The UNC basketball program has high expectations heading into the 2022-23 season — a different vibe from a season ago.
Now with a year under Hubert Davis, fans and players saw what the UNC offense would look like. Not only is it a modernization of what the Tar Heels were doing before, but there are also a lot of NBA tendencies involved.
For Armando Bacot, the 6-foot-10 center came in second in ACC Player of the Year voting last season after averaging 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He averaged 15.3 points and 16.5 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament, en route to a National Championship runner-up appearance.
After announcing his decision to return to Carolina for another season, he immediately became one of the top players in college basketball.
And, according to numerous colleges coaches polled anonymously, Bacot is one of three players eyeing National Player of the Year.
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander surveyed roughly 100 coaches and Bacot received the third-most votes for National Player of the Year — with 10.2 percent of the vote.
In first was Drew Timme (Gonzaga) with 43.9 percent of the vote and second was Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky) with 33.7 percent of the vote.
Here were some of the notable quotes from coaches who chose Bacot.
“Bacot’s numbers will be off the charts and old teammates around him will have them winning at high level.”
“He finished the season playing his best and I have to imagine the draft process kept him on the path of improvement and development. He is experienced, he has won at a high level and he has the ability to not only dictate an opponent’s defensive game plan, but also adjust their offensive game plan.”
“In an era where the traditional big is becoming extinct, it is funny many of the best returners in college are more-traditional big men — and he is the best of that group. Can absolutely dominate the game by the pressure he puts on the backboard, and different from Tshiebwe. He has touch and skill around the rim.”
Bacot leads the Tar Heels who will be returning four starters from last year. They also added Northwestern transfer big Pete Nance to replace Brady Manek.
Bacot became the first player in NCAA Tournament history with six double-doubles in one NCAA Tournament and also set the ACC record for double-doubles in a single season (31) and tied the NCAA record that David Robinson set in 1985-86.
Regardless of how Bacot finishes in National Player of the Year voting, he…