Three Tar Heels Named Preseason All-Americans by Jon Rothstein

UNC 2022-23 Player Preview: Armando Bacot

Armando Bacot did not come to North Carolina planning to be the old head big man on campus. Come in, show out, enter the NBA Draft, and get paid. That’s the dream of every highly-ranked basketball recruit out there. But Bacot’s journey is a road with hills and valleys, twists and curves that have led the Richmond, Va. native to this point in his career. As a senior, Bacot has established himself as one of the most beloved Tar Heels ever. He’ll be on every preseason All-American watchlist and will have the chance to lead his team back to Final Four with the goal of cutting down the nets.

At 6-foot-11, 235-pound center, Bacot enters his senior season in Chapel Hill following one of the most impressive individual performances in an NCAA Tournament run. Bacot became the first player in college basketball history with six double-doubles in one NCAA Tournament. His 99 rebounds across those six games were the second most ever in NCAA Tournament history. For the season, Bacot averaged 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds percent per game en route to first-team All-ACC honors. His shooting percentages (56.9 percent overall and 12.5 percent from three-point range) leave room for growth and an expansion of Bacot’s game.

“Coach (Hubert Davis) told me when I wanted to come back that I can’t come back if I’m not taking X amount of three-point attempts,” Bacot said this summer. “He kind of wanted me to reinvent myself as (to score). Coach wants me to get paid. Coach will probably take me a lot away from just posting up. I know those are my strengths, but Coach wants me to get paid. That says a lot about Coach Davis.”

Check out the Inside Carolina player preview on Bacot below:

The talking point for Davis and Bacot is the desire to expand the big man’s game to make him a more attractive commodity for the next level. Bacot will have opportunities to show off his shooting touch and range from deep, but his best attribute is his ability to control the paint. And that’s what North Carolina needs from him

“What he brings to Carolina specifically with guards like Caleb Love and RJ Davis is that physical presence in the middle,” said Inside Carolina‘s Adam Smith, “Just get every rebound and (Love and Davis) will go run the court. That tear he was on in the NCAA Tournament was historic. Coach Hubert Davis is always talking about wanting Armando to expand his game, to develop his shot. I just think that presence around the basket and defensively they need him as a rim protector.”

What makes Bacot so good was how productive he was for UNC down low last season. They need more of that this season.

“Consistency. If he can give you 10 rebounds and 13, 14, 15 points a game, that’s all this team needs,” Inside Carolina‘s Ross Martin said. “He has to be that strong interior presence, because they don’t have the big burly player on the roster. He has to stay in the game and stay out of foul trouble. His star has risen and he is a leader for this team.”

Davis understands that one great season only matters if you string them together. He sees Bacot as a player that will be the guy at the forefront again this season.

“It’s not necessarily average ‘blank’ rebounds a game, or he has to average more rebounds a game to show that he’s gotten better,” Davis said this summer. “One of the things that I’ve been trying to push and prod is he has incredible ability at the high post to be able to shoot the ball from the outside. I know that’s something that he can do. And I know that’s something that, because he wants to play in the NBA, he’s going to have to show that he can do that.

“I’m really excited to see Armando’s improvement from last year to this year. But one way that you can determine that is the consistency from year to year, and I really believe all of our players will be able to do that.”

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