North Carolina point guard Cole Anthony announced on Friday he will enter the 2020 NBA draft and forego his remaining three seasons of college eligibility.
Anthony, the son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, leaves the Tar Heels after one season that produced its share of highs and lows. The prized recruit set an Atlantic Coast Conference record for debut points by a freshman when he scored 34 against Notre Dame on November 6, but missed 11 games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-December.
The New York City native returned from the injury on February 1 and finished his freshman campaign with averages of 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 22 games for a Tar Heels team that endured its first losing season under coach Roy Williams. UNC finished 14-19 overall and tied for last in the ACC with a 6-14 record.
"Throughout my time at UNC I was humbled, challenged and always proud to be a Tar Heel," Anthony said in a statement. "Thank you Tar Heel nation for embracing me with open arms from the moment I stepped on campus and sticking by us through a tough season.
"I am excited to announce the next step in my journey and declare for the 2020 NBA Draft. While no one truly knows what the next few months will look like, I'm ready for whatever God has in store."
Anthony's decision was entirely expected, as he entered North Carolina considered a candidate for the first overall pick in 2020. He delayed making an announcement, however, to focus his attention on the coronavirus pandemic that's been particularly problematic in his home city of New York.
"I believe the platform I have been blessed to create because of the game I love so much should be used for a higher purpose at the moment," Anthony wrote in a Twitter post on March 24. "Living in New York City, the coronavirus hits hard. My family and I know many people directly affected by the coronavirus - many hospitalised, a few in critical condition and one person who has died. So, my biggest concern right now is trying to figure out how I can help during this crisis."
Anthony's father, Greg, was a first-round pick of the New York Knicks in the 1991 NBA Draft and played in 757 games over 11 seasons in the league.