Sorry, but Armando Bacot didn’t bypass the NBA Draft because of NIL money

kadin shedric
Kadin Shedrick blocks an Armando Bacot shot. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

A recent Sports Illustrated headline touts how Armando Bacot “could have entered the NBA Draft,” but instead will “earn a cool half mil at UNC.”

You have to click and read for a while before the author concedes the buried lede: that Bacot “knows he would not have been a first-round pick,” and that “he might not have been drafted at all.”

Bacot, solid at the college level, averaged 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game this past season, but he’s a 6’10” back-to-the-basket center.

That position doesn’t really exist in the NBA anymore, with coaches and front offices valuing bigs who can space the floor and keep the lane and post open for dribble-drives and cuts.

Bacot was not going to hear his name called tonight, and he won’t hear it called next June – and he won’t make an NBA team from the Summer League or playing his ass off in camp.

Twenty years ago, Bacot – and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, who is also headed back to school for a senior season – would have been a lottery pick.

This ain’t 20 years ago.

Meaning the subhead to the story – “His draft stock spiked in the NCAA tournament, but for this business major, riding the NIL bubble and staying in school is a ‘no-brainer’ – does not follow.

Good on Bacot for piecing together around $500,000 from NIL.

And he’ll no doubt make good money playing overseas when he’s done at Carolina.

The idea that this SI story is giving us, that he delayed his NBA career to make a “cool half mil at UNC,” is bunk.


Chris Graham

I write books, mainly on sports, and do baseball play-by-play for ESPN3. I've finished three marathons, but I'm over that. Oh, and I'm a progressive who voted for Biden, but I'm also over that. Want to reach me? Try [email protected]