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Meeks Returning for Senior Year

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kennedy Meeks is returning for his senior season.

The Tar Heel center, who entered his name in NBA Draft prior to the late April deadline but did not hire an agent, announced on Twitter he would return to UNC for his final year of eligibility.

UNC followed the Twitter announcement with an official press release:

University of North Carolina junior forward Kennedy Meeks will withdraw from the 2016 NBA Draft process and return to UNC for his senior season in 2016-17.

The Charlotte, N.C., native has averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds and shot 55.4 percent from the floor in 104 games over his first three seasons.

“I’m thankful I had the chance to explore my draft options, but I’m excited about the opportunity to rejoin my teammates and work toward having another outstanding season at UNC,” says Meeks.  “I appreciate the support my coaches and teammates gave me during this process as we gathered information about my professional opportunities at this time. The feedback on what I have to work on so that I can have a great senior year, help my team have a great season and be ready to take that next step is invaluable.”

Meeks has started 77 games, including 28 in 2015-16 when the Tar Heels won 33 games, the ACC regular season and Tournament championships and won the NCAA East Regional. He averaged 13.3 points in UNC’s NCAA Tournament wins over Indiana, Notre Dame and Syracuse, and needs only 19 points to become the 73rd 1,000-point scorer in Carolina history.

“Kennedy did the right thing in taking the time to see where he stood with the NBA Draft at this point in his career, an opportunity we encourage all of our players to take,” says Carolina head coach Roy Williams. “I think Kennedy’s made the right decision in returning to school to finish his degree and put himself in better position toward playing professional basketball, which is his dream. If he works hard this summer, he can have a big-time senior season and also help our team reach its goals.”

UNC will return an experience frontcourt which will have Isaiah Hicks and Meeks as starters with Luke Maye and freshman Tony Bradley coming off the bench.

UNC still awaits word on the plans of sophomore wing Justin Jackson who received an NBA Combine invite and will likely use the full length of the process before making a decision.