Tar Heels star freshman Cole Anthony entering NBA draft

Sports

North Carolina guard Cole Anthony (2) walks off of the court following North Carolina’s 81-53 loss to Syracuse in an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina freshman point guard Cole Anthony is entering the NBA draft.

Anthony announced his decision Friday. He had been considered a likely one-and-done player and a high first-round draft prospect before his arrival in Chapel Hill, though he had said last month he was delaying any draft announcements while looking to find ways to help amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“While no one truly knows what the next few months will look like,” Anthony said in a statement Friday, “I’m ready for whatever God has in store.”

The 6-foot-3 Anthony — son of former UNLV and NBA player Greg Anthony — averaged a team-high 18.5 points, starting with 34 points against Notre Dame to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record for points by a freshman in his debut. But the Tar Heels (14-19) suffered the first losing season in head coach Roy Williams’ Hall of Fame career.

Anthony missed 11 games due to arthroscopic knee surgery,sparking some to question whether he and other top draft prospects should shut it down or return from injury. But Anthony remained adamant he would return, then did for the final 13 games.

Anthony was the only UNC player capable of reliably creating his own shot, though the Tar Heels had trouble at times blending Anthony’s ball-dominant style with an inside-first approach that led to a pair of wins immediately before his return.

“He had some spectacular moments as a Tar Heel and showed the potential I feel will make him very successful in the NBA,” Williams said in a statement. “He has our complete support going forward and I will be one of his biggest fans.”

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