Carolina Basketball Film Room: Anthony is More Than a Scorer
First things first, it's entirely possible and completely excusable that no one remembers anything Cole Anthony did on Wednesday besides drilling one insane shot after another in an unconscious 23-point second half.
It's the main reason he's expected to take home the ACC's rookie of the year honors this season, and by some, perhaps even bigger national honors on the national stage.
After watching his 34-point debut, it's certainly possible.
With all of that said, it's not just scoring that's going to make Anthony one of the game's most exciting players this season.
If there's one way to win the respect of Roy Williams, it's rebounding the basketball, and after the Hall of Fame coach spent the offseason telling anyone that would listen that Anthony was the best guard he's ever seen on the boards in high school, the freshman delivered 11 on Wednesday night.
It's a point of pride for Anthony.
"I love to rebound, when I rebound defensively, the more I can ignite the break," he said.
This is the value of having Anthony grab it and go, especially when he has options like Christian Keeling, Andrew Platek and Justin Pierce getting to the wing.
Rebounding certainly takes size and strength, but Anthony showed perhaps the most important part on this exchange, as he commits a turnover by dribbling a little too much, and instead of pouting or loafing back, he took off with one goal in mind.
This is a great effort and an excellent rebound by a point guard.
Williams was concerned about where his team would find rebounds from the 1-3 spots going into Wednesday, and thanks in part to Anthony, the Tar Heels won the battle 51-31.
"That’s Carolina basketball," Anthony said. "That’s what we do; we rebound."
Anthony's skills as a distributor are often overlooked in favor of his scoring, but there were several moments on Wednesday he looked like his old man out there.
Looking on from just behind the Carolina bench was his father, Greg Anthony, who spent 11 years in the NBA, entering as a first-round draft pick and finishing his career as a steady-handed veteran, handing out nearly 3,000 assists in his career.
Amid his second-half outburst, Anthony had scored 10 points in a three-minute stretch and everyone in the building wanted him to keep firing it up, and because of that run, Notre Dame was cheating over defensively when he saw a wide-open Andrew Platek flash to the top of the key.
"I knew he was going to find me on that three," Platek said. "I knew he was going to find me, even though he had 29 points at the time. That is just the type of player he is; he is always making the right play, and that is why I like playing with him."
A great set here that got Keeling an open look, and that's not an easy pass to make.
After Wednesday, defenses are going to begin adjusting their schemes to keep Anthony from beating them with his scoring.
If opponents do find the right formula for slowing him down, it's already clear he'll still have a major impact on the game.
"He's an all-around player," forward Garrison Brooks said. "He had 10 rebounds — led the team in rebounds. I can't let that happen again, but he shot the ball really well, extremely well. Tough shots, a lot of great passes, Cole is just a really good player."