Before arriving at UNC, Anthony averaged 18 points, 9.8 rebounds and 9.5 assists at Oak Hill Academy, was the MVP of both the McDonald’s All-America game and the Jordan Brand Classic and was named Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year.
He competed as a member of the U18 USA National Team, scoring 18 points in the team's gold medal victory. Anthony also earned all-tournament honors at the 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championships, where he played with Bacot and former UNC point guard Coby White.
Needless to say, the five-star recruit has earned almost every accolade in the book, and was widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the class of 2019. And since White declared for the NBA draft last summer, Anthony will now step into a starting spot at what has historically been one of UNC's strongest positions.
The greatness of those that came before Anthony only motivates him more.
“Coach Williams and the staff here, they've showed me some of the dudes playing before, and I've just tried to take that and try to envision myself in that same role,” Anthony said. “It means a lot. Hope I don’t mess it up.”
When one compares Anthony to White, the guy who came directly before him, there’s a big difference between the two in terms of style of play.
Junior wing Andrew Platek described Anthony’s game as “more well-rounded,” and that he sees the game at a different level than most point guards Platek has previously played with.
“You don’t even know that you’re going to get the ball,” Platek said. “You get the ball and you’re like 'Oh, I’m open.' So it's so fun playing with him, because he draws so much attention that frees up everybody else on the court. I think that's important for me, as well as the other shooters on this team.
“We're going to get a ton of open shots this year, just based on the fact that we have him out on court making decisions.”
While Anthony may be a better setup man, and "super crafty," Platek said that the first year's speed might also be comparable to White’s.
“Coby was great end-to-end, but Cole has a first step that's just lightning quick,” Platek said. “And if he's on the top, you know that there's no defender in America that is stopping him from getting into the lane.”
The season hasn't started, but it seems like Anthony has lived up to his teammates' expectations so far. He's done the work to earn those expectations, too. But while Anthony will continue to draw more attention, he’s still focused on one mission: compete for a national championship.
"Forget my individual goals," he said. "I'm here to win, that's my one goal.
"Make it to a Final Four and see what we can do from there."
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