13 April 2022
Chapel Hill, N.C. — UNC forward/center Armando Bacot Tweeted on Wednesday that be plans to return to the Tar Heels for a senior season.
In the 90-second video, he says, “On the court, we got so close this year,” in reference to UNC’s run through the NCAA Tournament to the championship game, including the Heels’ victory over rival Duke in the Final Four.
Bacot tweeted a video on Wednesday morning with the text ‘Tar Heel forever.’
Bacot was not at full strength in either Final Four game, fighting though an ankle injury suffered with about 5 minutes to play against Duke. With roughly a minute to play in the national championship against Kansas, he appeared to slip and re aggravate the injury. Despite playing through pain, Bacot scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the championship, in which UNC fell to Kansas 72-69.
With Bacot’s return, the Tar Heels are likely Final Four pick next season, keeping the 22-year-old’s drive to win a championship high.
“Armando is the perfect example of what a Carolina player strives to be,” said UNC 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. 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.”
Bacot was a finalist for ACC Player of the Year and was first-team All-ACC. He averaged 16.3 points a game and blocked 65 shots this season. Bacot, who went to IMG Academy, was ranked 10th on the list of 2022 college centers on nbadraftroom.com and projected as a possible second-round pick.
The Tar Heels are also awaiting decisions from guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis. Last spring, Bacot tested the waters, going through the NBA draft process, but ultimately decided to return for his junior year.