With nothing more to really prove on the college level, the baller who carries the reputation of NYC guards on his back announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.
Carrying On Tradition
For the past two decades, basketball purists have lamented about the dearth of elite NYC Point GOD’s and the increasing lack of respect for Big Apple hoopers.
Something special was cooking in the schoolyards and AAU tourneys during those Dark Ages and his name is Cole Anthony; straight from Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
At 19, he became the latest and truest city product to be crowned “The Chosen One.”
He chose UNC to play his one college season and came out of the gate killing
Anthony set the school record for scoring by a freshman in his debut, finishing with 34 points, 11 rebounds and some timely dimes, while leading the No. 11 Tar Heels past Notre Dame 76-65.
Cole was living up to the expectations, averaging 19.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals across nine games before he partially tore his meniscus in his right knee — everyone and done player’s worst nightmare.
Anthony would go from a front runner for the Naismith POY award to missing 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery. Being the competitor he is, Anthony returned on Feb. 1, 2020 and scored 26 points in his first game since Dec. 16 of 2019.
He played well enough the remainder of the season to solidify himself a Top 10 spot in the NBA Draft. There was some speculation that Anthony would return for his sophomore season, especially after COVID-19 canceled March Madness for the first time ever. It was wishful thinking on UNC’s part.
“Obviously not having a player of Cole’s caliber will be a tremendous challenge to our young team, but we have to play,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said. “No one player is going to replace the production Cole Anthony gives us, so it’s up to everyone who puts on a North Carolina jersey to raise his game and help our team play better.”
Destined & Documented For Greatness
The son of a former Knicks point guard, Anthony grew up in front of our eyes. From his role in Little Ballers, a two-hour sports documentary exploring the journey of four 11-year-old New Heights basketball players and their quest to win an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) championship to his three years at Archbishop Molloy HS in Queens to his year at Oak Hill Academy and then UNC.
The movie dropped in 2015. That’s when I first spoke interviewed Cole’s AAU coach Billy Council who remains a close friend and mentor and his mother, Crystal McCrary, who directed the show that aired on the NickSports programming block on Nicktoons.
Cole’s always had big dreams and a drive to follow in his dad’s footsteps as a true floor general. Despite his lofty goals, his spirit remains that of a NY city kid. His basketball talents have already taken him around the globe, but with his city embroiled in a pandemic, Anthony answered the call.
Council and Cole Anthony were together masked and gloved up three days ago helping prepare and deliver meals to the compromised health care workers on the frontlines at Harlem Hospital.
Anthony’s already accepted the responsibility of being great. Now he just has to do his thing on the court in the NBA. A backcourt of RJ Barrett and Cole Anthony isn’t too shabby for the NY Knicks who will probably have a Top 5 pick again. It’s time for NY to finally keep the hometown kid, home.