North Carolina captain Joel Berry II decided to return to college within the same hour he was listed as an early entry to the NBA draft.
The news is particularly surprising considering the UNC star spoke about “making some money instead of going to class still” in a recent interview.
During the recent March Madness tournament, Berry was named the Most Outstanding Player during the Final Four. He also scored 22 points with six assists during the championship win against Gonzaga.
It had seemed, for so many reasons, that he had accomplished all he could at North Carolina.
While the news came out yesterday that he would declare for the draft, he never hired an agent — which retained his status as an amateur.
Here is what Berry said in a press release distributed by the school shortly after the NBA Draft early entry list was announced (via UNC):
“I know I can continue to improve my game and be better prepared for the NBA after another year playing against the best college competition in the country. There’s no reason to rush leaving school.”
Berry II, a leader on the team, also cited interest in improving his game as well as interest in completing his education and earning a degree as reasons to come back to play for the Tar Heels.
The UNC star one of 182 players originally listed by the league. Teammates including junior Justin Jackson, freshman Tony Bradley and sophomore Theo Pinson were also mentioned.
Last year, much like Berry II, Jackson declared for the draft before changing his mind and returning to college. This offseason, Jackson has signed with an agent.
Bradley and Pinson, meanwhile, have not yet hired agents so either can return to UNC. The official deadline for other NCAA players to withdraw from the draft is May 24, ten days after the NBA draft combine.