UNC basketball: Leading candidate emerges to succeed Roy Williams as Tar Heels coach

Hubert Davis has emerged as the favorite to succeed Roy Williams as the new coach of UNC basketball.

With Roy Williams retiring, the UNC basketball program will have to usher in a new era.

Despite announcing his retirement on April Fool’s Day, Williams was not joking with us. The three-time national championship winner at North Carolina did a remarkable job turning around his alma mater over the last two decades.

Replacing Williams is going to be incredibly difficult, but a front-runner for the UNC basketball job has emerged: Assistant coach Hubert Davis, who also played at UNC.

Andy Katz reports North Carolina alum and Inside the NBA analyst, Kenny Smith has been consulted on who the Tar Heels should hire. While Smith is a reported candidate himself, Davis is the clear front-runner to get the job ahead of Wes Miller, but athletic director Bubba Cunningham is doing his due diligence to look outside of the North Carolina family for possible head-coaching candidates.

Hubert Davis has served on Roy Williams’ UNC basketball staff since 2012

Davis played his college basketball for the iconic Dean Smith from 1988-1992. He would be a first-round pick by the New York Knicks in the 1992 NBA Draft. Davis played in the NBA for 12 seasons with six different franchises. After retiring as a member of the then-New Jersey Nets in 2004, Davis would join ESPN as a college basketball analyst in 2008. He returned to UNC in 2012.

Promoting a top assistant from within is always a tricky proposition at any major college program. However, if there is any program in the Power 6 that will hire one of their own, especially a guy who played for the team back in the day, it would have to be North Carolina. Cunningham may say he is looking around at other candidates, but having Davis take over for Williams feels inevitable.

If Davis is to become Williams’ North Carolina successor, he will have to be up for the challenge.

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