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Roy Williams praise, NBA hype



For years, Cole Anthony was billed as The One. The latest, after a hiatus, in a long list of elite New York City point guards. He had the pedigree and the support system in place.

Tuesday morning, he took a select step towards the incredibly high expectations that he had set for him, announcing his commitment to North Carolina and coach Roy Williams, joining a select club of local stars who were good enough to land a scholarship to wear the powder blue of the power house ACC school.

"I always wanted to play on the highest level," the 6-foot-3 Anthony, the son of former Knicks guard and NBA broadcaster Greg Anthony, told The Post.

"It's a validation of all its work done in," said Crystal McCrary-McGuire. "It's the next step in his journey."

Anthony, a consensus top-three prospect in the country, picked the Tar Heels over Notre Dame, Georgetown and Oregon. Oregon assistant coach Mike Mennenga, Notre Dame's Mike Brey and Georgetown's Patrick Ewing, his father's former Knicks teammate and a close family friend. Ultimately, though, North Carolina's winning tradition, style of play and the bond with Williams won out.

"I just think he's a really genuine guy," said Anthony, from the Upper West Side. "He cares about all his players. He's more than a terrific coach. He's a great person. "

 Anthony Cole
Anthony Getty Images for Powerade

The New York City point guards in years, the MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic is a triple-double national powerhouse at Oak Hill Academy (Va.). United States U-18 Team in the FIBA ​​Americas, what's the regular season MVP of the AAU Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. As a sophomore, Catholic School Archbishop Molloy is making his first title appearance in 17 years, with Oak Hill against a national schedule featuring the country's best prospects.

"He's maybe the most complete guard I always recruited at this stage of his career, and I think he can get better, "Williams said in a phone interview. "That's the fun part."

Williams first saw Anthony the summer after his freshman year, and North Carolina began making a big push last spring. Every time Williams watched him, Anthony made something new in his game, making a previous weakness a strength. Williams sees attributes of some of his best lead guards in Anthony: Marcus Paige's clutch gene, Ty Lawson's speed with the ball and Kendall Marshall's savvy.

"He's got a great mixture right now," Williams said. Hornets All-Star guard Kemba Walker.

Hornets All-Star guard. Oak Hill coach Steve Smith has coached nine point guards who have played in the NBA and considered Anthony Rondo, Brandon Jennings and Lawson at the same age. Most impressive to Smith, though, are Anthony's work habits. When he gave his team off on Saturdays, Anthony would be playing pick-up games with regular students. He frequently spends his free time honing his skills with NBA coach Chris Brickley.

 Cole Anthony
Anthony NBAE / Getty Images [19659010] "He does not just want to be a pro, he wants to be great pro," Smith said. "He does not think he's a finished product, which is a good thing. Because they did not work enough.

"I've never had a point guard rebound like he does, I'll tell you that," Smith added.

For years, Anthony has had a bull's eye on his back. The famous last name and the lofty ranking have not been easy to live up to. He's dealt with criticism and social media backlash. New York City phenom. But he's done his best to avoid that. Unlike so many of his predecessors who were labeled "can not miss" prospects at a young age, he's only getting better. Anthony has not been plateaued or regressed. His commitment to North Carolina is just the latest example.

"I really do not look into the hype," he said. "I put in so much work, I do not feel it at this point. I've had pressure on my back for a while. At this point, it's another part of the game. "

It will only increase from here. The one-and-done hype is attached to him. Fans expect Final Fours at North Carolina. He wants to be better than Cobra White, the North Carolina star freshman guard who is headed to the NBA as a likely top-10 draft pick. Then again, nobody expects more from Anthony than himself.

"As a freshman," he said. 1 goal is to get to the Final Four. "

– Additional reporting by Joseph Staszewski


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