Armando Bacot, the North Carolina Tar Heels’ all-time rebounding and double-double leader, is the team’s MVP for the 2022-23 season.
Bacot battled through injuries this season, including spraining both ankles and bruising a shoulder. He missed just one game this season, a testament to his toughness.
And it is no surprise that his stellar junior season led to more defensive attention from opponents during his senior year. Bacot was often double and triple-teamed in the post, especially with a poor shooting team around him.
Despite a slight drop in points and rebound averages last season, Bacot still performed at a high level with a double-double in 19 of 32 games played.
Bacot earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press, Sporting News, and USBWA. Notably, he was the only ACC player named to an AP or USBWA All-America team this season.
Below is Bacot’s stat line for this season:
Armando Bacot 2022-23 Stats
Bacot led the team in rebounds and field goal percentage.
As we dig into the stats, the importance of Bacot to this year’s team becomes even more apparent.
Bacot was Carolina’s scoring leader per 40 minutes (21.0) and per 100 possessions (30.0). Even his rebounding went up per 40 minutes (13.7).
The advanced stats build on his MVP resume.
Bacot’s true shooting percentage, a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account two-point field goals, three-point field goals, and free throws, increases to 58.7 percent.
Bacot led the team in win shares (5.0), an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to their offense and defense. He led the team in offensive win shares (3.3) and was just two-tenths behind Leaky Black for the team lead in defensive win shares (1.6).
The opponents’ focus on Bacot led to the highest free throw attempt rate of his career (62.6 percent).
And with the team’s shooting woes this season, Bacot tallied the highest offensive rebounding percentage of his career (15.2 percent).
But at the end of the season, Bacot and the team did not perform as expected.
Throughout the season, Bacot was an outspoken leader that made it clear that the effort and results were not meeting the standard of UNC basketball.
This came to a boil after the embarrassing loss at Wake Forest.
After a closed-door meeting after the game, this is what Bacot had to say:
It’s frustrating, it’s frustrating, This one definitely hurt, but I’m not gonna quit. I love this university too much. And I love the game of basketball too much to quit. Like I told the guys, these next couple of days are going to be hard because I mean, we did put on a bad performance. People are gonna be mad and rightfully so, you should be, but we’ve got to block out the noise and keep playing. I’m not quitting.
With Bacot’s announcement on Wednesday that he will return for his fifth season, he is putting action behind his words.
This season and the last two tumultuous weeks have proven that nothing is guaranteed for Carolina basketball. The program requires leaders on and off the court, and Bacot was steady in a season filled with more lows than highs.