UNC basketball's transfer portal loss could actually mean great news for Tar Heels

Could ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis be returning for one more year in Chapel Hill?
UC Riverside v North Carolina
UC Riverside v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The nets have been cut, One Shining Moment has been played, and the college basketball season has ended. For those that haven't yet moved on to the start of baseball season, the NFL Draft, or the final games of the NBA and NHL regular seasons, college basketball still has plenty to offer for those in search of entertainment.

That's right, it's transfer portal season, aka the college hoops Wild West. In the coming weeks, college basketball will see a mass emigration of talent as hundreds of student-athletes change schools and teams in preparation for next season. Some will transfer for more playing time or the chance to play at a more prestigious school, some because their head coach has been fired or taken a job elsewhere, and some for increased NIL opportunities.

The transfer portal dominoes have already begun to fall, and college basketball fans are feverishly looking ahead. Which players will leave? Which ones will stay? Which ones can be targeted that would make great fits alongside the returning roster and the incoming freshman class?

One of the most difficult things to predict is what one player's transfer means for another's decision, but that doesn't stop hoops junkies from trying to figure that out. Remember, these are the same people who tracked Scott Drew's flight to Kentucky to get answers as to who would be replacing John Calipari (an answer which, at the time of this writing, we still don't know after Drew reportedly turned down the Wildcats).

Seth Trimble of the North Carolina Tar Heels announced his intention to transfer on Tuesday, and already UNC fans are trying to read between the lines

Trimble was one of Carolina's top reserves, a defensive-minded guard with explosive leaping ability. He played behind ACC Player of the Year and First Team All-American RJ Davis and freshman Elliot Cadeau, often giving the Tar Heels a spark off the bench with his ability to lock down opposing guards.

Losing Trimble hurts, as he showed growth in his offensive game in his sophomore season to complement his already stellar defense, but in some obvious ways, it makes sense. Cadeau has given no indication that he's leaving, and though UNC is set to lose Armando Bacot and Cormac Ryan to graduation, Hubert Davis has reinforcements on the way in freshmen Drake Powell, Ian Jackson, and James Brown.

Trimble could certainly see more playing time at a school with a less talented roster than UNC, but the strides he took this past season indicated that he was on the path to more playing time in Chapel Hill, even with a strong incoming freshman class.

What Tar Heels want to know is what this means for the possibility of RJ Davis returning. Davis still has his Covid year of eligibility left, and though he was one of the most effective players in the country last year, his lack of NBA size (he's listed at 6-feet) means he's unlikely to be drafted highly, if at all, if he turns pro. Further complicating matters is the recent decision of UNC women's basketball star Deja Kelly to enter the transfer portal, as she and Davis have reportedly been dating for well over a year.

Davis could follow the path that his now-former teammate Bacot forged, returning for one more year to further entrench himself towards the top of the UNC record books, while likely reaping some nice NIL rewards along the way.

Trimble's decision to leave comes one year after the transfer of Caleb Love, who ultimately ended up at Arizona, where he won Pac-12 Player of the Year. Could Trimble's decision indicate that he knows Davis is coming back, which would squash his opportunity to step into a larger role? Or could it mean nothing other than the rising junior is ready for a fresh start somewhere else? That's the fun of transfer portal season, and until Davis makes some kind of announcement, we won't know for sure.

30 forgotten college basketball stars who flamed out in the NBA. 30 forgotten college basketball stars who flamed out in the NBA. dark. Next