On 17 August, Armando Bacot was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player Development Coalition. The Coalition is meant to provide the NABC with feedback from the student athlete point of view on a wide range of issues. The biggest issue on college basketball’s mind, both player and coach, is COVID-19 and how to safely conduct a season.
Last Friday, Armando was a guest on the ACC Network’s “Packer and Durham” morning show. They discussed his role at the NABC Player Development Coalition in some detail:
ICYMI: Armando on #PackerAndDurham this AM— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) August 28, 2020
NABC Player Development Coalition
Safe return to play
Last year's @accnetwork doc
The 2020-21 squad
Mando's hair#CarolinaFamily | @iget_buckets35 pic.twitter.com/u9GKarUe3w
This is an impressive leadership role for Armando to take, both for the Tar Heels and all men’s college basketball players. He seems to understand the importance of this opportunity too, saying, “We get to have a voice in the decision making for our players coming in.” After witnessing many college football programs bungle their returns to campus and practice, he’s focused on 1.) a favorable “return to play” model, and 2.) player safety.
Regarding a men’s college basketball season, Bacot said that in a “perfect” scenario, whatever the season ends up being, it should be safe enough to play without any stoppages due to COVID clusters. The players do not want to start a season, only for it to stop midway, and simply start over next school year.
Bacot also said that the season would likely be two-thirds long and have some sort of tournament. The start date doesn’t matter, so long as when the season starts, there are no breaks. While this is good news overall for college basketball fans across the country, this is devastating news for me, as I currently live in Honolulu during a year that Carolina was coming to destroy Hawai’i before going on to win the Maui Invitational. I’ll be hard pressed to believe that 2020 will allow this small ray of sunshine to brighten my life.
The NABC has discussed possible logistics for the season with Bacot and the Player Development Coalition (which also includes former UNC targets Keion Brooks (Kentucky) and Wendell Moore (Duke) among its members). They have talked about an NBA-style “bubble” but don’t have anything concrete to share.
Armando is invested in having a college basketball season. Tar Heel Blog expects him to be much improved next season, as he has some ground to make up for NBA scouts. Hopefully with his thoughtful contributions to the NABC’s season planning, we’ll all be able to enjoy some sort of season, even if March Madness is in May.