UNC big man Bacot to return for junior season with Tar Heels


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The hand-wringing is over for UNC basketball fans. On Monday, center Armando Bacot announced he will return to Chapel Hill for his junior season with the Tar Heels.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Carolina head coach Hubert Davis. “Number one, I am really happy he went through the process. We completely support that. We want our guys to have two basketball goals. One is to have the experience of cutting down the nets and being the last team standing on that final Monday night of the season.

“We also want them to reach all their dreams and goals, and their dreams and goals are to play in the NBA. We 100 percent supported Armando’s pursuit to see where he stood right now in terms of going to the NBA, and we support that for all of our players.”

Last season, Bacot became the first Tar Heel to lead the team in scoring, field goal percentage, rebounding, and blocks since first-team All-America Brice Johnson in 2015-16. It made him start thinking about playing professionally — so much so that after Roy Williams retired and Hubert Davis was brought on to replace him, Bacot announced is intention to enter the NBA draft.

Bacot said then he talked with both Williams and Davis about going through the process to learn how it works. He wanted to show his skills to some teams and get some feedback on what he needs to work on so he can make the best decision about the next step. Most mock drafts did not have him being taken. When he wasn’t invited to the NBA Draft Combine, most figured it was just a matter of time before he would make it official he was coming back to Chapel Hill, which he did in an announcement Monday on Twitter.

“I’m thankful Armando got an opportunity to work out with some teams and he played off-the-charts great. As much as I am pleased that he was able to go through the process and flourish in that process, I am just as ecstatic that he is coming back to Carolina,” Davis said.

“I recruited him in high school, helped coach him the last two seasons, and couldn’t ask for anything better than to be around him as a head coach. He’s our team leader, our captain, he’s worked extremely hard, he’s our leading returning scorer and rebounder, and for us to have a chance next year we need to have someone like Armando.”

With the departures of Garrison Brooks and Day’Ron Sharpe, Bacot figures to be the go to big man and will likely put up some much bigger numbers this coming season.

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