Armando Bacot to return to UNC for senior season

North Carolina forward Armando Bacot (5) goes in for a dunk against Virginia during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Chris Seward/The News & Observer via AP)

North Carolina will get back one of the top players in the ACC after Armando Bacot announced that he will be returning to UNC for a fourth season with the Tar Heels, passing up an opportunity to go through the NBA Draft process.

Bacot led the Tar Heels in scoring and rebounding this season and set an ACC record for double-doubles. He was named to the All-Final Four team and won the Most Outstanding Player for the East Regional. Bacot was also first team All-ACC and third-team All-American. 

As early as March, Bacot was rumored to be considering a return to UNC. He was not a surefire first-round pick, according to most NBA mock drafts, and the NCAA’s change in NIL rules would allow Bacot to remain in school and still earn as much as a spot in the G League.

With a rebounding average of 10.0 for his career, Bacot is the sixth-highest Tar Heel rebounder ever and the highest since Sean May, 17 years ago. He joins May as the only UNC players since 1972 to average a double-double for his career.

Bacot has already set many school rebounding records and, barring injury, stands a good chance to top Tyler Hansbrough’s career rebounding mark of 1,219. Bacot will enter the season 218 rebounds shy of Hansbrough. He would need to average 6.8 rebounds per game to pass Hansbrough by the ACC Tournament. 

“Armando is the perfect example of what a Carolina player strives to be,” said coach Hubert Davis. “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.

“He’s coming back for his senior season for several reasons,” Davis continued. “One, he loves this place. Two, he has the desire to win a national championship. Getting to the final game and getting so close lit a fire inside of him to achieve that goal more than ever. He feels he can still get better and improve on parts of his game to put himself in a position to have a long and successful NBA career. And he feels this is the best place for him to do that. He loves his teammates, this university and his community, and we love him.”