The titans of the ACC have been fading fast over the last five years, and now both Roy Williams and Coach K will be retired within 10 months. As we’ve documented here at The Fizz, it leaves Jim Boeheim as the last man standing. Chris Mack, Hubert Davis, and Jon Scheyer are far from the household name that Boeheim is. So will the turnover elsewhere help the Orange on the court and the recruiting trail?
At least one longtime college basketball insider believes UNC is in for some choppy waters and the transition to Davis is not a slam dunk. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel joined Mike Waters on the Inside Syracuse Basketball podcast.
“I don’t think Carolina has a very good staff right now. They’re certainly not a staff that will scare anyone in the ACC… Carolina just went out and grabbed the first guy in a powder blue polo shirt. Jeff Lebo is fine, but he’s not scaring anyone in the ACC.” – Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports
Davis has enormous shoes to fill. Williams won three NCAA titles and consistently put together a Final Four contender. No one will ever top Dean Smith’s legendary status in Chapel Hill, but he somehow won more championships. Between Davis and Scheyer’s inexperience, can Boeheim capitalize?
“One of these guys is gonna fail. I’m not sure which one, but one will,” Thamel says. He’s right. The expectations are so insane, the thirst for winning from both fan bases is so astronomical, both won’t have a happy ending. It’s distinctly possible neither do. Neither will live up to the standards of their predecessors. That would mean Davis and Scheyer would have to be top 10 coaches of all-time. Not going to happen.
“They’re both going to be competing against the G-League. They’re both going to be competing against Overtime Elite. You’re sophistication in navigating those complicated recruitments is an indicator of how you push forward.” – Thamel
This is the rub. While UNC and Duke have programs that sell themselves, it doesn’t hide them from the encroachment of other competition. NIL will help make some money for the players, but not at the level of being a paid pro. It’s not enough to beat Louisville and Michigan to a kid. Now you need to beat $100,000 checks. Good luck to these guys. They’re going to need it.