Duke basketball archrival returning to school for another season

Duke basketball center Mark Williams defends Armando Bacot (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Mark Williams defends Armando Bacot (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team isn’t done with one of its biggest rivals just yet. 

Major news hit the college basketball world on Wednesday afternoon that will have a major impact on the upcoming Duke basketball season as North Carolina center Armando Bacot announced he will return to Chapel Hill for his senior season.

Bacot made the announcement on social media.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound All-ACC player was the leader in the Tar Heels’ run to the National Championship Game, but ankle injuries derailed the chances North Carolina had at winning the title.

Armando Bacot was not listed on any projected NBA mock drafts but could have left the program to try and begin his professional career in the G-League or overseas.

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However, the new NIL rules passed by the NCAA allow players like Bacot, who do not project well to the next level, to remain in college and receive significant compensation for doing so.

The North Carolina center averaged 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game as a junior, and his presence will catapult the Tar Heels to a preseason Top-10 ranking entering the 2022-23 campaign.

Bacot will also be a Preseason First Team All-American and likely the Preseason ACC Player of the Year at the beginning of the season.

Duke basketball must find resistance to returning star

Armando Bacot only posted 12 points and five rebounds in Duke’s only win over the Tar Heels this season, but he enjoyed a 23-point and seven-rebound effort in Durham against the Blue Devils and 11 points and 21 rebounds against Duke in the Final Four.

Bacot has played seven games in his career against Duke, the most of any opponent in his North Carolina career, and is averaging 15.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game against the five-time National Champions while shooting 54.3-percent from the field.

Duke will lose Theo John to graduation this offseason but has not received word on the future of center Mark Williams, who is likely to leave school for the NBA.

Head coach Jon Scheyer sports the No. 1 incoming recruiting class, headlined by the No. 1 overall recruit Dereck Lively, a 7-foot-1 center.

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