Bacot says he’s returning for a fifth season at Carolina

By R.L. Bynum

Armando Bacot is coming back to Carolina for a fifth season.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium broke the news Wednesday afternoon after talking to Bacot.

“The primary reason I am coming back is because I don’t want to leave North Carolina this way. But I also know I need to improve and feel like this is the best place to do that,” Bacot told Goodman after the Tar Heels finished 20–13 and missed the NCAA tournament. “I’m using my last year of eligibility,” Bacot said. “I felt it was the right decision for my future.”

Bacot is UNC’s career leader in rebounds (1,003), double-doubles (68) and double-figure rebounding games (75). He earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press, Sporting News and USBWA this season and also was a third-team pick in 2021-22. He was the only ACC player on the first-, second- or third-team AP or USBWA All-America teams. Bacot has averaged 13.7 points and 10.1 rebounds over his career, including 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds (which led the ACC) last season after averaging 16.3 and 13.1 as a junior.

Bacot will be the second UNC player to get two senior days and play five seasons after Leaky Black returned for a fifth season.

The news came on the same day that Puff Johnson became the fourth Carolina player to enter the transfer portal, joining Justin McKoy, Dontrez Styles and Tyler Nickel.

Bacot, who became the 19th Tar Heel to earn multiple All-ACC first-team honors, has a chance to rewrite many record books.

He is fifth in ACC history with 1,335 rebounds. Bacot has 68 double-doubles, eight more than any other UNC player, which is 19 off of Tim Duncan’s ACC record.

For his career, Bacot has 1,809 points, 1,003 rebounds and 160 blocks. Sam Perkins is the only other Tar Heel with more than 1,800 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks (2,145, 1,168 and 245).

Bacot and Cole Anthony were freshmen on the 2019–20 UNC team. Anthony will play his fourth NBA season as Bacot plays his fifth college season.

Bacot career-highs

Points: 29 vs. Virginia (Jan. 8, 2022) and Georgia Tech
(Jan. 15, 2022)
Field goals: 12 vs. Virginia (Jan. 8, 2022)
Free throws: 9 six times (last time vs. Duke, March 4, 2023)
Offensive rebounds: 9 vs. Virginia (Jan. 8, 2022) and vs. Syracuse
(Feb. 28, 2022)
Rebounds: 23 vs. James Madison (Nov. 20, 2022)
Assists: 7 vs. Miami (Jan. 25, 2020)
Blocks: 6 vs. Oregon (Nov. 29, 2019), at Charleston
(Nov. 16, 2021) and vs. N.C. State (Jan. 29, 2022)
Steals: 4 vs. Elon (Dec. 11, 2021)

UNC roster

Here is a rundown of the Tar Heels’ scholarship players from the just-completed season, with their class should they return next season listed. UNC has three available scholarships.

4Sr.RJ DavisPG6–0175
0Soph.Seth TrimblePG6–3192
13Soph.Jalen Washington46–10225
55th yearArmando Bacot56–11235
Incoming transfers
5th yearCormac Ryan (Notre Dame)36–5195
5th yearPaxton Wojcik (Brown)36–5200
JuniorHarrison Ingram (Stanford)36–7230
SeniorJae’Lyn Withers (Louisville)46–9220
ESPN rankIncoming freshmen
10 (Class
of 2024)
Elliot Cadeau (5 star)PG6–0175
64 (Class
of 2023
Zayden High (4 star)46–9225
Eligibility over
Leaky Black36–9205
Pete Nance46–11230
Outgoing transfers
Caleb Love (Arizona)26–4200
D’Marco Dunn (Penn State)36–5190
Dontrez Styles (Georgetown)46–6210
Tyler Nickel (Va. Tech)36–7220
Justin McKoy (Hawaii)46–8220
Puff Johnson (Penn State)36–8200
Will Shaver (UAB)56–10260
ESPN rank2024–25 freshman class
5Ian Jackson (5 star)26–5180
34Drake Powell (4 star)36–5185
45James Brown (4 star)56–9225

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