player, the best time, just being part of the Final Four,” Davis said.

It’s a big reason his 20-year-old son, Elijah, a 6-foot-4 Lynchburg freshman shooting guard, sat at the end of the dais during the North Carolina press conference on Sunday. .

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Hubert Davis with his son Micah.
USA TODAY Sports

“I look and say to parents, ‘I’m not your son’s parent, but every decision I make will be filtered based on what’s in your son’s best interests and what I think you would do for your son’.” Davis said. “And so, in the same way that I take care of my three children, I take care of the players in the same way. I just want things to work out for them. And so I wouldn’t say that because of my eldest son, it’s easier for me to identify with them, but I would say that being a father helps me identify with the players because that’s how I coach.

Elijah smiled when his dad started referring to Snapchats and Instagram.

“One of the things I’ve had the guys do all summer long is they have to come by my office at least three times a week,” Davis said. “And so, when you stop by my office, you can’t talk about basketball. And then during the season, when it’s a little more difficult with classes and everything, I say you have to come to the office at least once.

“And I always say you can’t play for me unless you know me. And I can’t coach you unless you know me.

The son knows he was lucky to have a national champion father…suddenly 40 minutes away from becoming a national champion coach.

“He makes sure it’s not just about basketball, it’s about life, he teaches them just like he teaches me,” Elijah told the Post. “There’s not much difference in how he acts with them, he acts with me.”

They shared a lunch in Lynchburg when the father was collapsing and the son wanted to play. They were infused with conviction.

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Hubert Davis laughs during a press conference.
PA

“If you’re going to fight,” the father looked his son in the eye and said, “I’m going to fight.”

Jay Bilas worked alongside Davis at ESPN.

“Hubert Davis is possibly the nicest person I know, and he’s the best dad I’ve ever seen,” Bilas told the Post. “He’s the perfect balance between a ruthless competitor and an incredibly kind, caring, and empathetic person. He’s an incredible person, and I’m not at all surprised to know that he’s enjoying such success so soon.

Don’t try to define him as a coach.

“I don’t want to be defined at all,” Davis said. “I’m going to do it with my own personality, in my own shoes. And I feel very comfortable being myself.

For North Carolina, Hubert Davis was the perfect guy at the perfect time.

“He’s the perfect guy at the perfect time,” Bilas said, “to replace anyone.”

New York Post

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