Amidst the disappointment of last season’s conclusion, Armando Bacot lifted our collective spirit by going full-on Ric Flair, screaming “I will never retire! WOOOO!” Ok, maybe not an exact quote, but that’s how I imagine it translated in the minds of the rest of the ACC when he announced he was returning for season five in a Tar Heel uniform.
Now, after earning third-team All-American honors and finishing in the top 3 in voting for ACC Player of the Year last season, he will enter the upcoming slate as a part of the preseason AP All-American team, alongside Purdue’s Zach Edey, Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, and some Filipowski dude out of Durham.
The 6’11”, 240-pound Richmond native seems determined to not only extend his all-time UNC double-double and rebounding record, but flat-out put it out of reach for the foreseeable future. A model of consistency, a fan-favorite, and a fantastic ambassador/recruiter for the university, Armando is also the first player to lead the team in FG% three years in a row since Sam Perkins in the 80’s! Bacot’s been a contributor since year one, averaging nine points and eight rebounds in his freshman campaign and has steadily improved, last season tallying a 16 and 10 clip per game.
In the last few Tar Heel championship seasons, each team has had certain things in common: a playmaking point guard (Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson, Joel Berry), an elite shutdown defender (Jackie Manuel, Danny Green, Theo Pinson), and a massive rebounding machine on the interior (Sean May, Tyler Hansbrough, Kennedy Meeks). Don’t @ me, I know it’s way too early but maybe, just maybe: Cadeau, Trimble... Bacot?
Come on, it’s preseason. We can dream, right?
Regardless, it’s a well-deserved, esteemed honor for Armando Bacot. So join me and Tar Heel Nation in saying, for one final time, “Welcome back!”