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Lucas: Old School Influence

Lucas: Old School Influence

By Adam Lucas

When then-Gardner Webb standout Luke Davis made his official visit to Carolina, he was walked out on the Smith Center court by then-assistant Jerod Haase. There, he spotted former Tar Heel (and then-staff member) Jackie Manuel doing a series of ballhandling drills involving two basketballs.

Very few elements of that scenario remain true: Davis is now a member of the Tar Heels. Haase is now the head coach at UAB. Manuel is a member of Wes Miller's staff at UNCG.

But the ballhandling drills remain, as Davis has incorporated elements of both Manuel's workouts and the sessions of former point guard Bobby Frasor (now on Haase's staff at UAB) into his daily summer routine.

"When Jackie and Bobby were both here two years ago, they showed me some stuff that I like to do every day," Davis says. "First, I do the 'Jackie Manuel series,' and then I do the 'Bobby Frasor series.' It's a lot of work with two basketballs. Jackie's is warming up, really pounding the ball as hard as you can and getting a feel for it. And then Bobby's is more working on quick moves with the ball."

Davis has mostly been a loner in his dribbling sessions--if you've ever arrived very early at the Smith Center for a game, you've probably seen him doing some two-basketball drills while teammates are shooting--but this summer he has gained a partner.

After morning weights sessions, Davis made it a habit to do some morning drills. Then he moved on to shooting drills, where he was often accompanied by James Michael McAdoo, as the duo each made 300 shots before departing.

Then, after lunch and class, Davis was back in the gym for pickup, and after dinner he would go back to the Smith Center for another workout. It's that late-night workout where he was often joined again by McAdoo, his roommate.

That's not exactly a duo you might picture as workout buddies. McAdoo is a 6-foot-9 forward who does most of his ballhandling on those trademark midcourt steals that lead to breakout dunks. Davis is a 6-foot-0 point guard who is much more likely to have to deal with pressure in the backcourt.

"Coach Davis and Coach Williams have told the guys that anyone who wants to work on their ball-handling should come with me," Davis says. "James Michael approached me, and we've gotten into a routine. We're obviously not doing the same exact drills, because we're different players, but it gets me excited that he's wanting to work on an area of his game that he wants to improve. It's easy to work on the stuff that you're already good at. It's tougher to try and get better."

Tuesday was the last day of second session summer classes; exams continue through Friday. Most players will return home for a couple of weeks before reassembling in Chapel Hill for the fall semester in mid-August, with the first day of classes set for August 20.

That's around the same time that the 2013-14 schedule will be released by the ACC. Carolina is slated to have one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country, with games already announced against Michigan State in East Lansing, a home game against Kentucky on Dec. 14, and a possible matchup with defending national champion Louisville in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic. Those three teams formed the top three in a recent preliminary USA Today college hoops top 25 for 2013-14.

The Tar Heels will be able to begin practice for that formidable slate a little earlier this year. A spring NCAA rules change moved up the start of practice by two weeks.

Adam Lucas is the publisher of Tar Heel Monthly.

 

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