The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday June 15th

Analysis: UNC men's basketball loses Kessler, Bacot, Brooks and Sharpe

UNC first years Walker Kessler (13) and Day'Ron Sharpe (11) attempt to tip in the ball during a game against Marquette in the Smith Center on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 202. UNC lost to Marquette 83-70.
Buy Photos UNC first years Walker Kessler (13) and Day'Ron Sharpe (11) attempt to tip in the ball during a game against Marquette in the Smith Center on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 202. UNC lost to Marquette 83-70.

The North Carolina men’s basketball team is currently going through a complete turnover. 

The past few weeks have included Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams retiring, assistant coach Hubert Davis being promoted to the head coaching position and the team becoming depleted in the frontcourt — with multiple players entering the transfer portal or throwing their name out for the NBA Draft process. 

Here’s a look at some of the departing players and what holes they will leave for the Tar Heels.   

Walker Kessler

Kessler, a highly-touted 247Sports five-star recruit, was the first to announce that he was entering the transfer portal. His place in the rotation of UNC's stacked frontcourt led to him only averaging 8.7 minutes per game. 

After a few solid games, Kessler put everything in his arsenal on display in a 78-70 home win over Florida State. He turned the tide in the game en route to a 20-point, eight-rebound, four-block, one-steal game, while shooting 9-10 from the field and 2-2 from the free-throw line. He played a season-high 24 minutes and gained a major following in the fan base, with hopes that he would get a chance to shine down the road. 

Kessler is the most recent McDonald's All-American to transfer from North Carolina after just one season, announcing yesterday that he will be transferring to Auburn. Twins David and Travis Wear transferred from UNC in 2010, the last McDonald's All-Americans to do so after just one year in Chapel Hill.

His departure leaves the Tar Heels without what many believed to be a major part of the team’s frontcourt depth in the coming seasons.

Garrison Brooks

The senior from LaFayette, Alabama announced he was entering the transfer portal last week, bringing an end to his time in Chapel Hill. Brooks, who was the 2020-21 Preseason ACC Player of the Year, didn’t exactly play up to those standards this season, but still put together a solid final year in Chapel Hill. 

While he saw a drop in his numbers from last season, Brooks still managed to average 10.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He finished his North Carolina career with 1,211 points in 130 total games.  

Day’Ron Sharpe

The first-year from Greenville, North Carolina declared for the 2021 NBA Draft after just one season in Carolina Blue. Sharpe was a major spark for the Tar Heels throughout the season, averaging 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, all while shooting 52 percent from the field. His play this season earned him a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team.

There were multiple games where Sharpe flashed signs of potential to be a force at the next level.  His work on the glass led to him having five double-doubles on the season, as well as a 25-point, nine-rebound game in a 66-65 win over Notre Dame in January. 

In an ACC tournament blowout win against the Fighting Irish, Sharpe displayed his versatility on the offensive end with a 14-point, 10-rebound, six-assist performance.   

Armando Bacot

The sophomore from Richmond, Virginia made the decision to test the NBA draft waters in order to work on and evaluate his game, in an effort to decide if he wants to come back for his junior season in Chapel Hill. 

Bacot is coming off a year where he made great strides in his efficiency from the field. He upped his scoring from 9.5 to 12.3 points per game and his field goal percentage from 45.9 percent to 62.8 percent. He also averaged 7.8 rebounds and around one steal, block and assist per game. He totaled seven double-doubles for the season, and his play earned him third-team All-ACC honors. 

While he could come back, losing Bacot would leave the Tar Heels with yet another big hole to fill in the frontcourt.

Overall, the Tar Heels are left with little to no depth in the paint at the moment. The offseason is still young, so the rookie coach Davis could still have some additions in mind. But as of now, there is a lot of production that needs to be replaced, most likely through the transfer portal. 

@zaylucas824

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com




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