Styles, still debating future, wanted to play in NIT, says Coach Davis made decision

By R.L. Bynum

Dontrez Styles, who still is deciding whether he’ll return to Carolina next season, said Tuesday that Coach Hubert Davis told the team after the NCAA selection show that the Tar Heels wouldn’t accept an NIT invitation.

“It was the coach’s decision,” Styles said during his weekly “Tuesdays with Trez” segment on “The Bryan Hanks Show” on WRNS 960 AM in Kinston.

Styles, a 6–6, 210-pound sophomore wing from Kinston, watched the selection show from his room, then found out the season was over during a team meeting afterward. He said he would have preferred to play.

“I think I would, just to have the opportunity to play,” Styles said. “The NIT is not the Carolina standard but there are some great teams in there and it would have been some great competition for me to showcase my game again. I would have played.”

With Tyler Nickel and Justin McKoy already in the transfer portal, Styles still is debating his future while spending spring break on vacation in Orlando. He expects to decide before returning to Chapel Hill on Tuesday at the latest.


“I’ve been trying to figure it out right now,” said Styles, who grew up a Carolina fan. “I’ve been taking the time to get away and think about things.”

After Styles played 30 games as a freshman and got double-digit minutes in six games, he got into only 15 games this season with double-digit minutes in three games. That added to his frustration on a team that was preseason No. 1 but finished 22–13 and left out of the NCAA tournament.

“Looking back on it, honestly, man, it’s just tough, especially for me. It was a disappointment,” Styles said. “Individual-wise, seeing my disappointment. I had high hopes. … Things didn’t work out that way. You’ve just got to move forward and get ready for the next year.”

He scored nine points, which tied his career-high, against The Citadel in a season-high 16 minutes. He scored five points in 11 minutes in the Tar Heels’ 85–61 win over Boston College in the ACC Tournament last Wednesday and four points in 10 minutes in the 77–66 victory at Florida State on Feb. 27.

Styles’ season-high during his freshman season was also nine points, which he scored in Carolina’s 93–86 overtime win over Baylor in the second round of the NCAA tournament, when he hit a huge corner 3-pointer early in overtime.

Styles has scored 80 points over 45 career games, 59 of those points during his freshman season.

UNC roster

Here is a rundown of the Tar Heels’ scholarship players from the just-completed season, with their class should they return next season listed. UNC has two available scholarships.

Possible returnees
4Sr.RJ DavisPG6–0175
0Soph.Seth TrimblePG6–3192
2Sr.Caleb Love26–4200
11Jr.D’Marco Dunn36–5190
14Sr.Puff Johnson36–8200
3Jr.Dontrez Styles46–6210
13Soph.Jalen Washington46–10225
55th yearArmando Bacot56–11235
21Soph.Will Shaver56–10260
Eligibility over
1Leaky Black36–9205
32Pete Nance46–11230
In portal
22Justin McKoy46–8220
24Tyler Nickel36–7220
Incoming freshmen
Simeon Wilcher26–4185
Zayden High46–9225

Photo via @UNC_Basketball



  1. As a former player at UNC, it is inexplicable how that much talent was stunted as it was this year. Don’t know if Coach Davis is tough enough on his players. Coach Gutheridge made us run suicides if we didn’t execute and hustle.


  2. Davis did a terrible job of coaching by not using his talented bench and hiding the same horses way to much.
    He seemed very hesitant to make decisions. The players did not play up to their potential. This is in the head coach. Carolina made a terrible mistake with this hits. I’m predicting we lose at least two more talented players to the portal. We should have never lost Tyler. Davis simply gave this tallented Freshman hardly any playing time. Big lose to our program. All on coach Davis. ..William Barger


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