Hubert Davis is getting Kenny Smith's stamp of approval after his first year at North Carolina -- the former Tar Heels star tells TMZ Sports he's "super proud" of his team's new coach.

Davis and the 8-seed Tar Heels were 20 minutes away from cutting down the nets at the national championship game on Monday ... but the Kansas Jayhawks were able to come back from down 16 to win it all.

While the loss was crushing for UNC fans, pretty much nobody predicted the Heels would make it all the way to the title game.