This year’s NBA Draft was bizarre to say the least when it came to big men. Sure, we saw Victor Wembanyama get picked immediately by San Antonio, but notable standout college bigs like Armando Bacot (did not enter the draft), Drew Timme, and Oscar Tshiebwe had next to no buzz surrounding them going into the draft despite what all three players have done for their respective schools. Is it a surprise? For those familiar with what NBA bigs look like nowadays, not really, which is why Bacot has been in the lab with a NBA trainer to help him improve his game.
UNC Basketball star Armando Bacot getting some offseason work in with NBA Trainer Chris Brickley ahead of his final season in Chapel Hill. pic.twitter.com/prcQXgvxct— Nick Delahanty (@NickDelahanty) July 15, 2023
It’s no secret that Bacot has spent the last 2-3 years trying to expand his game to the perimeter, but each season it has been really difficult for him to finally do so in a meaningful way. To be fair, the 2022-23 team didn’t give him very good opportunities to even try given all of the issues that transpired, but it still meant that Bacot was tied down to his role as a dominant post player. If Bacot wants to make it to the NBA, this is his last chance to show scouts that he has a skillset beyond what we’ve seen so far. It is worth noting that Chris Brickley has worked with former Tar Heel Cole Anthony, incoming Tar Heel Elliot Cadeau, future Tar Heel Ian Jackson, and former Duke star Paolo Banchero. It’s safe to say that he knows a thing or two about helping players excel on all three levels of the court, but we’ll have to wait and see what the end results are for Bacot come November.
On top of this being Bacot’s last chance to get selected in the NBA Draft, it is also the last opportunity he has to win a national championship. UNC came so close to pulling it off during the 2021-22 season, but ultimately Bacot’s injury was too much and the entire team was gassed. Most of the players returned for the 2022-23 season, but things just didn’t go as planned, and a lot of players left after the season ended. UNC head coach Hubert Davis did his best to reload the roster during the offseason, so hopefully we will see a much improved team capable of returning to the Final Four.
What are your thoughts about Bacot’s dedication to developing his perimeter game? Do you think Brickley will be able to help him become the player he wants to be? Let us know in the comments below.