By R.L. Bynum

The reshaping of Carolina’s frontcourt continued in a big way Thursday with the commitment of 6–11, 225-pound Marquette transfer Dawson Garcia, a huge addition for first-year head coach Hubert Davis.

Garcia helps fill the void left by the departures of Walker Kessler, Garrison Brooks and Day’Ron Sharpe and gives the Tar Heels a solid big man to play alongside Armando Bacot on a roster that also includes Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek and Virginia transfer Justin McKoy.

UNC recruited Garcia out of high school but Garcia looked elsewhere once it Kessler committed to coming to Chapel Hill.

“We recruited Dawson in high school because we thought he’d be a perfect fit here,” Davis said. “He’s talented and versatile, has size and athleticism and can be dominant on both ends of the floor. He can score at the rim, he rebounds, shoots the three and runs the floor. He has the prototype of skills of today’s big men. I don’t think people understand how good he can be defensively. In high school he was one of the few players I watched who could guard all five positions.”

Garcia and UNC sophomore Kerwin Walton were AAU teammates on D1 Minnesota.

“Dawson comes from a great family,” Davis said. “He played AAU with Kerwin [Walton] and is a lot like Kerwin. They both get it done on the court, in the classroom and the community. We are very excited to have him part of the Carolina basketball family.”

Garcia’s Instagram post Thursday

Garcia made the Big East All-Freshman team last season, averaging 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 48% from the floor, 78.3% from the free throw line and 35.6% from 3-point range.

In Marquette’s 83–70 victory over UNC at the Smith Center on Feb. 24, Garcia collected 24 points and 11 rebounds, his second-best scoring game of the season. Garcia’s season-high was 28 points on Feb. 10 in a loss at Villanova.

Much like Bacot, Garcia will need to change his habit of getting into foul trouble. Garcia had three or more fouls in 12 of 27 games, four more in four games and fouled out twice.

The Carolina game was one of three double-doubles last season. His others were a 20-point, 11-rebound game in a Jan. 5 home loss to Connecticut and a 14-point, 10-rebound effort in a Dec. 14 win at Creighton.

After last season’s 13–14 finish, Marquette fired former Duke star Steve Wojciechowski and later hired Shaka Smart as his replacement.

Garcia, who was a four-star recruit out of Burnsville, Minn., and a 2020 McDonald’s All-American, declared himself eligible for the 2021 NBA draft but later pulled his name. Garcia scored more than 2,092 points during his career at Prior Lake High School, averaging 31.9 points and 9.7 rebounds as a senior.

Garcia won a gold medal playing for the United States in the 2019 U-18 3×3 World Cup and earned most valuable player honors

UNC’s roster

YearPlayerPHeightWeight
So.Caleb LovePG6–4195
So.RJ Davis2/PG6–0160
RS So.Anthony Harris26-4196
Fr.D’Marco Dunn36–4180
So.Kerwin Walton36–5205
So.Puff Johnson36–8190
Sr.Leaky Black36–8195
Fr.Dontrez Styles46–6190
Jr.Justin McKoy46–8225
GradBrady Manek46-8231
Jr.Armando Bacot56–10240
So.Dawson Garcia4/56–11230
Walk-ons
So.Creighton LeboG6–1160
RS Sr.Ryan McAdooF6–5200
Jr.Duwe FarrisF6–5205

UNC has one scholarship left.

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