Photo Courtesy: GoHeels

Phenom Hoop Report has been a great avenue for high school and middle school players but that doesn’t mean we stop there once they head to college.  It is great to see these players take the next step in the career, playing at the college level.

That is why we are bringing a little college talk to our readers.

To start it off, we head to the ACC to take a look at the upcoming season and breaking down the roster for the North Carolina Tar Heels.  After an impressive season last year, head coach Roy Williams is looking to repeat that success with a few new names on the court.

Let’s dive into the roster.

Returning players looking to take the next step:

PF Garrison Brooks

Williams love to play with his two bigs down low but with the loss of Luke Maye, he will now be looking for his next star down low.  Brooks could be that guy or he will need to be that guy.  He brings experience to the table, playing in 36 games last year and averaging 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds.  But can Brooks take that next step in his game?  Can he become a consistent threat on both ends for the Tar Heels?  He has a chance to be a double-double type player down low for the Heels, as his minutes increase and the opportunities presented to him.  But will he take that next step in his game?

G Leaky Black

Black played in 23 games as a freshman last year, averaging 10 minutes and 2.5 points, 2.1 rebounds.  Black has been a prime breakout type product by several outlets, but he did battle injuries in his first season in Chapel Hill.  However, Black’s 6’7 frame to go along with his versatility brings incredible intrigue for the Tar Heels.  The question though is if he is ready to take that big step as a sophomore?

G Brandon Robinson

Robinson will be an interesting player to watch.  Yes, he has played over 35 games in all three seasons but he has yet to carve out significant minutes and consistency.  Last year was his first season in which he averaged over 10 minutes but was highly regarded as a threat from outside, shooting 46 percent from three.  This is a season though he may have a chance to be a critical piece for the Tar Heels with his length and ability to knock down the outside jumper.

Can the transfers bring firepower for Tar Heels?

6’4 Christian Keeling and 6’7 Justin Pierce come into Chapel Hill as graduate transfers and will not only be looked at for their experience but ability to produce offensively.  Keeling comes in with a ton of experience and an ability to score, averaging over 17 points in all three seasons at Charleston Southern.  He is a scoring guard that can score inside and out, but also produce in other areas such as rebounding.

Pierce is a 6’7 prospect from William & Mary who averaged over 14 points in the past two seasons.  With his size as well, he will likely be counted on as a rebounder as well.  But his do-it-all ability brings intrigue, especially after averaging 4.1 assists and his capability to be a threat from outside.  In 2017-18, Pierce shot 41.6 percent from three, but that dipped to 32 percent last season.

The main question is if they are prepared to compete and produce in a tough conference like the ACC?

Freshman Stars:

We are telling you this now if you don’t already know.

Freshman guard Cole Anthony is going to be an absolute star in Chapel Hill.  Phenom Hoops has had a chance to watch Anthony a lot last year at Oak Hill and he brings so much to the table.  His ability to score, be a leader, compete, and dominate all over the floor is special and with Williams’ mentality with his point guards, Anthony should have all the opportunities he wants.  Whether it is scoring on all three levels, his athleticism, or ability to create for others, there aren’t too many that can slow him down.  It will just be how quickly he catches on at the next level.

Phenom watched Armando Bacot several times when he was in Virginia and at IMG Academy when he competed at the Phenom Hoops Battle of the Rock.  We had this to say:

“The UNC commit was arguably the most reliable performer for IMG between their two games at our Battle at the Rock, especially considering how easily he dominated the glass while highlighting his scoring and incredible shot-blocking instincts. Bacot runs the floor extremely well and has an all-around amazing feel for the game.”

Bacot has a real chance to carve out minutes for the Tar Heels down low in the paint.  Sure, guys like Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman have been there but Bacot’s ability to play on both sides of the ball is highly intriguing at an early age.

Also watch for:

Freshman Anthony Harris
Junior Andrew Platek
Junior Sterling Manley
Junior Brandon Huffman