Despite achieving infamy for becoming the the first preseason No. 1 team in the history of college basketball to miss the NCAA Tournament, North Carolina has amassed a groundswell of momentum early in the offseason. RJ Davis and Armando Bacot -- the team's leading assist man and leading rebounder, respectively -- announced this week their intentions to run it back in 2023-24.
Davis on Friday joined Bacot, who announced earlier this week with a nod to Perry Ellis, in declaring his return to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a senior season with a simple tweet tagged with the hashtag #seniorszn. UNC seemed to more or less confirm the news with its own relatively mysterious-yet-simple social media post dedicated to Davis.
Tar Heel for life💙🐏 #seniorszn— RJ Davis (@ariidavis_) March 24, 2023
Bacot led the ACC with 10.4 rebounds per game en route to earning First Team All-ACC honors. Davis was given an honorable mention nod in the ACC postseason awards after turning in career highs in points per game (16.1), rebounds per game (5.1) and steals per game (1.1). Davis also led the team in 3-point shooting percentage and finished with the second-most minutes played on the season.
Carolina's leading scorer, Caleb Love, has not yet announced whether he will return for another season, but the returns of Bacot and Davis give third-year coach Hubert Davis a foundation upon which he can build a solid team moving forward after a disappointing season. Bacot and Davis were two of the few bright spots amidst a down year, which ended with UNC declining an NIT invitation after losing to Virginia in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
"Not a great feeling. Not the expectations we had coming into the year," said Davis after the season-ending loss to UVa. "It's definitely frustrating, disappointing."
North Carolina brought back four starters from a team that finished as the national runner-up to champion Kansas a year ago, earning the preseason No. 1 label with overwhelming authority. Things quickly unraveled, though; the Tar Heels became the fastest preseason No. 1 to reach five losses in a season, and things never quite turned. UNC finished the season 20-13 overall and 11-9 in ACC play.