By R.L. Bynum
It’s another example of the transfer portal’s significant impact on college basketball to realize that there might be more former Tar Heels playing for other colleges next season than in the NBA.
Potentially, 10 former UNC players could be playing for other colleges next season, and only eight are locks to make NBA rosters.
Six players are transferring off of last season’s Carolina team. In addition, other former Tar Heels likely to play in college next season are guard Jeremiah Francis (Division II Emmanuel College as a senior), forward Dawson Garcia (Minnesota as a junior) and guard Kerwin Walton (Texas Tech as a senior).
If Anthony Harris resolves his academic issues at Rhode Island, or goes to another school, that would be 10 players.
Tyler Nickel will play at Virginia Tech next season, but Caleb Love, Dontrez Styles, Justin McKoy, Puff Johnson and Will Shaver haven’t announced their plans.
According to On3.com, Love, who grew up in St. Louis, is favored to transfer to home-state Missouri over Indiana. Love reportedly has a Zoom meeting scheduled with Indiana, but the NCAA recruiting dead period doesn’t end until noon Thursday.
On3.com reported that Styles visited N.C. State last weekend and will visit Georgetown on Thursday, and he expects to make a transfer announcement on Sunday. Among the other schools interested in Styles are East Carolina and Clemson.
Johnson has heard from several schools, including Kentucky, Indiana and Pittsburgh.
The only former UNC players who are locks to make NBA rosters next season (with current teams listed) are Orlando guard Cole Anthony, Sacramento guard Harrison Barnes, Dallas guard Reggie Bullock, Brooklyn forward Cameron Johnson, Utah center Walker Kessler, Portland forward Nassir Little, Brooklyn center Day’Ron Sharpe and Chicago guard Coby White.
With Danny Green getting little playing time with the Cleveland Cavaliers after recovering from offseason knee surgery and turning 36 in June, it’s unclear whether he’ll be back for another season.
Justin Jackson, Garrison Brooks, Tony Bradley and Theo Pinson hope to make NBA rosters, but there’s no guarantee for those four.
Jackson started the season as a reserve for the Boston Celtics but finished it in the G League for the Texas Legends. Brooks played the entire season with the G League’s Westchester Knicks.
The Chicago Bulls waived Tony Bradley on Feb. 21, and he hasn’t signed with another team. Pinson is finishing his second season as a little-used reserve for the Dallas Mavericks and will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. But his presence as a positive force in the locker room could earn him a third season.
Pete Nance hopes to join his brother in the NBA. Larry Nance Jr. is finishing his seventh NBA season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Some say Leaky Black can earn a spot on an NBA roster because of his defense.
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 two available scholarships.
|5||5th year||Armando Bacot||5||6–11||235|
|5th year||Cormac Ryan (Notre Dame)||3||6–5||195|
|5th year||Paxton Wojcik (Brown)||3||6–5||200|
|Junior||Harrison Ingram (Stanford)||3||6–7||230|
|Senior||Jae’Lyn Withers (Louisville)||4||6–9||220|
|ESPN rank||Incoming freshmen|
|10 (Class |
|Elliot Cadeau (5 star)||PG||6–0||175|
|27||Simeon Wilcher (4 star)||2||6–3||185|
|64||Zayden High (4 star)||4||6–9||225|
|Caleb Love (Arizona)||2||6–4||200|
|Dontrez Styles (Georgetown)||4||6–6||210|
|Tyler Nickel (Va. Tech)||3||6–7||220|
|Justin McKoy (Hawaii)||4||6–8||220|
|Puff Johnson (Penn State)||3||6–8||200|
|Will Shaver (UAB)||5||6–10||260|
|In transfer portal|
|ESPN rank||2024–25 freshman class|
|5||Ian Jackson (5 star)||2||6–5||180|
|37||Drake Powell (4 star)||3||6–5||185|
|48||James Brown (4 star)||5||6–9||225|