On Tuesday evening, Joel Berry announced he would return to the North Carolina men’s basketball team for his senior season.
“After speaking to my family I have decided to withdraw from the 2017 Draft and will return to Carolina next season,” Berry said in a statement. “I know I can continue to improve my game and be better prepared for the NBA after another year playing against the best college competition in the country. There’s no reason to rush leaving school. I love being a Tar Heel and love playing for Carolina and (head) coach (Roy) Williams.”
The announcement comes just a day after Berry, Tony Bradley and Theo Pinson all announced they would enter the NBA Draft process without signing an agent, opening the door for a return next season. It’s a little bit odd that Berry would declare on Monday and withdraw on Tuesday — but that’s minutia at this point.
Berry’s return means, point blank, that North Carolina will be a competitive basketball team next season. That floor — in doubt if Berry jumped for the NBA — is now certain. The ceiling, of course, is still the roof.
The rising senior point guard is a foundational piece Williams will have no problem building an offense around. His shooting will space the floor, and his leadership will keep the team on the right track. He’ll also carry the team in crunch time as he has so many times the past two seasons.