Five-star point guard Cole Anthony talks about his recruiting timeline
The whole country was waiting to see where Cole Anthony would land, and the top combo guard in the country made UNC fans very happy.
Anthony made his long anticipated announcement Tuesday morning on ESPN’s Get Up, picking North Carolina over Oregon, Notre Dame and Georgetown.
“We really just kept looking at all our schools,” Anthony told Get Up host Mike Greenberg, “but I (ended) up going back to Carolina. It felt like a family to me. I love coach (Roy) Williams, coach (Hubert) Davis. If it were up to me, I would be on campus tomorrow.”
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard out of Oak Hill Academy was the last top-three player to verbally commit and he wasn’t North Carolina’s only addition Tuesday.
Later in the day, North Carolina got another guard commitment, from 6-4 Anthony Harris of Fairfax, Va., the No. 75 player in ESPN’s top 100.
Harris originally committed to Virginia Tech but backed off after Buzz Williams left and while he was still considering the Hokies, also had Georgetown, Indiana and Maryland on his list.
They will join five-star center Armando Bacot and three-star point guard Jeremiah Francis in North Carolina’s freshman class.
This season at Oak Hill, Anthony averaged a triple-double: 17.8 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game. Last week he was named the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game after scoring 14 points and dishing out seven assists. Over the weekend Anthony was named co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic after scoring a game-high 25 points.
Compared to most top prospects in recent years, Anthony, the son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, kept it quiet when it came to his recruiting but made multiple trips to North Carolina. Anthony was in the Smith Center on an unofficial visit on March 9 when the Tar Heels defeated Duke in the regular-season finale. He also took an unofficial visit on Dec. 5. His official visit was on Sept. 28 with Bacot.
“To his credit, he was very willing to listen to the advice that we offered,” Greg Anthony said about his son’s recruiting process. “From a basketball standpoint I always felt like his game would take care of itself, but you wanted to make sure you put yourself in a situation that you would benefit from being a part of. That’s how we ultimately decided where he was going to go and that’s kind of how we approached it.”
Anthony transferred to Oak Hill after previously playing for Archbishop Molloy in Briarwood, N.Y. During the summer Anthony dominated the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 26.9 points, 3.5 assists and 7.6 rebounds for the PSA Cardinals. Anthony was named MVP of the EYBL circuit and was named to the all-Peach Jam first team.
Carolina lost both of its starting guards from last season in senior Kenny Williams and freshman Coby White, who declared for the NBA draft last month. Anthony should be capable of filling one of those roles, with the ability to play point and shooting guard.
The arrival of Anthony will mark the second straight season Williams has signed a top-three player in the nation. Last season Nassir Little arrived in Chapel Hill as the No. 3 overall prospect.
“We’re thrilled with Cole’s decision to attend North Carolina,” Williams said in a statement released by the athletic department. “He is one of the most complete point guards I have ever recruited. He has all the physical skills, but he has a competitiveness, a toughness and a savvy that I really like. I first saw him as a ninth-grader and since then he has gotten better and better and I know he will continue to improve. He comes from a great family. His parents (Greg Anthony and Crystal McCrary-McGuire) are very involved in his life and are fantastic people. We couldn’t be happier that Cole and his family are joining our Carolina Basketball family.”
UNC must replace four starters from last year’s ACC regular-season championship team, and its top five scorers.