The top of the NBA draft just got a little deeper.
North Carolina guard Cole Anthony announced Friday that he was leaving after just one season at North Carolina and entering the 2020 draft.
Anthony was the best player on a poor North Carolina team in 2019-20. Anthony averaged 18.5 points, nearly six rebounds and four assists per contest in 22 games. He suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in the Tar Heels’ November loss to Wofford and missed 11 games.
A New York native who went to Oak Hill Academy, Anthony shot just 38 percent from the field overall and 35 percent from three. But he’s still projected to be a possible lottery pick based on his projectability as a guard in the pro ranks. North Carolina went just 14-19 in 2019-20 and finished last in the ACC.
Anthony made sure to give healthcare workers in his hometown a shoutout in his draft declaration statement.
“Being from New York City, I have seen first-hand the destruction that COVID-19 has caused. NYC has come together as a truly incredible team to fight this virus. With every great team, there are great captains — the doctors, nurses, medical workers, first responders and many more — are not only our leaders, but our heroes and our MVPs.”
It’s not much of a surprise that Anthony is heading to the NBA. He was considered a one-and-done prospect when he arrived on campus, and while North Carolina’s injury-ravaged season might have made him consider coming back for one more run in the college ranks, Anthony is heading to the NBA.
UNC should be well-equipped to replace him. UNC has the No. 3 class in Rivals’ 2020 recruiting rankings and is bringing in five-star guard Caleb Love and four-star guard R.J. Davis among its five-person recruiting class. Just Kentucky and Duke have higher-rated classes than North Carolina.
The NBA draft is currently set for June 25, though that could change depending on how the NBA decides to finish its season amid the coronavirus pandemic and go forward with offseason activities.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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