UCLA Coach Careful Not to Jinx UNC Star RJ Davis

Sure, concerns seem reasonable with respect to the fact that UNC basketball senior guard RJ Davis so often must carry the scoring load for the No. 9 Tar Heels (22-6, 14-3 ACC), highlighted by his epic 42-point performance in Monday night’s 75-71 home victory over unranked Miami (15-14, 6-12 ACC).

But consider the number of times over the years that a lights-out scoring guard has taken a team on a memorable ride in the NCAA Tournament. With that in mind, what looks like a concern to some is an indicator to others that the Tar Heels may possess this season’s perfect March Madness ingredient.

It sounds like fifth-year UCLA head coach Mick Cronin, who pursued then-recruit RJ Davis when he was head coach at Cincinnati, is a believer in the former four-star New York prep’s potential to be the biggest story of this year’s Big Dance.

Out of the blue while talking to reporters in Los Angeles this week about what it generally takes to prevail in postseason play, the 52-year-old Cronin pointed to his admiration for what the 22-year-old ACC Player of the Year frontrunner is doing for third-year head coach Hubert Davis’ promising Tar Heels.

Superstitiously, Cronin thought aloud for a second about refraining from any voiced comparison between the 6-foot RJ Davis and UConn’s celebrated 2011 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player from New York in the 6-foot Kemba Walker. Ultimately, he couldn’t stop himself:

“I think it’s way more important [than anything] to get a guard get really hot, à la what I mentioned, Kemba Walker. Like, If you ask me right now, I would tell you a team that [has that type of player]…I shouldn’t say because I don’t want to jinx anybody: I’m a fan of RJ Davis.

“I’ve known him as a kid. I recruited him before while I was at Cincinnati. I’ve watched him get 42. I see a kid like that, and I see a guy who could go on a heater and just, you know, carry a team.”





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