Our 2020-21 UNC Basketball player previews continue with sophomore Anthony Harris who hopes to provide a boost in the backcourt this year
Sophomore guard Anthony Harris is coming off a tough first year in Chapel Hill with North Carolina after only playing in five total games last season. Harris has dealt with injury problems in high school but was able to finally hit the court again last year as the Tar Heels began the season.
But then something bad happened.
Harris suffered a major knee injury in late December in the win over Yale, ending his season after just five games. Although it was a small sample size, Harris provided some brought spots for the future of his game at the guard position. He only averaged 6.8 points per game in those five appearances but he shot 54 percent from the field and over 40 percent from the three-point line.
The Tar Heels really struggled with depth at the guard position behind Cole Anthony and injuries to Jeremiah Francis and Harris didn’t help. However, going into this year the Tar Heels have a little more depth with their talented 2020 recruiting class coming in, not putting as much pressure on the sophomore Harris.
What to expect in 2020-21
As the Tar Heels start the new season next week, don’t expect Harris to be out there on the court with his team. Head coach Roy Williams has already ruled Harris out for the game as he’s just not ready to play.
Recovering from a major knee injury like this takes time and the last thing Harris wants to do is rush things. He has been doing some things with the team as they gear up for the upcoming season but it’s just not at the level he needs to be at.
At this stage, it’s fair to say that we should expect Harris on the court until at least conference play in late December. Sure, there’s always a chance he returns before that but let’s mark that as his target start date.
If Harris can get healthy, he should provide a little boost to this offense.
Freshmen R.J. Davis and Caleb Love are expected to start for the Tar Heels early on, but after them the depth is thin. Andrew Platek will have a role but he’s not a primary ball-handler and won’t fill up the score sheet. This is where Harris would come into play. He has the chance to be the first guard off the bench if he can play well and stay healthy, a role that would suit him well especially if they want to pair him with either Davis or Love in the same backcourt.
For now, that would be ideal in terms of what to expect from Harris. But again, he’s going to have to stay healthy.
I think Harris is going to get healthy and will make appearances this season. I’ll go with a bold prediction of him playing 20 games this season and shooting close to 40 percent. I think when healthy he has a good shooting stroke and can be an asset for this offense.
Getting 6-8 points per game from Harris would be ideal as he’s not really expected to go out there and get double-digits in points. Anything he can give them off the bench would be solid and who knows? Maybe he turns out to be a big spark off the bench for a team that really needs backcourt help.
For more on Harris and other UNC Basketball players, please check back with Keeping It Heel.