Heel Tough Blog: Bacot’s Return a Boost for Hopes of Turning Program Back Around
Wednesday morning started with more concern about the direction of the program when forward Puff Johnson announced that he was entering the transfer. While the news about Johnson means that the team has major question marks at both the 4 and the 3, the Tar Heels received a major boost in the middle for next season.
As first reported by Stadium, senior forward Armando Bacot will be returning to Chapel Hill for his fifth season. Bacot told Stadium that this was the best decision for his future and that he did not want to leave Chapel Hill after the season the team had this year.
Bacot earned third team All-American and first team All-ACC honors and landed on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award finalist list for a very solid senior season. He finished the season as the team’s third leading scorer at 15.9 points per game and first on the team in rebounding, 10.4 per game, and field goal percentage, 55.4% from the field. So far in his career, Bacot has averaged 13.7 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game, 1.2 blocks per game and 55.4% field goal percentage.
In his junior season, Bacot led the Tar Heels in points per game (16.3), rebounds per game (13.1), field goal percentage (56.9%) and blocks per game (1.7). He broke the school and conference records for most double-doubles in a season and finished tied for the most in the history of college basketball with 31, matching the mark put up by David Robinson at Navy back in the 1985-86 season.
Bacot’s return will allow him to make a run at the ACC career rebounding record held by Dickie Hemric. He is currently 467 rebounds behind Hemric, but he is just 263 from reaching Ronnie Shavlik. His 1,335 rebounds are the fifth most in league history and the most in program history and he broke the double-doubles record during this season. He is currently 19 double-doubles shy of the ACC record held by Tim Duncan and 28 shy of Tom Gola’s NCAA record.
His return for this season is a massive one for a Tar Heel team that has been decimated by the transfer portal. If Bacot can stay healthy and get back to the level that he played at as a junior, he could be a huge part of the reason that this program gets turned back in the right direction.