UNC Basketball: Cole Anthony drafted by the Orlando Magic

For the second straight year, the UNC basketball program has at least one player selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

After much anticipation, we finally know where Cole Anthony will begin his professional basketball career.

Anthony was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 15th overall pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft.

Heading into the draft, Anthony’s draft stock was one of the most intriguing stories to keep an eye on. Prior to landing in Chapel Hill, the 20-year-old was viewed by many as a consensus top-5 pick, and some viewed him as a potential choice for the No. 1 overall selection.

However, Anthony’s one season as a Tar Heel didn’t go as planned. The New York native dealt with injuries, and the UNC basketball program struggled through one of their worst seasons during the Roy Williams era.

Over the last few weeks, there were mixed reviews as to where Anthony may land. Most mock drafts had the talented point guard being selected anywhere from the end of the lottery to the early 20s.

In regular years, Anthony would have had the opportunity boost his stock by conducting a variety in-person workouts with interested teams. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there were many restrictions on team meetings with players, which could also have played a role in Anthony’s value slipping a bit.

According to Williams, the pre-draft workouts would have greatly benefitted his former point guard:

Although meetings with teams were very limited, Anthony did have the chance to meet with a few teams. In an interview a few days prior to the draft, Anthony revealed the three teams he met with, two of which were workout-based.

Orlando was one of the team’s Anthony worked out for. The former Tar Heel felt that he “aced” the workout, and it showed on draft night.

The Magic hope that Anthony can help turn the franchise around. Orlando is coming off a season in which they posted a 33-44 record and finished 8th in the Eastern Conference. After being invited to the NBA Bubble, Orlando had a short playoff run, as they were defeated in the first round in five games by the Milwaukee Bucks.

It remains to be seen what type of role Anthony will have with the Magic, but given their current roster, it is very possible that the rookie guard can be entrusted into the team’s starting lineup sooner rather than later.

Now it’s time for Anthony to prove that the 14 teams that picked before the Magic made a mistake in not drafting him.

Continue to follow the Keeping It Heel team as we follow Cole Anthony’s journey in the NBA as well as the UNC basketball program as a whole.