North Carolina center Armando Bacot ranks among the best returning players in college basketball for the 2022-23 season after helping guide his team to the Final Four. He has reached a new level of fame after joining several veterans in returning to the college ranks with an assist from NIL deals which offer more earning potential than professional options.
During an interview with Sports Illustrated, Armando Bacot discussed the current state of NIL as he has seen it through the eyes of a coveted player.
“Something just don’t sit right with me with some players making more money than [their] coaches,” said Bacot. “I don’t know if I’m a fan of that. … I don’t think that’s a good thing. And I think it’s too easy for players to move around and schools bid on them — I don’t think that’s good for college.
“I think [there] should be some type of rules where you can’t recruit a player and say, ‘If you come here, I’ll give you … .’ Especially in the transfer portal. I don’t think you should be able to bid on players.”
When asked how he believes the NCAA will be able to stop the current format from turning into a negative factor that hurts the sport, Bacot provided an honest response.
“I really don’t know,” said Bacot. “I guess that’s why you see so many changes in the NCAA — people stepping down and leaving, and coaches leaving — because it’s just the wild, Wild West.”
Bacot averaged 16.3 points per game on 56.9% shooting during his junior campaign. He finished third in the NCAA in rebounding as well with 13.1 per game. Along with the rest of the core which elected to return, he’ll be a part of Hubert Davis’ second run in Chapel Hill.
Armando Bacot on NIL value
As a freshman and sophomore, Armando Bacot was not able to profit off NIL deals. As a junior, he was able to cash in. In a recent piece by Michael Rosenberg at SI, it reports Bacot tallied $21,000 during the Tarheels NCAA Tournament run from March 1st through June 8th. It goes on to include his mother’s estimate that his senior year earnings will “definitely (be) past half a million.”
Previously, a player like Bacot would lunge at his opportunity to leave for the NBA after a successful junior season. NIL played a part in changing his trajectory. While UNC’s roster being a contender didn’t hurt, the profit he expects next season is something he couldn’t ignore.
“(It was) a no-brainer,” said Bacot. “I get a chance to get better, get my degree, be around all my friends and then also make a lot of money.”
Bacot recognizes the shift that NIL has had on college athletics. Bacot was a Top-20 prospect in On3’s 2019 Consensus Top Basketball Recruits. He say he was “one hundred percent” offered “huge numbers, like six-figure numbers from schools” during his recruitment.