In a move that’s caught a lot of Tar Heel fans — not to mention teammates and coaches — by surprise, David and Travis Wear are both transferring out of North Carolina. The two 6’10 Tar Heel forwards finished their exams this week, went back home to Huntington Beach, California, and their father called UNC head coach Roy Williams on Wednesday evening to inform Williams of the transfer. Having lost Ed Davis to the lure of the NBA and Deon Thompson to graduation, the Wear brothers’ departure leaves UNC with only two returning players taller than 6’6: 7’0 Tyler Zeller and 6’10 John Henson.
That size deficit will be mitigated somewhat by the arrival of 6’8 forward Harrison Barnes, the top-ranked high school senior from this past year who announced — or rather, Skyped — several months ago that he’d be attending UNC in the fall of 2010. The Wears have not publicly commented on their transfer, but it’s doubtful that this was a playing time issue. Both Travis and David averaged about ten minutes a game last year, and Barnes is the only post player in the Heels’ incoming freshman class. With Zeller and Henson splitting minutes at center and Barnes at one forward, there were minutes to be had at the other forward spot.
This had been circulating on some message boards for several days, but now that it’s happened, the question arises as to where these fellows will land. Their California roots suggest the Pac-10 will benefit, and UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Washington were listed as the other finalists for their services besides UNC when they were high school seniors. The UCLA option is particularly interesting; the Bruins have 6’9, 320-pound forward Josh Smith arriving on campus for next year, and the addition of the Wear boys after their mandatory transfer sit-out season would make Ben Howland a very happy man. Of course, there’s always the chance that they’re tired of being called “The Wear Twins” and will each choose their own school in hopes of forging their own unique path. Wherever they end up, the program(s) that signs them will be getting, by all accounts, a couple of quality kids in terms of character and work ethic as much as basketball potential.