Our UNC basketball player season in review series continues with a talented newcomer that lost most of his freshman season to a torn ACL
Anthony Harris joined the North Carolina basketball program in 2019 as a 4-star shooting guard out of Paul VI Catholic in Fairfax, Virginia. Ranked 72nd in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite, Harris was tabbed as the No. 10 player at his position, and fourth in the state of Virginia. So, while Harris wasn’t expected to have the impact of a Cole Anthony or Armando Bacot, there were hopes that he would come in and be a difference-maker in the UNC back court.
Unfortunately for Harris and the Tar Heels, that’s simply not how it played out. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Harris missed the team’s first eight games of the season while recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee. And just five games later, Harris suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the closing moments of the Tar Heels’ home win over Yale. It’s especially unfortunate for a player that worked as hard as Harris to return from his first serious knee injury, only to come back and sustain the same injury to the opposite knee.
Upon joining the Tar Heels’ lineup in early December, he scored just two points in his first two games combined. It was after that, though, that Harris really started getting comfortable in the UNC offense.
He scored eight points in just 14 minutes in a loss to Gonzaga, and then a season-high 14 in a 74-64 victory over UCLA. He hit 5-of-7 shots from the floor against the Bruins, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 2-of-2 at the free throw line in 17 minutes of play. He scored six points off the bench against Yale the following game before going down with the injury that ended his freshman campaign with the Tar Heels.
His numbers over that span were fairly impressive, given that he averaged nearly seven points per game in just 12 minutes a contest. He also shot 54.5 percent from the floor, and an outstanding 42.9 percent from long-range. Sure, it was a small sample size, but those number extrapolated out over more playing time and for the course of an entire season are extremely impressive for a freshman reserve.
Despite how his first season at North Carolina turned out, the hope is that Harris can return with a clean bill of health at some point during the first half of next season. He’ll likely find his playing time behind freshmen guards Caleb Love and R.J. Davis regardless, but his ability to dribble, shoot and pass the ball would give the team additional offense and depth in the back court.
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