Three vital players to next year's UNC team will go through NBA Draft process
A likely All-American, a big-time NBA prospect and an important X-factor to test draft waters
The reigning national champions could be in for a bigger reload than expected.
On Monday morning, North Carolina announced its three most important players heading into next season, junior point guard Joel Berry II, junior wing Theo Pinson and freshman center Tony Bradley, will enter the NBA Draft pool but will not sign with an agent. All are currently eligible to return to school next season if they choose.
The deadline for all early entrants who do not sign with an agent is June 12. Berry would be an All-American candidate heading into his senior season if he opts to play one more year with the Tar Heels. He was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player after averaging 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds this past season.
"We fully support our players taking this step of being evaluated by NBA teams to see where they stand in relation to the draft," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "All three players have options to do what is best for their careers and going through the evaluation process helps them make the best decision available to each of them."
Pinson was UNC's undeniable X-factor this past season; the team simply played better when he was on the floor. But Pinson missed 18 games to injury and averaged 6.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Bradley was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2016 and came off the bench to put up 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. If he were to return for a second season, he would rate as one of the five or six best sophomores in college basketball next season.
UNC has definitely lost junior Justin Jackson, who declared and signed with an agent. Seniors Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt are also through with their careers as Tar Heels. Of the three players declaring now, Bradley is probably in the closest position now to what Jackson was last season. When Jackson tested NBA waters in 2016, he was told how to get better, given no assurances he would be a first-round pick, then came back, won a national title and all but guaranteed himself lottery status. Bradley might be able to replicate that in 2018 if he opts to not jump to the NBA in the coming weeks.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Some of the best high school players in the country will be playing on Monday
SportsLine's advanced computer model simulated Wednesday's Creighton vs. St. John's game 10,000...
This week's look inside college hoops also ranks the best point guards and sheds light on unending...
Langford's been out for more than two weeks, and the exact nature of his injury still isn't...
The fan made the promise on social media and to Jim Boeheim, and is already making good on...
Pitt, Washington and Butler are trying to state their case for inclusion in the NCAA Tourn...