Armando Bacot, a center on the North Carolina men's basketball team, told CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein on Monday that he would be returning for his junior season.
Bacot had entered the NBA draft process but did not hire an agent, allowing the option for his return to UNC. Bacot was not projected to be selected in the NBA Draft on July 29, nor was he invited to this year’s NBA Draft Combine.
"I'm thankful Armando got an opportunity to work out with some teams and he played off-the-charts great," head coach Hubert Davis said in a press release. "As much as I am pleased that he was able to go through the process and flourish in that process, I am just as ecstatic that he is coming back to Carolina."
Bacot will be one of UNC’s few returning frontcourt players next season.
Day'Ron Sharpe, who also entered the draft process, signed with sports agency company CAA on Friday, officially ending his college career after one season with the Tar Heels. UNC is losing two other big men to the transfer portal, with Garrison Brooks and Walker Kessler headed to Mississippi State and Auburn, respectively.
Bigs dominated the UNC offense last season, and replacing those points and rebounds generated from inside would have been a tough ask without Bacot's return.
Brady Manek, a 6-foot-9 stretch four from Oklahoma, and Justin McKoy, a forward from Virginia, will be transferring in to join Bacot in UNC’s new-look frontcourt next season.
Bacot led last season’s team in points (12.3) and rebounds (7.8) and was named to the All-ACC Third Team. He started every game but senior night and shined in the ACC Tournament, averaging 16.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks across three games.
Next season, Bacot is slated to be one of the veteran leaders of UNC’s young team.
"He's our team leader, our captain, he's worked extremely hard, he's our leading returning scorer and rebounder, and for us to have a chance next year we need to have someone like Armando," Davis said.