Armando Bacot is a high-major player, there's no doubting that. He's got the early offers to prove it, too.
UVa, Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Providence, Virginia Tech, VCU and Wake Forest all decided the 6-9, 230-pound forward was good enough to play for their basketball programs even though he's just a sophomore.
All the schools that have offered or recruited him like his toughness. They like his ability to score in the post. They like his 7-2 wingspan that allows him to block shots and secure rebounds in traffic.
There are two things above all else, however, that Richmond (Va.) Trinity Episcopal School head coach Rick Hamlin admires about his star player.
"I'd say his best attribute is his passing," Hamlin explained to Inside Carolina. "You just don't typically see kids that age - only a sophomore - at that size, who can pass the ball as well as he can. If you get a kid that size as a sophomore, you're just hoping they make a layup and catch the ball. He gets a defensive rebound and makes great outlet passes. If teams double down on him in the post, he kicks out to the open player, because he's the right play and because he's unselfish."
And the other quality?
"The bigger the stage, the better he plays," said Hamlin. "The tougher our competition has gotten throughout the season, and at tournaments, in championship games, he's just played really well."
Just this past weekend, Bacot scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a loss to Richmond (Va.) L.C. Bird during a matchup of two of the area's best teams.
"I think i've been playing well this season," said Bacot. "I've had a couple of good games and I'm just trying to get better. I consider myself a true post player, but I can also play outside a little bit, but I like to keep it close and keep it simple. I think passing the ball, scoring with my back to the basket and blocking shots are my strengths."
North Carolina's recruitment of Bacot is still in the early stages, but he's already taken an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill. In September, he and Team Loaded AAU teammate Isaiah Todd, and Josh Nickelberry played pickup with UNC and met with Roy Williams. Bacot hopes to get to Chapel Hill again before the conclusion of UNC's regular season.
"I know UNC is a really good program," said Bacot. "He (Wliliams) does a good job with his big men. He's a legendary coach and he's put a lot of big guys in the draft."
Hamlin believes Bacot is a natural fit in the Tar Heels' up-tempo system.
"The way Carolina historically runs the break, he'd be a great fit... where they have a big and run that secondary break," Hamlin said. "Just style of play wise I think it'll be a good fit. He's very interested in Carolina and a lot of schools from the ACC. I'd say the chances of him landing in the ACC are fairly high."
Bacot called Nickelberry "one of his good friends" and said the duo has talked about playing at the same school. UNC offered Nickelberry earlier this month and the Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian guard has been a regular visitor at the Smith Center since.