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Why Caleb Love is ready to fill Cole Anthony’s shoes at UNC

At this point, it was just a formality, but Cole Anthony’s announcement to enter the 2020 NBA Draft formally clears the lane for Caleb Love. North Carolina basketball has its new point guard.

For the fourth straight year, Roy Williams will enter next season with a new starting point guard. It was Joel Berry, as a senior, for the 2017-18 season; Coby White and Anthony followed. Next up, it’s Love.

Multiple recruiting services grade Love, who committed to UNC last October, as a 5-star prospect; however, he’s seen his star ascend this season, too. 247 Sports composite ranking lists Love as the No. 2 point guard in the 2020 class.

If you have yet to see Love play, there’s an awful lot to like. Love is slippery with the basketball and handles with good pace. Off a live dribble, Love can crack a defense and get to the rim, where’s he’s capable of throwing down some artistic slams. North Carolina will still need to find ways to generate better half-court spacing this season.

Anthony was plagued with by a dearth of secondary shooting on the wing; he shot under 40 percent at the rim in the half court, per Synergy Sports.

At this point, Luke Maye feels like he was a bit of a luxury for UNC, in a way. Maye worked as a stretch-4/5, which allowed North Carolina to roll with two traditional bigs, as Williams prefers, while also keeping multiple spot-up threats on the floor.

During his one season with UNC, White was obviously incredible; however, as the primary ball-handler, White benefitted from playing with some excellent wing shooters. Cameron Johnson, Kenny Williams and Brandon Robinson all scored over 1.1 points per spot-up possession that season, according to Synergy.

Maye’s 3-point shot slumped some during the 2018-19 season, but teams still had to guard him 22+ feet from the basket. That has value, too.

It would’ve been interesting to see what Anthony next to floor-spacers like Maye, Williams and, especially, Johnson. (I feel like some fail to realize just how dang good Johnson was during the 2018-19 season in Chapel Hill.)

 

Quick Numbers: Caleb Love

As a senior this season, Love averaged 27 points, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Love put up monster shooting numbers, too: 50.9 2P%, 34.8 3P% and 80.7 FT%. Some quick math produces a true shooting rate of 59 percent for Love, which is solid.

The free throw percentage is a nice little indicator for how he projects going forward as a shooter. Over 38 percent of Love’s field goal attempts (520 FGA) came from beyond the arc: 69-of-198 3PA.

While participating in the Nike EYBL circuit last summer, Love shot 33.8 percent on his 3-pointers (22-of-65 3PA). Love averaged 16.1 points per game and also shot 83 percent for the free throw line, too.

 

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