UNC's Cole Anthony Will Delay NBA Draft Decision Because of Coronavirus

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIMarch 24, 2020

North Carolina guard Cole Anthony (2) dribbles against Virginia Tech during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Ben McKeown/Associated Press

North Carolina's Cole Anthony has announced he's delaying his decision about whether to turn pro while the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic. 

In an Instagram post published Tuesday afternoon, the point guard said that playing in the NBA has been his "lifelong dream," but now is not the time for him to declare one way or the other.

"Given the pain that America and the world are experiencing at this time, I am going to refrain from making any announcements around that topic," Anthony wrote.  

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is April 26. However, Anthony could announce his intention to go pro without hiring an agent and still retain his NCAA eligibility as long as he withdraws before June 15, which has become a common route for athletes who want to receive feedback from pro scouts before making their final decisions. 

Anthony, a native of New York City, said the spread of COVID-19 has greatly impacted his life and put the decision-making process on hold:

"My family and I know many people directly affected by the coronavirus. Many hospitalized, a few in critical condition and one person who has died. New York City is experiencing the highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States. So, my biggest concern right now is trying to figure out how I can help during this crisis. We're all in this together. Stay safe!"

As of Tuesday evening, New York City has surpassed 14,000 confirmed cases, per New York Magazine

The NBA is already planning a pared-down predraft process and could postpone Chicago's combine and the June 25 draft. 

In his freshman season, Anthony missed over a month with a knee injury but posted 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in 22 contests. In his latest mock draft, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report projected the former 5-star recruit to go to the New York Knicks at No. 6 overall.

Should he return to North Carolina for his sophomore season, Anthony would headline a roster featuring the No. 3 recruiting class in the country, per 247Sports. Head coach Roy Williams nabbed commitments from 5-star centers Day'Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler, 5-star point guard Caleb Love and 4-stars Puff Johnson and R.J. Davis.     

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