On Thursday afternoon, 2019 5-star big man, Armando Bacot, verbally committed to North Carolina over Duke, VCU, Georgia, and Oklahoma State, among others. Bacot will join four-star point guard Jeremiah Francis as the second commit in the class for Carolina.
Roy Williams made Bacot a priority in this class, and for good reason. The 6-10 power forward has elite hands and touch around the basket, allowing him to be a formidable post-up threat offensively. Bacot is also a very good rebounder, something that Williams loves in his bigs.
If that scouting report sounds familiar, it should - Bacot has the ideal makeup of a big man under Roy Williams, which will make him a perfect fit in Chapel Hill. Scouts have compared Bacot to former UNC bigs, Kennedy Meeks and Tyler Zeller. This should be music to the ears of Tar Heel fans. The impact of landing Bacot will be tremendous for several reasons:
Will help prevent UNC from having to go small again
In recent recruiting classes, UNC has struggled to bring in top tier big men. The effects of these recruiting misses became extremely evident last season, when the unexpected early departure of Tony Bradley forced Roy Williams to use a “small ball” starting lineup.
The lineup had its success, but was ultimately the team’s downfall in March, when a much bigger and stronger Texas A&M team dominated UNC on the boards and inside the paint.
With the addition of Bacot along with the expected development of current UNC bigs Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley, and Brandon Huffman, this will not be an issue in the future, and Williams will be able to use a traditional lineup with which he has had much more success with in the past.
Will help recruiting overall in the 2019 class
Shortly after his commitment, Bacot made it clear that he will be making a significant effort to bring fellow 5-star players with him to Chapel Hill. Bacot told Evan Daniels of 247 Sports that he will be reaching out to top guard Cole Anthony. “My main goal is to just try to get one of my good friends, Cole Anthony, on board. That’s where I’m going to work the hardest to try and get him to UNC. Of course his recruitment is hard to tell, but I’m definitely going to be recruiting him the hardest because he’s one of my best friends.”
Bacot also tweeted at Anthony, along with top-30 recruits Josh Green, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Tre Mann, letting them know that he will be in their ears about teaming up with him at Carolina over the next few months. Bacot’s influence could be a huge help to Williams and staff in landing some more of these coveted prospects.
Should finally put the “Roy Williams can’t recruit” narrative to bed
In the midst of the NCAA’s investigation into academic fraud at UNC, Roy Williams suffered a lot of big recruiting misses. Rival coaches could simply tell recruits that UNC was soon going to be hit with a postseason ban or worse, scaring them away from Chapel Hill. Former top-three recruit and 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft Brandon Ingram even admitted that he would have chosen UNC over Duke if not for the uncertainty in the ongoing investigation.
That investigation finally concluded last October, when the NCAA announced UNC had broken no rules and would not receive any penalties. That news, along with Carolina’s recent success has ended the program’s relatively dry spell in recruiting.
Landing players like Bacot will reinforce that to the national media and naysayers alike, which will return the respect to Williams that he deserves. With a great class in 2018, and a strong start to 2019, the “Roy Williams can’t recruit” narrative seems to be a thing of the past.