UNC basketball players return next season
North Carolina’s surprising run through the NCAA Tournament came to an end Monday night.
The No. 8 seeded Tar Heels fell to Kansas, 72-69, in the national title game.
UNC rode on the backs of its stars to New Orleans. Now, how many of these stars are returning for 2022-23?
No player has announced any future plans yet, but it’s never too early to take a look at what the roster might look like next season.
Did Caleb Love and Armando Bacot’s postseason run increase their NBA draft stock? Did Brady Manek make his way to drawing boards? And which first-year player will have an immediate impact?
Which UNC players enter the NBA draft?
UNC’s brightest stars at the end of the season are Love, Bacot and Manek. It’s no coincidence that the trio have appeared on a few fictional drafts, though none of the three appear to be projected first-round picks.
Bacot, a junior and the team’s leading scorer (16.3 ppg) and rebounder (13.1 per game), shows up in the second round of some mock drafts. NBADraft.net has Bacot ranked 48th overall for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
another website, www.nbadraftroom.comhas the 6-foot-10 Bacot in the second round for the Sacramento Kings.
Love (16.0 ppg) averaged 20 ppg in the NCAA Tournament heading into Monday’s game against the Jayhawks. A sophomore combo guard, Love (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) thrived in March playing off the ball. NBADraft.net has Love ranked 33rd overall for the Indiana Pacers.
Manek (15.2 ppg) has scored in double digits in every NCAA Tournament game. NBADraft.net ranks Manek 46th overall for the Detroit Pistons.
Leaky Black could return thanks to a COVID year. Black participated in senior nighttime activity against Syracuse on Feb. 28. Black hasn’t officially announced his plans for 2022-23, but his veteran leadership and ability to fill out stat sheets would be welcomed by Hubert Davis. Black has started 96 games in his college career.
Manek also participated in senior night activities at UNC’s Smith Center. After playing four seasons in Oklahoma, Manek cannot return to Chapel Hill for another season.
Who enters ?
Davis added three four-star recruits to its 2023 class: point guard Seth Trimble, center Jalen Washington and forward Tyler Nickel make up the No. 3 recruiting class in the ACC, according to 247Sports. The trio have the UNC class ranked No. 11 in the country.
Trimble is the younger brother of former Tar Heels forward JP Tokoto. Trimble may have the opportunity to see the court sooner rather than later. If Love leaves, that would mean RJ Davis would be the primary returning ball handler. Davis and Love shared point guard duties for most of the season. Trimble could step in right away and help rotate the guard.
Besides, Will Shaver, a 6-10 center who was part of the 2022 recruiting class but didn’t sign up until January, will help the team in the job. He is not expected to be an immediate starter.
Who could see their minutes increase?
Donrez Styles saw his roles increase later in the year. Davis began to deepen his bench during the NCAA Tournament, playing more second Puff Johnson once back from injury, and Kinston rookie Styles.
The on-the-spot work Styles has seen, especially with a season-high 25 under against defending champion Baylor in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, will only boost his confidence heading into next season. He scored a season-high nine points in that game.
Speaking of Johnson, who had 11 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes against Kansas, a full offseason could propel him into the starting lineup a year from now, depending on who returns. He only played the last 15 games of his first season and only played in January last season. Justin McKoy is the other reserve who played significant minutes in the playoffs. The Virginia transfer could continue this momentum next year and play a key role.
2021-22 UNC Basketball Roster
|0||Anthony Harris||g||6-4||195||R-So.||Woodbridge, Virginia.|
|2||Caleb Love||g||6-4||195||So.||Saint Louis, Mo.|
|4||RD Davis||g||6-0||175||So.||White Plains, NY|
|5||Armand Bacot||F/C||6-10||240||Jr.||Richmond, Virginia.|
|11||D’Marco Dunn||g||6-4||185||Prof.||Tucson, Arizona.|
|13||Dawson Garcia||F||6-11||235||So.||Prior Lake, Minn.|
|14||Johnson Puff||g||6-8||205||So.||Moon Township, Pennsylvania.|
|21||Go Shave||F||6-10||265||Prof.||Birmingham, Alabama.|
|22||Justin Mc Koy||F||6-8||220||Jr.||Raleigh|
|24||Kerwin Walton||g||6-5||210||So.||Hopkins, Minnesota.|
|30||Jackson Watkins||g||6-1||175||Jr.||Richmond, Virginia.|
|35||Ryan McAdoo||F||6-5||210||R-Sr.||Boca Raton, Florida.|
|45||Brady Manek||F||6-9||230||Gr.||Harra, Okla.|
This story was originally published April 4, 2022 11:45 p.m.