North Carolina Tar Heels

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Cole Anthony stars in North Carolina debut

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As Cole Anthony took the floor Wednesday in his collegiate debut, it looked as though the potential top pick in the 2020 NBA draft was going to make a fashion statement.

Ultimately, though, the Mikan-esque corrective lenses he wore – and later ditched – weren’t what left the biggest impression of the night. It was his game.

The son of UNLV great and 11-year NBA vet Greg Anthony, the North Carolina freshman exploded for 34 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the Tar Heels’ season-opening 76-65 win over Notre Dame to start both the season and ACC play 1-0.

It was a virtuoso performance for a player that was in the mix for being the top-rated prospect in the 2019 class, but has found himself less a part of the national conversation this preseason than his counterparts like James Wiseman at Memphis or RJ Hampton, who opted not to even play college basketball.

Anthony’s entire repertoire was on display against the Irish, who could do little to contain him all evening. He was 12 of 24 overall from the floor and 6 of 11 from 3-point range. He created for others. He got the Tar Heels going in transition with 11 defensive boards.

Simply put, he was dynamic.

The only issue for Anthony was his four turnovers, but given how much responsibility there is on him offensively to initiate the offense, get others involved and score it himself, that’s not that bad of number in 37 minutes. Especially when it’s the first 37 minutes of his career.

It was a game reminiscent of some of the breakout games we’ve seen from the best freshmen in recent years. Remember Trae Young’s 43 against Oregon two years ago or Zion Williamson’s 28 and seven in his debut against Kentucky last year? It’s not much of a leap of faith to think we’ll be talking about Anthony’s first-ever college game in that same vein.

It was a declaration of intent.

Cole Anthony is here, and he’s coming for the ACC. Along with the rest of college basketball.

He’s uniquely situated as a 6-foot-3, playmaking lead guard for a top-10 team to make a dent in college basketball. Maybe he’s not going to be the cultural phenomenon that both Young and Williamson were, but going for 34, 11 and five in your first-ever college game against a strong ACC program is a pretty good indication that Anthony is going to be awesome this season.

Honestly, it’s too bad he decided to toss the glasses he started the game wearing. Making rec specs cool might have been the true test of Anthony’s talent and appeal.

Although, there’s a notable precedence for a guy flipping of his glasses and becoming super.

North Carolina adds commitment from five-star 2020 guard Caleb Love

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North Carolina added its third five-star commitment in the Class of 2020 with guard Caleb Love’s pledge to the Tar Heels with a public announcement.

The 6-foot-3 Love can play either guard spot as he’s an attacking guard with a lot of upside on defense. Giving North Carolina stability at guard with the expected one-and-done departure of freshman point guard Cole Anthony, Love’s commitment is a big one for the Tar Heels.

Joining five-star big men Walker Kessler and Day’Ron Sharpe, North Carolina has its first ball handler in the 2020 class as Love should join a backcourt that includes Anthony Harris and Jeremiah Francis in the future plans. Love’s ability to play point guard at the college level will be something to watch for as he’s transitioned to the position from being more of a shooting guard.

North Carolina found success with that formula with Coby White before he became a top-ten pick, so Love was clearly sold on the idea of playing in the Tar Heels’ offense and having a chance to potentially play right away. The St. Louis native is regarded as the No. 21 overall prospect in the nation, according to Rivals, as Love picked North Carolina over his other finalist of Missouri.

The Tar Heels are also working hard to get commitments from other five star targets such as Cade Cunningham and Ziare Williams. So far, North Carolina has the makings of another monster class as head coach Roy Williams continues to be a major factor on the trail late in his legendary run.

North Carolina to host game at former home Carmichael Arena

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North Carolina is heading back home. In a specific sort of way.

The Tar Heels are returning to their former home gym of Carmichael Arena for a one-night engagement thanks to a scheduling conflict with Wofford and the Dean Dome, the school announced Thursday.

Wofford’s schedule and UNC’s need to head west to face Gonzaga later in the week made moving the date unworkable while the Dean Dome is hosting commencement that day, Dec. 15.

“Due to Wofford’s playing schedule and Carolina’s travel schedule to Gonzaga, it was necessary to play the game on the 15th, but of course we knew that is the date of Commencement,” said senior associate director of athletics Clint Gwaltney. “We appreciate both coach (Roy) Williams’ and Wofford’s flexibility in agreeing to move the game to another venue. It should be an outstanding environment in which to play that game.”

Carmichael hasn’t hosted a regular season game since 1986, though the Tar Heels did play an NIT game there in 2010.

“Carmichael brings back great memories of my first eight years as an assistant to coach (Dean) Smith and the exciting game we played against William and Mary in 2010,” Roy Williams said in a statement. “Wofford will bring an outstanding team and the environment will be electric. I’m sure it will be a tough ticket to get and a special day for everyone who is lucky enough to be there for that game.”

The 6,800-seat venue will make for a cool and memorable environment as the former home to the likes of Dean Smith, James Worthy and Michael Jordan.

WATCH: Coby White reacts with awe on the podium as North Carolina teammate Cam Johnson is picked 11th

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North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson being selected 11th overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft was a surprise to nearly everyone – including one of his former teammates and a fellow lottery pick.

Coby White, who went seventh to the Bulls, was on the podium meeting with the media when he got the news, and his reaction to the pick is priceless:

Between Zion Williamson’s and R.J. Barrett’s tears and now this, the 2019 draft is going to be remembered for its displays of genuine, authentic and sincere emotion.

Four-star forward Jalen Wilson asks out of Michigan letter of intent

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John Beilein isn’t the only loss Michigan sustained this week.

Jalen Wilson, a top-50 guard in 2019, has requested out of his National Letter of Intent with the Wolverines, he announced Thursday.

“Due to the sudden head coaching change, I have requested my release from The University of Michigan, and will re-open my recruitment,” he wrote on social media.

Beilein’s decision to leave Michigan for the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the college basketball world earlier this week, and there’s little surprise to see it shake the Wolverines’ recruiting class as the head coaching position remains vacant and Michigan conducting a search of its next coach.

Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is now considering Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Florida along with the Wolverines, according to 247Sports. The Texas native suddenly becomes one of the most desirable players left available ahead of the upcoming season.

Cole Bajema, a top-150 wing from Washington, is the lone remaining signee in Michigan’s 2019 class.

Five-star Boogie Ellis asking out of Duke letter of intent

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A five-star recruit is set to be available late in this spring recruiting cycle.

Boogie Ellis, a top-40 guard from San Diego, has asked out of his National Letter of Intent with Duke, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-2 guard signed with the Blue Devils in November after also considering San Diego State, Memphis, USC and North Carolina, the last of which he made an official visit to.

It’s a significant loss for the Blue Devils, but hardly a crippling one to their top-ranked recruiting class that includes top-10 players in Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt along with top-35 prospects Wendell Moore and Cassius Stanley.

Given the strength of that recruiting class along with Tre Jones’ decision to return for a sophomore season, minutes will likely be at a premium in the Duke backcourt next season, even without Ellis, who now becomes one of the top available players in the country.