Two surprises in the Cole Anthony commitment to Carolina.
With more than 90 percent of the recruiting gurus predicting Anthony would be a Tar Heel, the announcement on ESPN Tuesday morning still had a couple of cool angles to it. The decision itself was tipped off by the dynamic 6-3 combo guard and No. 2 prospect in the high school class of 2019, who appeared on the ESPN set wearing a sweatshirt with light blue and white colors.
When Anthony said “North Carolina,” no one was surprised but Tar Heel Nation nevertheless erupted over social media less than 24 hours after Duke announced the last of its latest recruiting class.
Anthony’s parents were completely in concert with their son’s decision because they want him to join a family atmosphere for however many years he stays in college. Roy Williams got the major props as the relentless recruiter who simply outworks other coaches in the race. Look for Ol’ Roy to have an exact number for how many times he saw Cole play this past season.
But with repeated mentions by the Anthony’s of Hubert Davis, Carolina’s under-the-radar assistant got the most publicity in his seven years on the UNC staff. Davis has not been in the conversation as Williams’ eventual successor, but it was clear that Hubert the family man had a major impact on the recruit that puts the Tar Heels back in the national picture for 2020. And why not? A great college player and better pro, Davis’ soft-spoken manner should have an effect on recruits with similar values.
The second surprise was an almost immediate Tweet from fellow-five-star signee Armando Bacot that said, “Funny part about it is we not even done yet.” Did that mean that tough-nosed 4-star guard Anthony Harris, who teamed with Bacot on the Nike Peach Jam winner last summer, would sign with Carolina that same day. Or even more recruits were coming to create important competition in practice for starting roles and playing time.
I’ve always been amused how incoming freshmen can completely overshadow returning players with college experience, so fans should not lose sight of Brandon Robinson’s improvement and Leaky Black’s potential. With Bacot, Brooks and Manley rotating through the post positions, lanky Robinson and Black on the wings and Anthony replacing Coby as the scoring, driving guard, Carolina might not have the hype of Duke but certainly the chops to compete with the Blue Devils they have beaten four of the last six times.