basketball Edit

Garcia, Walton Cleared To Play Versus Yellow Jackets

Dawson Garcia and Kerwin Walton have been cleared to play Saturday when the Tar Heels host Georgia Tech.
Dawson Garcia and Kerwin Walton have been cleared to play Saturday when the Tar Heels host Georgia Tech. (Jenna Miller/THI)


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CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina will have its full roster available Saturday when the Tar Heels host Georgia Tech at the Smith Center.

UNC Coach Hubert Davis confirmed Friday afternoon that Dawson Garcia and Kerwin Walton will play after both players missed Carolina’s last two games.

"Dawson and Kerwin will play tomorrow,” Davis said during a press conference advaning Saturday's game. “They practiced yesterday, they have done practices and individual workouts this entire week. I'm really excited to have them back and out there on the floor, so Dawson and Kerwin will be available tomorrow for the game.”

Garcia suffered a concussion 1:59 into a 26-point win at Boston College on Jan. 2, and missed a loss at Notre Dame and win at home over Virginia. Walton missed the last two games because he was in COVID protocols.

A 6-foot-11 sophomore from Prior Lake, MN, Garcia has started 12 of the 13 games in which he has played. He is averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest, while shooting 43.9 percent from the floor, including 45.8 percent (11-for-24) from three-point range.

He didn’t score in the limited time versus BC, and in the two games before that, played a total of 35 minutes while scoring just eight points and pulling down eight rebounds.

Walton, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Hopkins, MN, is averaging 3.9 points while shooting 35.2 percent from the floor, including 35.1 percent (13-for-37) from the perimeter. He had gone scoreless for five consecutive games before netting six points in a win over Appalachian State and five at BC. He played 19 minutes versus the Eagles, his high total since logging 24 in a loss to Tennessee on Nov. 21.

Davis is thrilled to have both players at his disposal, especially after last week going to Notre Dame with just eight recruited scholarship players available. Justin McKoy was still in COVID protocol, and Puff Johnson has been sidelined with an injury all season.

But Davis now has Garcia and Walton at his disposal, and he plans on using them as he would had they not missed time.

"I expect them to be out there on the floor and play the way that they have been all season,” UNC’s coach said. “We really missed them. We missed them at Notre Dame, we missed them even though we played really well against Virginia. Both of those guys bring so much and add so much value to this team on both ends of the floor.

“Just to have them available back in the lineup whether they come off the bench, whether they start they make our team much better. I'm just very excited that they're available and that they'll be playing for us tomorrow.”

The Tar Heels and Yellow Jackets tip at 8 PM and the game will air on the ACC Network.

*Brandon Peay contributed to this report.

Hubert Davis Friday Press Conference