North Carolina will incorporate the shooting instincts coach Hubert Davis had as a player in its trip to Georgia Tech for Sunday’s game. Davis liked to get in the gym early to get acclimated to the arena.
When the Tar Heels arrive in Atlanta on Saturday, Davis said he planned to go straight from the airport to McCamish Pavilion so the team can get some shots up.
The Heels (5-2, 0-0 ACC) take on the Yellow Jackets (5-2, 0-0) Sunday at 3 p.m in the ACC opener for both teams.
“It’s an interesting time as to whether you get up really early for shootaround or you sleep in,” Davis said on Friday. “One of the things that I always believe in is for our guys to get used to the lighting, get used to the surroundings and the rims in the gym.”
It’s a slight departure from how UNC normally traveled under coach Roy Williams. They’d wait until the morning to take to the arena.
Davis said as a player he always wanted to get in early to get familiar with his surroundings. He wants the Heels to have that same opportunity.
“From an offensive standpoint, it’s all about rhythm,” Davis said. “So when you’re going into a new arena or a new gym, new surroundings, it’s about rhythm, it’s about a feel. And the more you feel comfortable out there on a floor I think the better you are on the offensive end.”
Carolina has seemed fairly comfortable in most offensive settings this season. After having two of the lowest seasons in 3-point shooting percentage in program history the past two seasons, the Heels are chasing the best percentage in program history.
The first two seasons the 3-point line was a permanent fixture in all of Division I basketball, UNC shot 43.6 percent and 43.0 percent from behind the arc. Those are the two highest percentages in program history. (But they were also from a shorter distance of just 19 feet, 9 inches. The current 3-point line is 22 feet, 1.75-inches.)
Should the Heels continue their pace of shooting 41.5 percent from the 3-point line, it would be the third best in team history. Five players — including Caleb Love, Kerwin Walton and Dawson Garcia — are averaging at least one 3 per game. Sophomore guard R.J. Davis and graduate transfer Brady Manek lead the team with a total of 14 made 3s each.
All five of those players are also shooting better than 35 percent from 3-point range. Hubert Davis wants to keep that going with a little extra time shooting. Davis doesn’t believe that they can shoot too much.
“I’ve never seen a situation where it hurts you,” Davis said.
They may need the practice. Georgia Tech has limited opponents to shooting just 28.8 percent from the 3-point line. Only Virginia Tech has been better among ACC teams. The Hokies have allowed opponents to shoot 21.4 percent from 3-point range.