Taking a trip down the UNC basketball program's memory lane: Armando Bacot edition

As Armando Bacot prepares for his final game at the Dean Smith Center, let's take a trip down UNC basketball memory lane to when he first stepped on campus as a freshman.

Elon v North Carolina
Elon v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Tuesday night will be a bittersweet one for fans of the UNC basketball program, as Armando Bacot will play in his final game at the Dean Smith Center.

Yes, Bacot does not have any eligibility left after this season (which the Tar Heels opponents most definitely are happy about).

Bacot has put together a tremendous career as a Tar Heel, as he's developed into a record-breaking big man over his time in Chapel Hill. Fans of the program were fortunate to have Bacot for an additional season, as the COVID-19 pandemic provided student-athletes with an additional season of eligibility.

We often talk about Bacot's stats and accolades, but this post is simply dedicated to taking a look down memory lane. Let's face it: a LOT has changed since 2019 when Bacot arrived on campus as a freshman.

The best place to start is to look at the recruiting class that came in with Bacot, a four-player freshman group along with two graduate transfers:

2019 Incoming Freshmen

Cole Anthony: 5-star guard
Spent one season with the UNC basketball program before being selected with the No. 15 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Armando Bacot: 5-star big man
A player who spent five seasons with the UNC basketball program who has re-written the Tar Heel record books during his collegiate career.

Anthony Harris: 4-star guard
Harris spent parts of three seasons with the program, as injuries and academic issues forced him to play in a total of 35 games as a Tar Heel.

Jeremiah Francis: 3-star guard
Spent one season with the UNC basketball program before transferring to New Mexico.

2019 Transfer Additions

Christian Keeling- Charleston Southern (Graduate transfer)

Justin Pierce- William & Mary (Graduate transfer)

The 2019-2020 Season

Of course, that season was one that Tar Heels fans don't remember fondly, as the team went 14-19 overall. Bacot was one of the lone bright spots, as injuries and lack of depth came back to haunt this respective unit.

Fittingly, Bacot's first career game as a Tar Heel came on November 6, 2019, against none other than... The Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

In his UNC basketball debut, Bacot finished with seven points and eight rebounds in a 76-65 victory at the Dean Smith Center. His first (of many) career double-doubles would come two games later, as he recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Gardner-Webb on November 15, 2019.

Bacot went on to start all 32 games he played in that season as he averaged 9.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest.

Well, how things have changed!

Here are some things of note that correlate to when Armando Bacot arrived at North Carolina.

-For starters, both Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski were still coaching
-Donald Trump was still the United States President
-COVID-19 didn't occur yet
-NIL and one-time transfer rules weren't officially put into place
-Disney+ was just about to launch (November)
-The song "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Charts.
-Gas prices were estimated at $2.69 (currently estimated at $3.20 from January 2024)

A fun UNC basketball connect-the-dots

Armando Bacot was teammates with Garrison Brooks, who was a teammate of Joel Berry, who was a teammate of Bacot's current coach, Marcus Paige.

Age is just a number, right?

Armando Bacot, who will turn 24 on March 6, is just a few weeks younger than Coby White (turned 24 on February 16). White is currently playing in his fifth NBA season.

Sure, people joke about how long Bacot has been at North Carolina, but he isn't even the oldest player on this year's team! That title belongs to Cormac Ryan, who was born in 1998.

However, one thing hasn't changed

Over the five years he's spent with the UNC basketball program, Armando Bacot has been an integral part of the team's success. Sure, the Tar Heels went through some tough times during that span, but there also were plenty of bright spots, including the run in 2022 to the national championship game as well as the 2023-2024 season so far as a whole.

When Armando Bacot's UNC basketball career comes to a end, it will be very weird for Tar Heels fans to not see No. 5 dominating in the post.

Although we'd all love for Bacot to stay forever, if this article taught us anything, it's that times changes, whether we like it or not.

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