Cole Anthony is one of the most well-known college basketball players and is a projected top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Anthony has been ruled out indefinitely with a right knee injury, according to ESPN.
Cole Anthony Out Indefinitely for the North Carolina Tar Heels
This news came as a shock because there was no previous report of Anthony suffering from any injury. North Carolina is already a team lacking talent and struggling to score, so taking away their best player is a crucial blow. Anthony is an outstanding guard who can create his own shot, as evident from his clips in the offseason playing one-on-one with NBA players.
It is no secret that Anthony has struggled with his jump shot to start the season. However, he ranks second amongst freshman, averaging 19.1 points per game. When it comes to the Tar Heel offense, everything goes through Anthony. He leads the team in assists and is third in rebounding.
North Carolina Ramifications
The news on Anthony broke just hours before the Tar Heels tipped off against Wofford. Wofford ended up beating North Carolina 68-64, moving the Tar Heels to 6-4 on the season. By the box score, it seems clear that Armando Bacot and Brandon Robinson will have clear upticks in their number of shots without Anthony. Robinson and Bacot need to become more offensive presences to keep North Carolina relevant.
If Anthony misses an extended period of time, North Carolina is going to struggle to make the NCAA Tournament. They just do not have a reliable offensive presence and lack creativity. Navigating an ACC schedule and a tricky remaining nonconference schedule will be impossible without an offense.
However, there is a glimmer of hope. Typically, in college basketball, when a star player is injured, all other players must step up and improve quickly. This makes the team as a whole much better when that superstar returns. With Cole Anthony being ruled out indefinitely, Bacot, Robinson, and Garrison Brooks need to progress. If that happens, North Carolina can be very solid when Anthony returns.
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