Armando Bacot Is NOT Returning To UNC Just Because Of NIL Money As He Embraces Old Age With Need To Prove NBA Worth

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Armando Bacot is running it back. North Carolina’s star big man, who helped lead the Tar Heels to a national championship appearance in 2022, announced on Wednesday that he will be returning for a fifth year of eligibility.

As a recent 23-year-old, Bacot knows all of the jokes about his age and got ahead of the memes by calling back to Perry Ellis. Ellis, a running joke within the college basketball world, looked like a full-grown man as a freshman and seemingly never graduated.

By returning next season, Bacot’s college career will actually last longer than Ellis’ β€” and there’s a reason for that. The reason is not Name, Image and Likeness.

When the NCAA passed its “interim” legislation on NIL back in July of 2021, it changed the landscape of college sports forever. Where student-athletes previously could not make money (legally) while in school, they can now profit from marketing opportunities while still in school.

There is a longer conversation to be had about NIL collectives and how crowdfunding plays a role in the current state of money in college sports, but I’m not here to beat a dead horse. That discussion has already been had.

This all goes to say that, more than ever before, a student-athlete may be more inclined to stay on the college level. It might be more lucrative than rushing to turn pro and sign a contract.

Armando Bacot is among those who stayed, twice.

North Carolina’s standout hooper drives an $80,000 Audi.

His mother, who also serves as Bacot’s manager, said back in July that her son’s portfolio of deals totals more than $500,000. That is probably understated. He had a paid acting role on Outer Banks. He has deals with BOA Nutrition, MoneyLion, Crocs, Topps and Nerf, among others.

Bacot also earned more than $20,000 by selling t-shirts and well over $10,000 on Cameo. All through NIL.

In addition, Bacot is a business major at one of the top schools in the country and made the dean’s list. He considers himself a “buy-and-hold” investor who made more than $20,000 on AMC stock and “over five figures” through his investment in Tesla.

Bacot has plenty of money. Financial security is not an issue.

However, Bacot is not returning to UNC because of NIL.

When Bacot chose to play the 2022/23 season with the Tar Heels, he said that it was a “no-brainer.” He got “a chance to get better,” a degree, to be around his friends, and “also make a lot of money.”

NIL had a role in his decision to play a fourth season in college instead of entering the NBA Draft after reaching a national title. There is no denying that. It may still be the case as he eyes a fifth season.

But at the end of the day, money is not what is keeping Bacot in Chapel Hill. If he was chasing the dollar, he would go proβ€” where the last pick in the NBA Draft normally signs for at least $1 million per year, which is double his reported NIL earnings.

Instead, Bacot simply doesn’t have the stock he once thought. After leading his team to the national championship game, he likely would have heard his name called. But maybe not, and certainly not in the first round.

Although Bacot averaged a solid 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game in 2021/2, he is a back-to-the-basket center at 6-foot-10. To make matters worse, his point per game average dipped to 15.3 and rebounds to 10.4 in 2022/23 as the Tar Heels missed out on the NCAA Tournament.

A drop off was not ideal for his draft stock, which already came with questions.

NBA coaches and front offices much prefer a big who can space the floor and keep the lane open for cuts and dribble-drives. Bacot’s position at UNC doesn’t really exist in the modern NBA.

That’s not a knock on how awesome Bacot has been in college. 20 years ago, he and a guy like Drew Timme would have been a lottery pick. The game has changed and that is no longer the case.

Bacot has to improve his draft stock.

There is going to be a lot of talk about how NIL allowed Bacot to return for two additional seasons. That can be true to some extent, but it’s not the full picture.

Bacot has to return next season and prove why he deserves to be a first rounder. He has to come back if he wants to leave college on a note higher than the ‘First Four Out’ of March Madness. And he loves everything about the program, so it made the decision a lot easier.

NIL is great. NIL is doing amazing things for athletes. It is not the sole reason for Bacot’s return.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.


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      • FWIW … Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book on High Academia completely debunks those “USN&WR College Ratings”. It may come as a SHOCK but – They are bought and paid for every year by the schools.

        Not to say that UNC’s K-F Business School is or is not a good one. Just sayin’ …

  1. “The Rasputin of The Dean Dome” has his sights set on two ACC records…. Most ACC Games Played In by a Duke or UNC Player – Currently held by Duke’s three Plumlee Brothers at “something over 200”. The overall Most ACC Games Played In is probably unreachable, but never say never … held by Clemson’s Legendary Mahaffey Clan at 400+ during the 60-70s…. there were at least 7-8 of those guys.

    Becot’s Return leaves embattled Hubert Davis with only 11 other roster vacancies to fill before next November. All those guys Slick Rick just kicked out of St John’s might check out Chapel Hill.

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