One of the top recruiting dominos left on the board fell on Tuesday as five-star point guard Cole Anthony pledged for North Carolina. The son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony announced his choice on ESPN's Get Up show.
Anthony, a New York native who finished his high school career at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, is generally regarded as the top point guard in the 2019 class. He is a major addition from the Tar Heels, who are set to lose five of their top six players to graduation and the pros, including Coby White, the team’s primary ball-handler. While Anthony may not be around very long in Chapel Hill, he’s a well-rounded, college-ready player who will be the key to North Carolina’s hopes. He also considered Oregon, Georgetown and Notre Dame as finalists.
A skilled ball-handler who naturally leans more toward scorer than facilitator, Anthony will slot in among the top freshmen in the ACC. What he lacks in immense size, he makes up for with moxie, and he’s had little trouble getting into the paint and making plays over the course of his high school career. He projects cleanly as a 2020 lottery pick at this stage, as a capable jump shooter, above-average athlete and a consistent competitor. Expect him to shoulder a high percentage of available minutes immediately, and perform with a long leash to play through mistakes.
The state of North Carolina’s roster remains in flux, as Anthony joins five-star center Armando Bacot and three-star guard Jeremiah Francis as newcomers. The Tar Heels remain in the mix for forward Precious Achiuwa but saw target Matthew Hurt choose Duke last week. Roy Williams continues to court a number of grad transfer options to fill out the rotation, which returns big man Garrison Brooks, reserves Leaky Black, Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson, and not much else. While the Tar Heels are far from ACC favorites on paper, the addition of Anthony will certainly keep them competitive going forward.
UNC ranked 21st in our initial Way-too-Early Top 25 for 2019–20.