UNC coach Hubert Davis ahead of Final Four game against Duke: 'Turn off the noise'

29 March 2022

North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis spoke with reporters Tuesday ahead of the Final Four game against Duke.

Davis discussed the historic significance of playing Duke for the very first time in the NCAA Tournament.

“I don’t know and I don’t really care and I’m not even thinking about it,” Davis said. “I’ve said this to you guys before. Our focus needs to be on what allows us to prepare the best, practice the best and play the best.”

Davis has told his players to “turn off the noise” from their phones, family, friends and fans.

“We’re looking to have more memories and more stories and more testimonies,” Davis said. “We’re not done yet.”

Saturday night’s contest will mark the third time Duke has played UNC in the 2021-2022 season. On March 5, North Carolina upset Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game. On Feb. 5, Duke beat North Carolina 87-67 in Chapel Hill.

Davis has said since the start of the season he believes the Tar Heels have what it takes to win the national championship. A first-year Division I men’s basketball coach has never won the NCAA Tournament.

“I saw that we have a chance,” Davis said. “I was really excited about a couple of things.”

Davis complimented his team’s ability to score with junior forward Armando Bacot’s ability to score around the basket and the versatility of graduate transfer forward of Brady Manek.

“The only negative thing I can say about Brady is I only get to coach him for one season,” Davis said.

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Davis mentioned how Bacot has learned from assistant coach Sean May, who played at UNC from 2002-2005 before playing four seasons in the NBA.

“He’s a fantastic coach and communicator,” Davis said of May. “I think having that experience and that knowledge right there every day is so invaluable.”

Bacot also expressed his appreciation for May.

“I think it’s definitely done wonders for my game,” Bacot said of May’s coaching.

Bacot said he tries to compete with May’s UNC accolades, which includes being named Most Outstanding Player of the 2005 NCAA tournament after leading North Carolina to its fourth national championship.

“I kind of want to put up better numbers than him,” Bacot joked. “That’s kind of a little type of conflict we’ve been having all year, just arguing about our seasons and stuff like that.”

On Tuesday, Bacot said Davis told the players that they would go to the Final Four before the 2021-2022 season even started.

“He told us even before we had practiced,” Bacot said. “He put a picture of the Superdome on all our lockers.”

Bacot said Davis even told the players’ parents to book flights and hotels in New Orleans.

“When he said it at first, I’d be lying if I thought like automatically we would go there,” Bacot said. “But once… we all got together and I saw our team, I knew we had the talent and we were good enough to go.”

Coach K, Duke players board team bus to head to Final Four

Davis also mentioned the professional experience of former Tar Heels guard Jeff Lebo, who now serves as assistant coach. Lebo’s lone NBA season came in 1989-1990 for the San Antonio Spurs.

“I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to come here and take up all the knowledge our assistant coaches have,” Davis said.

Davis also complimented sophomore guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love, and the defensive ability of senior guard Leaky Black.

RJ Davis said it’s his responsibility to put his teammates in a position to succeed as the team’s starting point guard.

“As a point guard, you’re like another extension for the coach on the court,” RJ Davis said.

RJ Davis said the team is enjoying the moment, but recognized the stakes of the Final Four.

“It’s also, at the same time, it is a business trip,” RJ Davis said. “We’re not just going down there to have fun. We’re going down there to take care of business.”

On Wednesday, the Tar Heels are scheduled to travel to New Orleans.

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