#5 North Carolina Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
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Roy Williams and North Carolina typically avoid having to rely on top recruits for their success, but this season will have to be different. The Tar Heels will be without their top five scorers from last year’s team that shared the ACC regular season title with Virginia. Williams did bring in two grad transfers to help alleviate those departures. The key to North Carolina’s success this year will likely be their recruiting class led by five-star prospects Cole Anthony and Armando Bacot.
2018-19 Record: 29-7, 16-2
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Roy Williams
Coach Record: 453-133 at North Carolina, 871-234 overall
Key Departed Players:
Cameron Johnson, Forward, 16.9 ppg
Coby White, Guard, 16.1 ppg
Luke Maye, Forward, 14.9 ppg
Nassir Little, Forward, 9.8 ppg
Kenny Williams, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Seventh Woods, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Garrison Brooks, Junior, Forward, 7.9 ppg
Sterling Manley, Junior, Forward, 3.5 ppg

Brandon Robinson, Senior, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Leaky Black, Sophomore, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Brandon Huffman, Junior, Forward, 1.1 ppg
Andrew Platek, Junior, Guard, 1.1 ppg
Key New Players:
Cole Anthony, Freshman, Guard
Armando Bacot, Freshman, Forward
Jeremiah Francis, Freshman, Guard
Anthony Harris, Freshman, Guard
Christian Keeling, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Charleston Southern
Justin Pierce, Senior, Forward, Transfer from William and Mary
Garrison Brooks is the top returning scorer and lone returning starter for the new-look Tar Heels. Brooks started all 36 games at center last year and averaged 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds. Brooks mainly shared time with Sterling Manley who is also back this year. Manley missed 16 games with an injury, was limited when he returned and should be fully healthy this season. Role players Brandon Robinson, Leaky Black, Brandon Huffman and Andrew Platek are the only other pieces back from last season. The likeliest of the group to breakout would be Leaky Black. Black is a former four-star recruit who played just 23 games as a freshman due to injury. Black is a 6-foot-8 guard who can do a bit of everything as he averaged 2.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in just 10.3 minutes per game. The key to North Carolina’s success this season will be the new faces on the roster. Grad transfers Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling will both play big roles in their lone season with the Tar Heels. Pierce is a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals at William and Mary last season. Meanwhile, Keeling averaged 18.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals at Charleston Southern. Both players earned all-conference honors last season, but the ACC will be a much different challenge. The Tar Heels’ top ten recruiting class also will play a major role in how good this team can be this year. Cole Anthony and Armando Bacot were both five-star recruits and McDonald’s All-Americans. Anthony especially is expected to be an immediate star as a consensus top-five prospect in the nation. Along with four-star recruit Anthony Harris, North Carolina’s freshmen will be crucial for the team this year. The surplus of new faces for a Roy Williams team could mean it will take time for them to mesh but come March they could be Final Four contenders.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 85.8 (3rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.2 (223, 14)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (65, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (59, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.7 (77, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (90, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.3 (54, 6)
Rebound Margin: 10.4 (1, 1)
Assists Per Game: 18.8 (2, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (193, 10)
Madness 2020 NBA Draft Rankings:
#3 Cole Anthony
Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Cole Anthony
#20 Armando Bacot
#70 Anthony Harris