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UNC’s Armando Bacot returning, Puff Johnson to transfer


North Carolina won one and lost one Wednesday.

Big man Armando Bacot told Stadium that he’s coming back for a fifth season.

However, Puff Johnson plans to pass on another season at North Carolina, becoming the fourth member of the 2022-23 team to hit the transfer portal since the season ended without a postseason game.

North Carolina finished 20-13 and passed on an invitation to the NIT after a Final Four trip in 2022.

Bacot averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds this past season.

“I’m using my last year of eligibility,” Bacot told Stadium. “I felt it was the right decision for my future.

“The primary reason I am coming back is because I don’t want to leave North Carolina this way. But I also know I need to improve and feel like this is the best place to do that,” he added.

Johnson, a 6-foot-8 forward, was a consensus top-75 recruit in 2019 and scored 11 points in the 2022 national championship game against Kansas, but his junior season was again derailed by injuries. Johnson battled knee issues last season, averaging 4.1 points per game as one of the team’s top reserves.

In two previous seasons, Johnson had to sit at least 15 games due to toe (freshman) and hip (sophomore) trouble.

“I am grateful to be a Tar Heel,” Johnson said in a statement. “My time in Chapel Hill has taught me lessons that extend far beyond the basketball court. I have given 100 percent to the University on and off the court. A heartfelt thanks to Coach (Roy) Williams for recruiting me and giving me the opportunity to play at Carolina. I also want to thank Coach (Hubert) Davis and the entire UNC staff for giving me the opportunity to play under their leadership for the last two years. To my teammates, thank you always for being by my side and for being my brothers. Most importantly, thank you Carolina Nation for embracing and supporting me throughout my time here. I will always love you, but the time has come for me to enter the transfer portal and take that next step as a basketball player. Thank you all for respecting my decision. I will always be a Tar Heel.”

Johnson was heavily recruited with offers from nearly 20 programs, but turned down the likes of Arizona, Auburn, Miami, Ohio State and Xavier.

North Carolina teammates Justin McKoy, Tyler Nickel and Dontrez Styles have also entered the transfer portal in the past two weeks.

–Field Level Media

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