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UNC Basketball: Player of the Year - Armando Bacot

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Armando Bacot was the difference-maker in many games this season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Wisconsin at North Carolina Joshua Bickel-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the 2020-21 season, Tar Heel Blog awarded 20 Player of the Game awards. Below is the breakdown of those awards:

  • Garrison Brooks: Six
  • Armando Bacot: Five
  • Day’Ron Sharpe: Three
  • Kerwin Walton: Two
  • R.J. Davis: Two
  • Caleb Love: One
  • Walker Kessler: One

Despite Brooks earning six THB POG awards, only two were in 2021. Bacot, on the other hand, earned all but one in this calendar year. The 6’10” sophomore made strides during ACC play, and rightfully earned a spot on the All-ACC Third Team and All-ACC Tournament First Team.

Here is the stat line for Bacot in 2020-21:

Armando Bacot 2020-21 Stats

Games Played Games Started Minutes Per Game Field Goal Made Field Goal Attempts Field Goal Percentage Free Throws Made Free Throws Attempts Free Throw Percentage Total Points Points Per Game Offensive Rebounds Defensive Rebounds Total Rebounds Rebounds Per Game Blocks
Games Played Games Started Minutes Per Game Field Goal Made Field Goal Attempts Field Goal Percentage Free Throws Made Free Throws Attempts Free Throw Percentage Total Points Points Per Game Offensive Rebounds Defensive Rebounds Total Rebounds Rebounds Per Game Blocks
29 28 22.8 137 218 .628 84 127 .661 358 12.3 92 135 227 7.8 26

Bacot led the North Carolina Tar Heels in scoring, scoring average, field goal makes, field goal percentage, free throws made, free throw attempts, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, rebounding average, and blocks.

He was tops in the conference in offensive rebound percentage and total rebound percentage. He ranked second in the ACC in field goal makes, offensive rebounds, total rebounds, and free throw attempts.

The most impressive part is that Bacot’s game improved throughout the season. He finished with six straight games in double figures, with half of those games as double-doubles.

In the ACC Tournament, Bacot shot 65.5 percent from the floor while averaging 16.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. During league play, Bacot’s scoring average was a notch better than his overall season average at 13.1 points per ACC game.

In both wins and losses throughout the season, Bacot was a key indicator of how UNC would end the game. For most of the season, as went Bacot, so did Carolina. In 11 losses, Bacot registered single digit points and single digit rebounds in five of those games.

The best shooting performance in a loss for UNC was 44.6 percent against Georgia Tech in December. In losses, Bacot averaged 57.5 percent from the floor, but was held to a scoring average of less than 10 points.

What changed in these tough losses was how Bacot was often the Tar Heel giving UNC a chance, especially in the second half. In three March losses, Bacot averaged 20 points per game, and shot 62.2 percent from the floor.

When looking at advanced statistics, Bacot further proved his Player of the Year award. Bacot ranks second in the ACC and 13th in the NCAA with a 29.5 Player Efficiency Rating. His offensive rating is 127.1, good for fourth in the league, while his defensive rating is 95.6, ranking fifth in the ACC.

As questions swirl about the personnel for next year, Bacot has the opportunity to build upon his successes this season. After the ACC Tournament victory over Virginia Tech, much was made about how head coach Roy Williams pushed Bacot during the game and in the locker room to be tougher.

Everyone saw how Armando responded. Imagine another year of that, perhaps with more normalcy than this past calendar year.

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