Let the record reflect that the first official mention of the season is “direct action” from Carolina’s head coach Hubert Davis Approximately 30 minutes into the first practice occurred.
Most Tar Heel fans became aware of Davis’ familiarity with the phrase when he said it during an in-game interview at last season’s National Championship game. But he’s been using it with his team all season.
Go on the road to a hostile environment? This is straightforward work.
NCAA Championship? Live action or direct event.
Get two minutes of playing time in the second half of a close match? You guessed it – straight work.
The phrase became so ubiquitous that it was a perfect rename to celebrate Friday night the opening of the college basketball season. Late at night earlier, it’s now Live Action, Starts at 7:30 pm
Before then, though, Davis will put his tar heels through three practices, including a relatively early session on Monday because there were no classes due to the college’s wellness day. The initial practice began with what has become the traditional thought of the day in Practice #1: “It’s amazing what can be achieved when no one cares who gets the credit.”
The session also marked the debut of the program’s new Navy training shorts—hey, it’s the little things! – which is a throwback to the gear that Davis and many of his assistant coaches wore during their playing careers. Davis himself submitted the substitution request.
Players in this training uniform had a productive first day. The NCAA’s switch to allow pre-season exercises means most of the basics are already served up, so freshmen don’t feel overwhelmed. It includes Seth Trimblewho is the very early candidate to be a freshman earns the strongest place in a course that is stored in an experienced depth.
And while there was a lot of buzz about this year’s team’s offensive potential, Monday’s practice included a gentle reminder that their defense was instrumental in last year’s post-season run. The 2022 Tar Heels boot allowed the six opponents in the NCAA Tour to shoot just 38.4 percent from the ground and 27.0 percent from the three-point streak (these same numbers were 44.0 percent and 37.1 percent in the ACC play) while choking them with a 13-feature rebound on the backboards.
During Monday’s controlled melee period, the key five players had approximately eight minutes of simply being in control of the defense, with guards locking the ball’s defenders into the periphery and Nance’s house And the Armando Bacot Hit anything that came close to the paint. The blue team (reserve) was suspended without goals during that period.
However, it’s not quite the postseason form yet. The Blues eventually came back for several buckets.
Overall, though, Monday’s Tar Heels looked exactly the same — an experienced team that already largely understands Davis’ expectations. It was shown during an exercise focused on defending the screen on the ball, when Davis stopped the (live) movement to praise Backout. “Armando, you are incredible here,” said the coach. “You guys were great. Did you guys see that? He’s been very active here and on his feet.”
Davis is not above criticizing the big guy. In fact, Bacot identified a particular criticism of Davis as one of the turning points in his Tar Heel career (there is a lot about that story in together, which is nearly a month since release). But it is a promising season when the best player on the team is also the one chosen for little details in training. Which is also why Davis’ final words to his team on Monday weren’t entirely unexpected:
“Great job today guys,” the coach told them. “I am so proud of you.”