“Coach is really going to be looking for one of us bigs to step up so he can trust us and leave us in the game in certain game situations,” Hubert told reporters on Monday.
Williams stressed that point to Hubert during their postseason meeting in April that outlined his goals and expectations for the offseason.
The Cream Ridge, N.J. native averaged 1.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game in 2012-13. While P.J. Hairston may have replaced Hubert in the starting lineup in February, the 6-foot-9 junior provided a defensive spark off the bench in the postseason.
“It felt good to come in and really give my team a boost, especially on the defensive end to get things going,” Hubert said. “I felt like a couple of games we were a little stagnant on defense and I came in and brought a little bit more energy to the defense to help the team.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to see the change in your team when you come in and [how] the energy you bring can affect everyone around you.”
Hubert’s conversation with Williams included an emphasis on solidifying his go-to move in the post, a jump hook from either side of the paint, while also being more aggressive offensively. He’s also practicing more back-to-the-basket moves in addition to a short jump shot.
Hubert’s primarily worked with assistant coach Hubert Davis, but former Tar Heel Eric Montross has taken time to offer his expertise to Hubert and sophomore Joel James. Defense and rebounding, however, remain his specialty.
“I’m not really trying to add too much because I don’t want to be worried about trying to do too many things offensively, but I do want to add just a few things,” Hubert said.
After packing on 27 pounds after his freshman year, Hubert currently weighs 223 pounds and hopes to reach 235-240 pounds by the end of summer. That process involves six meals a day, heavy in protein and good fats. He estimated his daily caloric intake at somewhere between 6,000-8,000.
“It’s very difficult to eat that much,” he said. “Normally at the end of the day, after I eat the six meals, I just pass out. You’re so full from eating so much every day…
“The hardest part for me is the morning because I’m not really a morning person, so to wake up and make sure you get that first meal in at a good time is always difficult.”
That added weight will help prevent opposing post players from moving Hubert out of position, which was problematic against larger opponents last season.