In his first official game as a collegian, North Carolina’s highest-ranked recruit, Cole Anthony, was expected to have a bit of an adjustment period. It lasted about a half.
The freshman went off for 34 points in his collegiate debut while leading the Tar Heels to a 76-65 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Dean E. Smith Center on Wednesday night.
Anthony finished the game 12-of-24 from the field, including 6-of-11 from the three-point line. His 34 points are a program record for a freshman debut. Rashad McCants previously held the record, scoring 28 against Penn State in 2002.
Cole Anthony finishes with 34-11-5, carrying UNC’s offense, sinking Notre Dame with high-level shot-making. Debuted at No. 1 overall on today’s mock draft to the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/2IDeXLyQKa
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) November 7, 2019
Anthony was named to the preseason Wooden Award watch list. And he wasted little time in showing that the hype is real.
Anthony’s shooting performance was reminiscent of his predecessor, Coby White, who scored 30 points or more three times last season. It took six games for White to record his first 30-point performance. Anthony did it in his first game. He also set the UNC record for most points by a freshman in his debut game.
Anthony’s performance was a long time coming, he said. The son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, Cole Anthony was one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country. A McDonald’s All-American, he was ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2019 and the top-ranked point guard. His teammates say they admire his work ethic.