UNC Basketball: Carolina Reveals Official 2020-21 Roster

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North Carolina released their official 2020-21 men’s basketball roster on Wednesday. The team is highlighted by three returning starters and a consensus top-three recruiting class.

Those three returning starters are Garrison Brooks (Senior | Forward), Leaky Black (Junior | Guard / Forward), and Armando Bacot (Sophomore | Forward / Center).

Brooks has blossomed from a soft-spoken freshman into a bona fide team leader who sets the tone with his play on the court, the community he builds off the court and his new-found social activism. The LaFayette, Alabama native was on the second team All-ACC and was named ACC Most Improved Player in 2019-20. He averaged 16.8 points (second on the team) and 8.5 rebounds (first on the team). Brooks has already been named to the ACC Preseason First-Team by Jon Rothstein and is an early candidate for ACC Player of the Year honors.

Having two experienced returning starters in the frontcourt (Brooks and Bacot) will be a boon for Roy Williams who relishes being able to play a traditional two big man lineup.

The versatile Black looks to build on his first fully healthy offseason to turn in a Danny-Green-Theo-Pinson-esque stat-stuffing junior year. The junior has the length, height and athleticism to play (and guard) essentially all five positions. Black’s disruptive defense has already been on display. It’s the growth of Black’s offensive capability that will be the X-factor for this team.

The three returning starters will be joined by six other returners:

  • Anthony Harris (RS Freshman | Guard)
  • Sterling Manley (RS Junior | Forward / Center)
  • Ryan McAdoo (RS Junior | Forward)
  • Walker Miller (Senior | Forward / Center)
  • Andrew Platek (Senior | Guard)
  • K.J. Smith (RS Senior | Guard)

Harris and Manley are both coming off serious injuries.

After playing in all 37 games his freshman season, Manley in just half of Carolina’s games his sophomore year (18 of 36) and missed the entirety of the 2019-20 season. Hopefully, the time away will be just what he needs to return to what will be a crowded frontcourt (more on that in a minute).

After suffering a torn left ACL in high school, Harris did the same to his right ACL in the closing minutes against Yale on December 30, 2019. Harris had played all of five college games after working relentlessly to prepare his body following his initial torn ACL. Thankfully, the five games were few enough that Harris was granted a medical redshirt and will therefore once again be a freshman.

Harris will be joined in the freshman class by seven newcomers to Chapel Hill.

  • Caleb Love (Guard)
  • RJ Davis (Guard)
  • Day’Ron Sharpe (Forward / Center)
  • Walker Kessler (Forward / Center)
  • Puff Johnson (Guard)
  • Kerwin Walton (Guard)
  • Creighton Lebo (Guard)

Love is the odds-on favorite to be the third straight starting freshman point guard for the Tar Heels. He will be joined in the backcourt by Davis who has the reputation of a big-time scorer.

Sharpe and Kessler are two of the highest-ranked big men in the class of 2020. The two of them, plus Manley if he’s healthy, will join Brooks and Bacot to form the deepest frontcourt the Tar Heels have had since the 2017 National Championship team (Meeks, Hicks, Maye, Bradley).

Johnson and Walton come in with shooter’s reputations, a position of dire need for a team that shot 30.4 percent from deep last season. Lebo joins as an invited walk-on and will provide depth in the backcourt.

If the familiar Tar Heel-alum surnames seem like they are piling up, it’s because they are. UNC already had Walker Kessler (younger brother of Wes Miller), K.J. Smith (son of Kenny Smith), and Ryan McAdoo (son of Bob McAdoo) and adds to that Puff Johnson (younger brother of Cam Johnson) and Creighton Lebo (son of Jeff Lebo).

Carolina is currently involved in preseason activities and will begin full-scale practices on October 14.

Here is the entirety of the 2020-21 roster:

Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 11.12.48 PM

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