Hubert Davis: UNC will look to transfer portal, Walker Kessler could return

One day after being named head coach of North Carolina basketball, Hubert Davis met with the media for his introductory press conference.

A variety of topics were discussed, including playing style and roster management. According to Davis, UNC plans to utilize the transfer portal to add talent for future rosters.

Even before Roy Williams retired last week, North Carolina’s roster was in various states of flux this offseason. Walker Kessler left for the portal; Day’Ron Sharpe declared for the NBA Draft.

However, North Carolina — with Davis at the helm — is in the process of working to re-recruit Kessler back to Chapel Hill. Davis mentioned that the 7-footer from Georgia would be a welcomed addition for the 2021-22 season.

Davis and Kessler are scheduled to speak by phone on Tuesday.

After some public unease, Caleb Love committed to return for his sophomore season.

Of course, big men Sterling Manley and Walker Miller entered the transfer portal, too.

There’s been no roster movement since Williams announced his decision to step down; however, with roster spots to fill, a new coaching regime could look to tap into portal. Given the COVID-19 eligibility circumstances, this offseason will be an unprecedented time for college hoops.

Early indications are that both members of North Carolina’s 2021 recruiting class — 4-star wings Dontrez Styles and D’Marco Dunn — will remain committed to UNC. Dunn and Styles, the top two in-state prospects, signed with North Carolina last November.

This is certainly an added benefit of promoting from within to replace Williams: a better chance at maintaining current roster commitments.

Beyond that, though, UNC aggressively working the transfer market to land players is a bit foreign. It’s not that Williams and UNC didn’t add graduate transfers over the years; Christian Keeling (Charleston Souther) and Justin Pierce (William & Mary) were rotation pieces on the 2019-20 team. However, it’s adding transfers hasn’t been exactly a foundational element.

With so many players moving this offseason, though, it would be irresponsible to not seek out what the transfer portal has to offer.

Davis and North Carolina can feel comfortable with the return of guys like Kerwin Walton and RJ Davis. Frontcourt mainstays Armando Bacot Jr. and Garrison Brooks loom as larger mysteries, for various reasons. Perhaps Kesslers will somehow feature back into this mix as well.