North Carolina's Armando Bacot returns to college basketball
April 14, 2022
Armando Bacot had a grand Final Four in 2022 for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Despite being in foul trouble, he still contributed 15 points and 15 rebounds in Tar Heels' loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. He also fouled Duke Blue Devils' Mark Williams in North Carolina's semifinal victory.
After the Tar Heels defeated Duke in the Final Four, Bacot decided to return to the team for his senior season. He announced the decision during a press conference on the day of the championship game.
In a statement released by the school, coach Hubert Davis praised Bacot for his achievements on and off the court. He was also named to the Academic All-ACC team, and Davis believed that Bacot was the best player in the conference.
"Armando is the perfect example of what a Carolina player strives to be," Davis said. "He has excelled at the highest level as a player, in the classroom and in the community.
"I loved hearing the news yesterday that he made the Academic All-ACC team after the season he had, which wasn't just good, and not just great, it was historic. I felt he was the best player in ACC and the best big man in the country."
Star quality display
Bacot displayed genuine star quality during a press conference held during the Final Four. He talked about his accomplishments and the team's success. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 16.3 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 56.9 percent shooting per game during North Carolina's championship run.
Due to the NBA's recent trend toward big men with elite mobility and perimeter skills, Bacot was not expected to be selected in the first draft round. Bacot will, instead, be a first-team All-American when the next college basketball season begins. Despite his impressive performance, he was not considered an All-American due to the team's inconsistent play.
After the Final Four, Mike Krzyzewski, the head coach of Duke, told Bacot that he was the coach's choice for ACC Player of the Year. However, Wake Forest Demon Deacons' Alondes Williams was named the conference's Player of the Year.
UNC's inconsistent play
Bacot attributed the team's inconsistent play during the regular season to the lack of cohesion among his teammates. The 22-year-old said that everything would start to flow if the team worked together.
In addition to underwhelming performances, the team made various changes to its offensive strategy throughout the season, and Bacot noted that the team lacked the necessary personnel to implement these changes.
"I would just say, as a team, we weren't playing together," Bacot said. "I feel like all of us were just trying to make plays specifically for ourselves. Once we started to play team ball and we defined our roles more, how we were going to be as a team, I felt like that's when everything started to flow."
Bacot averaged over 10 points and five rebounds per game throughout his college career. This season, his rebounding total was the fifth-highest in school history, surpassing Brice Johnson's total from 2016. He is expected to break Tyler Hansbrough's record for career rebounding in his fourth season.