2020 NBA Draft: North Carolina freshman Cole Anthony, a possible top-10 pick, leaving early

From the effort Cole Anthony put in to return from a knee injury that cost him nearly two months of the season to the way he wore the emotion on his sleeve during a tough year, it was evident that playing at North Carolina meant something to Anthony as a freshman.. It made some wonder if Anthony might want to return for another season, especially after his father, former NCAA champion and NBA veteran Greg Anthony, suggested in February that it was “absolutely” possible.

But on Friday, Cole Anthony announced he will declare for the 2020 NBA Draft while also expressing appreciation for his experience at UNC.

“Throughout my time at UNC, I was humbled, challenged, and always proud to be a Tar Heel,” Anthony wrote. “I want to thank Coach Williams and the entire coaching staff for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime and pushing me every day. 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. And finally, my teammates – my brothers – we were together in the trenches, you made me better every day and helped me grow as a basketball player and as a man.”

Anthony averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.3 steals per game in 22 appearances for the Tar Heels this season. The former No. 4 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class is expected to be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft and is ranked No. 10 on the CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board.

“While no one truly knows what the next few months look like, I’m ready for whatever God has in store,” Anthony wrote.

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