UNC Basketball News: Two Tar Heels named to Wooden Award watch list

The 2021-22 college basketball season is underway as North Carolina got off to a great start, winning their first game in the Hubert Davis era on Wednesday night. For the Tar Heels, this team is hoping to bounce-back from an early exit in last year’s tournament.

And if UNC wants to do that, they are going to need consistent play from a few key players on the roster.

On Wednesday, two UNC players earned some preseason recognition by being named to the Wooden Award Watch List. Junior center Armando Bacot and sophomore forward Dawson Garcia were the two representatives for North Carolina on the preseason watch list for the award which honors the most outstanding men’s and women’s players in college basketball for that season.

The preseason watch list highlighted 50 players, led by three Gonzaga players. UNC was one of a few schools that had multiple players on the list joining Alabama, Baylor, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Purdue, and UCLA. Of the 50 players, 12 conferences were represented including three teams from the ACC.

Bacot returned for another season at North Carolina after breaking out last year. He averaged 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting over 60 percent from the field. Garcia, a player originally recruited by UNC, averaged 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in his lone year at Marquette before opting to transfer to Chapel Hill.

With UNC losing some depth in the front court, it’s opened up a big opportunity for the duo to be the go-to guys in the paint.

The Wood Award will update their list of candidates during the season and then again naming finalists before revealing the winner in April during the Final Four.

North Carolina has had four winners all time for the award with Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison and Tyler Hansbrough taking home honors.

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