North Carolina Men’s basketball team opened up this past season with an exuberant home win in front of a sold out Dean Dome crowd. It featured Cole Anthony, the son of former UNLV Running Rebel legend Greg Anthony.
The 5- star prospect and top-rated point guard out of the 2019 All-American class showed all-star flashes in his debut – dropping a Tar Heel freshman record 34 points, shooting 50 percent from the field (12-24), including 6-11 from downtown. Anthony’s debut put the rest of the ACC on notice at first glance.
Before the season started, projections predicted Cole would be a top three lock, but with the Tar heels finishing 14-19 in the ACC, being swept by Duke, and getting blown out in a do or die second-round ACC matchup against Syracuse, the hype surrounding Anthony depreciated.
The talent is there with Cole Anthony, but what scares NBA GM’s are his inconsistencies and questions about if he can make teammates better. Anthony also became turnover prone against elite defenders, with an assist to turnover ratio of 4-3.
Why NBA GM’s Will Buy In?
Potential. Surrounding Cole with more weapons, elite talent, and stars will take his game to another level. What separates Cole from other potential draftees is the “IT” factor. As the number one option this past season for the Tar Heels, Cole was not shy about going to get a bucket. Averaging 18 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Heels, Anthony showed flashes of what he can offer at the next level. He can create his own shot. Anthony has the ability to breakdown the defender, split the pick and roll and attack the lane with swiftness. He also has the ability to shoot from downtown – averaging 35% in a do-it-all role for Roy Williams. Great at pushing the ball in transition, Cole looks to start the primary break as soon as the ball hits the rim. An elite athlete, Anthony isn’t scared to attack the trees in the paint, which is mainly the reason he shot just north of 75 percent from the charity stripe in his freshman campaign.
What Scares NBA GM’s?
Inconsistency shooting the 3 – Anthony shot just 35 percent at UNC. His decision making and questions about his turnovers (he averaged nearly 4 turnovers a game) are also red flags. Due to UNC not having respectable shooters on the outside the lane was often clogged up. He’s an above average defender. How does he make his teammates better is a question that has been asked among NBA GM’s recently. Cole forces the tempo at times, rather than allowing the game to come to him. Needs improvement guarding the pick and roll and chasing shooters. Often went underneath on screens to chase shooters off the 3-point line versus going over the top contesting the shots.
Projection– Mid First round,
Highest Ceiling– Lottery Pick
NBA Comparison– Terry Rozier, Deron Williams