North Carolina's Armando Bacot to return for fifth season

How Armando Bacot's return affects North Carolina next season (1:54)

Mark Packer and Taylor Tannenbaum discuss Armando Bacot returning to North Carolina next season. (1:54)

North Carolina big man Armando Bacot will return for a fifth season with the Tar Heels, he told Stadium on Wednesday.

Bacot, who is among the 15 finalists for the Wooden Award, averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds this season. The Tar Heels (20-13) decided not to play in the NIT after failing to make the NCAA tournament field for the first time since 2010.

"I'm using my last year of eligibility." Bacot told Stadium. "I felt it was the right decision for my future. ... The primary reason I am coming back is because I don't want to leave North Carolina this way. But I also know I need to improve and feel like this is the best place to do that."

The 6-foot-11 Bacot is North Carolina's career leader in rebounds, double-doubles and double-figure rebounding games. He has averaged 13.7 points and 10.1 rebounds in his four seasons.

He participated in North Carolina's Senior Night festivities this year. He has a fifth year of eligibility because of the waiver the NCAA granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AP third-team All-America selection was hampered by ankle injuries multiple times during the season.

Bacot led North Carolina to a runner-up finish in last year's NCAA tournament, and his decision to return was a major reason the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 in the AP's preseason poll. He averaged 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds in 2021-22, and he capped that season by becoming the first player ever to have six double-doubles in one NCAA tournament.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.