By R.L. Bynum
The preseason accolades just keep coming for top-ranked North Carolina, with senior center Armando Bacot becoming the fourth Tar Heel this week to make to a 20-player watchlist for a national men’s basketball award.
Bacot made to the list for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which honors the nation’s top center, on Friday.
Pete Nance made the Karl Malone Award list (honoring the top power forward) on Thursday, Leaky Black made the Julius Erving Award list (small forward) on Wednesday and Caleb Love made the Bob Cousy Award list (point guard) on Monday.
Bacot, the nearly unanimous Preseason ACC Player of the Year and a Preseason All-America, earned an NCAA-record 31 double-doubles last season, including six in the NCAA tournament. Bacot led UNC in scoring (16.3 points per game), rebounding (13.1), field-goal percentage (56.9%) and blocks (65) to become the first Tar Heel in program history to lead the team in those categories in consecutive seasons.
The other ACC players on the Jabbar Award list are Clemson’s P.J. Hall and Duke’s Dereck Lively II.
No ACC player has won the award, which started in 2015.
The only one of the five watchlists announced this week that didn’t include a Tar Heel was the Jerry West Award for the top shooting guard in the nation. ACC players making that list were Duke’s Tyrese Proctor, Miami’s Isaiah Wong, N.C. State’s Terquavion Smith, Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin and Syracuse’s Joseph Girard III.
Photo via @UNC_Basketball
RJ is under appreciated while IMO it may be premature to put such high expectations on Nance.