After what feels like a lifetime since UNC was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Wisconsin, we are now able to officially say that Roy Williams, Garrison Brooks, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Walker Kessler have all exited the program. What this means is that as of right now, the Tar Heels do not have a player on their roster that is taller than 6’8 after a season of having three players 6’10 and taller. While we still don’t know exactly what Hubert Davis’ plans are when it comes to the system he would like to implement, one thing is clear: Carolina needs at least a true center. That’s where Armando Bacot factors in.
If we were all being honest with ourselves, once Walker Kessler announced that he was entering the transfer portal Armando Bacot became arguably the most important player on the roster to keep an eye on. Despite the fact that the transfer portal could bless Davis with some much-needed depth, it’s still important to have a big that has familiarity with some of the philosophies that I could see UNC’s newest head coach adopting from Roy Williams. More importantly, Bacot has been a big time ambassador for the program, as we have often seen him on social media making his sales pitch to recruits to join the team. It’s worth noting that just because he himself has decided to test the NBA Draft waters doesn’t mean that he felt like his job of recruiting was over, as he was very open in his attempts to bring Walker Kessler back to Chapel Hill. Well, alright, he was open in is own unique way:
It’s also worth noting that Bacot was actively recruiting the newest Tar Heel Justin McKoy prior to the announcement last week:
When looking at Bacot’s NBA Draft stock, there is little to no noise coming from outlets that release mock drafts. It’s been pretty fascinating seeing how little he’s discussed when it comes to the draft, as he has definitely stepped up his game since his freshman season at Carolina. Bacot finished his sophomore season averaging 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, and shot 62.8% from the field, which is a huge improvement from the 46.9% he shot his freshman year. He was also in much better shape this past season, and with that we saw a center that was much stronger and more agile than before.
However, there are parts of Armando Bacot’s game that can still be improved or expanded. His 15-foot jumper wasn’t bad this season, but it is something that can use some improvement over the summer. One also has to wonder how much freedom Hubert Davis will give his big men to shoot from farther out, and if that would open the window for Bacot to develop a three-point shot, which is something that we are seeing more and more from centers in the NBA. There’s an argument that can be made that it isn’t necessary, but it is definitely something that will boost his draft stock quite a bit. NBA scouts will likely have a fair share of feedback for him, and from there he will be able to make his decision.
At the end of the day, I have a feeling that we will see Bacot return to Chapel Hill, but it’s far from guaranteed. However, I’d imagine he entered the draft process to get some valuable feedback that he can use to improve his game during his junior year. The only real evidence that suggests that is his continued recruiting of players to stay/transfer to UNC, but maybe that is all of the evidence that is needed. Still, Hubert Davis’ job has only begun, and Bacot returning would greatly improve the depth issue.
What do you think of UNC’s current roster situation? Do you think Armando Bacot will stay, or does he move on to the pros? Let us know in the comments below.