Hubert Davis’ attempts to convince Walker Kessler to stay in Chapel Hill came up short, as the North Carolina freshman opted to transfer to Auburn.
Kessler announced the news on his Instagram page, saying, “I am excited to play for a great coach at an awesome school and be close to home and my family. War eagle!”
Kessler was slowed early in his lone season in Chapel Hill, after missing part of the preseason due to a COVID quarantine. He saw his playing time increase as the year went on and peaked with an eight-blocked shot game late in the regular season.
The seven footer announced that he was entering the transfer portal a few days after UNC’s season ended with a loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA first round.
When Davis took over as head coach following Roy Williams’ retirement, he made retaining Kessler a priority, bringing him up at his introductory press conference, saying, “I want Walker here. He's a Carolina guy. … Kessler is a Carolina guy. I sent him a text last night, and I have a phone call with him later today. And what I'm going to tell him is I want him back here at Carolina. He's a Tar Heel, he's always a Tar Heel, he needs to come back here, and this is the right place for him. We would love to have Walker Kessler and his family back in Chapel Hill and back at UNC.”
UNC, Auburn and Gonzaga all pushed for Kessler, but the Tigers were able to convince the Georgia native to come to Alabama, where one of his brothers works.