#15 North Carolina Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #15
Conference Rank: #4 ACC
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North Carolina had far and away their worst season under Roy Williams in 2019-20. The Tar Heels won just 14 games, their lowest in a single season since 2001-02. Cole Anthony suffering an injury early in the year didn’t help, but it appeared to be a lost season regardless. This year, Roy Williams brings in a top 3 recruiting class in the nation to help get North Carolina back to their winning ways. The Tar Heels return a good amount of production from last season as well and should find themselves back in the mix for an ACC title.
2019-20 Record: 14-19, 6-14
Coach: Roy Williams
Coach Record: 467-152 at North Carolina, 885-253 overall
Key Departed Players:
Cole Anthony, Guard, 18.5 ppg

Brandon Robinson, Guard, 11.8 ppg
Christian Keeling, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Justin Pierce, Forward, 5.0 ppg
Jeremiah Francis, Guard, 3.3 ppg
Brandon Huffman, Center, 1.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Garrison Brooks, Senior, Forward, 16.8 ppg

Armando Bacot, Sophomore, Forward, 9.6 ppg
Anthony Harris, RS Freshman, Guard, 6.8 ppg
Leaky Black, Junior, Guard, 6.5 ppg
Andrew Platek, Senior, Guard, 3.9 ppg
K.J. Smith, Senior, Guard, 0.9 ppg
Sterling Manley, Junior, Forward, DNP Last Season
Key New Players:
RJ Davis, Freshman, Guard
Puff Johnson, Freshman, Guard
Creighton Lebo, Freshman, Center
Caleb Love, Freshman, Guard
Day’Ron Sharpe, Freshman, Forward
Kerwin Walton, Freshman, Guard
North Carolina enters 2020-21 with a strong balance of returning production and incoming talent. Big men Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot are back to man the frontcourt. Brooks broke out as a junior and averaged 16.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Bacot was a bit underwhelming as a freshman, but big men tend to develop well under Roy Williams. Anthony Harris flashed in just five games last season, but the year counted as a redshirt for him. Leaky Black, Andrew Platek and K.J. Smith also all return to provide backcourt depth. Sterling Manley didn’t play last season due to injury and his return will be beneficial for the Tar Heels. The success of North Carolina will likely ultimately hinge on the success of the elite recruiting class that Roy Williams has brought in. Caleb Love, Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler are all five-star prospects while R.J. Davis, Puff Johnson and Kerwin Walton are four-star recruits. Relying heavily on freshmen can be dangerous, but Roy Williams is the kind of coach that can handle young players with that much talent. North Carolina had high expectations based off their recruiting class last season as well though which turned out quite poorly. However, it would be very surprising if a team with as much success in their history as North Carolina fails to rebound.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (138th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.8 (270, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.0 (266, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.2 (130, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (317, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.4 (310, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (264, 13)
Rebound Margin: 7.6 (10, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (80, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (161, 10)
Madness 2021 NBA Draft Rankings:
#11 Caleb Love
#45 Day'ron Sharpe
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#13 Day'Ron Sharpe
#13 Caleb Love
#20 Walker Kessler
#45 R.J. Davis
#59 Donovan Johnson
#110 Kerwin Walton