CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Joel Berry, the 2017 Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, is withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft and will return to North Carolina for his senior season.
Berry's decision comes a little more than 30 hours after UNC announced the second-team All-ACC point guard would join junior wing Theo Pinson and freshman forward Tony Bradley in testing the draft waters without signing with an agent.
“After speaking to my family I have decided to withdraw from the 2017 Draft and will return to Carolina next season,” Berry said in a school release. “I know I can continue to improve my game and be better prepared for the NBA after another year playing against the best college competition in the country. There’s no reason to rush leaving school. I love being a Tar Heel and love playing for Carolina and Coach Williams.
“My family and I have enjoyed every part of playing at Carolina. I am proud of what we have accomplished in my first three seasons as a Tar Heel and am excited about our team next year, the chance to continue to improve in all areas of the game and the opportunity to complete my education and earn my degree.”
Berry averaged 14.7 points in 2016-17 and shot 38.3 percent from 3-point range, good for best on the team and 10th in the ACC. He led the Tar Heels to their sixth NCAA national title earlier this month despite spraining both ankles in the NCAA Tournament. His return solidifies UNC's backcourt next season following ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson's decision to enter the NBA Draft and forgo his final year of eligibility.
Berry has scored 20 points or more in the last two national championship games, including a game-high 22 points to go along with six assists in UNC's 71-65 win over Gonzaga in the championship game. He is the seventh player to score 20 or more points in consecutive NCAA title games.