Heel Tough Blog: What's Next for PG Position After Anthony's Departure?
Like a quarterback, a point guard is vital to the success a basketball team hopes to have. No one knows this better than Roy Williams, who in his time at North Carolina has coached some of the best in the game. Cole Anthony was the latest in the great lineage of point guards to play for Williams this past season. After committing to North Carolina, it was almost a given that Anthony would be a one and done prospect. Despite an injury that forced Anthony to miss 11 games, he still did enough on the court to warrant leaving Chapel Hill after just one season. Thus with his departure, that means there’s a void that needs to be filled at the most important position for a second consecutive off-season. Luckily there are 2 options already on the roster, and one talented incoming freshman poised to make an impact as the program will try to become prominent nationally once again.
Jeremiah Francis: Francis joined Anthony in the 2019 recruiting class, and was once a highly recruited prospect out of Ohio. Multiple knee injuries forced Francis to miss his last 2 seasons of high school basketball, yet was never in danger of losing his scholarship to UNC. Injuries forced him to play in 2019-20, after expecting to use that year to rehab, and get his body ready to play competitive basketball once again. He appeared in 16 games, starting 3 of them. While he only averaged 3.3 points per game, you saw glimpses of the player he was before the injuries, and the player he can be once fully healthy. Built a lot like Joel Berry, Francis can use his strength to drive the lane and finish at the rim. In addition to that, Francis has a good feel for the game, and can deliver crisp passes to his teammates. This off-season is a chance for him to continue to get stronger, and in shape. He’ll also have to develop a jump shot for opponents to respect, as he only shot 23% from the field last season.
Anthony Harris: Like Francis, Harris had suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss his senior season of high school basketball. Also like Francis, this past year was supposed to be a year for him to rehab and get healthy. Injuries forced him to become a part of the rotation, and Harris looked the part. In the 5 games he played in before tearing his ACL, he averaged 6.8 points per game, including scoring 14 in a win over UCLA. He did so while shooting 55% from the field, and 43% from behind the three point line. While Harris will be used mostly as a combo guard, he’s comfortable running the offense. I compared Francis to Joel Berry, Harris’ comparison is Ty Lawson. Anthony thrives at getting down hill, and finishing at the rim. His aggression is something every team needs, as he constantly puts pressure on the defense. There’s no telling how his rehab is currently going, but he should be ready to go by the end of the year.
Caleb Love: Love becomes the second consecutive 5 star point guard to commit to Roy Williams, and unlike Cole Anthony he appears to be a better fit for the UNC system.Love was a force to be reckon with last year on the AAU circuit, averaging 16 points on the EYBL, and 15 points during the Peach Invitational. He loves to drive the lane, and has the ability to finish with either hand. Amidst all his offensive prowess, his 6-9 wingspan will set him apart as a defensive player. Love will have the growing pains every freshman point guard experiences playing for Roy Williams, but is prime to have a big year as North Carolina will try to return back to the top of college basketball.