CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina sophomore RJ Davis is a 6-foot, 175-pound guard from White Plains, New York that started alongside Caleb Love in North Carolina’s backcourt during the first nine games last season. Unfortunately, Davis’ suffered through early growing pains; which ultimately led to then-head coach Roy Williams replacing the freshman in the starting lineup with Kerwin Walton.
For the remainder of the season, Davis came off the bench to take over duties as the primary ball handler for the Tar Heels, while also serving as Carolina’s second most consistent shooter from long range. Davis would go on to finish his freshman season averaging 8.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per contest, while also knocking down 32.3% of his shots from behind the arc for the Tar Heels.
Davis embraced his new role of coming off the bench for North Carolina, and as the season went on began to look more comfortable against top tier competition. A prime example of Davis’ improvement throughout his freshman season, is the fact that his two best offensive performances came back-to-back in the first two rounds of the ACC Tournament (14 points against Notre Dame, and 17 points against Virginia Tech). As the college game slowed down for Davis, his shot selection began to improve not only from long range, but also in his mid-range shot selection, and how he attacked the basket against larger interior post defenders.
RJ Davis going into year two will look to flourish in first year head coach Hubert Davis’ space-and-shoot offense. The Tar Heels new look offense will feature a trio of big men shooters in Brady Manek, Justin McCoy, and Dawson Garcia; which all three will be key components to stretching the floor for opposing defenses. If Carolina’s incoming big men can consistently knock down shots, then that will free Davis up to take better shots from long range.
Spacing the floor will also create a more open lane for Davis to attack the rim; and ultimately lead to more effective shots inside the paint from the combo guard. Davis has already shown the ability to finish against larger defenders in the post, which will become an essential part of Davis’ game, as he takes advantage of opposing defenders that are stuck in no man’s land trying to defend Carolina’s plethora of shooters.
Fans hope that RJ Davis will drastically improve his offensive repertoire and efficiency from last season, and ultimately become a more consistent overall player in his sophomore season. If he’s able to do that, Davis could become a breakout player for North Carolina during the 2021-2022 college basketball season, and may be en route to earning All-ACC honors in his second year as a Tar Heel.
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