Hours after a report circulated that Joel Berry had made up his mind to return for his junior season at North Carolina, his father during a phone interview said that no decision had been made and that his son might still consider leaving school to pursue a professional career.
“Right now we don’t have a definitive answer,” Joel Berry Sr. said on Friday afternoon.
His comments contradict those he made in a report that Inside Carolina posted on Friday morning. In that story, Berry Sr. implied that his son had made up his mind to return to school. Later in the day, though, Berry Sr. said “there haven’t been any talks” about his son’s future plans.
“As a parent, we always want our kids to stay in school and get an education,” Berry Sr. said. “And I believe in commitment, he’s committed to North Carolina.
“But tomorrow, you never know when an opportunity might come, and you have to make a smart decisions. Then you can say nay or yay.”
Berry Sr. said that his family’s plan has been for Berry to remain in school for four years. But in regards to Berry’s decision to return for his junior season, “We just really haven’t discussed that as a family,” Berry Sr. said.
“We’re still jumping around about the Final Four,” Berry Sr. said. “We’re still rejoicing about that.”
Berry Sr. said he wasn’t sure whether his son would take advantage of a new rule that allows underclassmen the opportunity to go through the NBA pre-draft process. Under that rule, college players can return to school – as long as they haven’t signed with an agent – even after declaring for the draft, going through the draft combine and working out with an NBA team.
“That’s something that he’ll have to sit down and talk with coach (Roy) Williams about,” Berry Sr. said.
Berry Sr. said there was no timeline to determine whether his son would definitely return for his junior season. The younger Berry often thrived during his breakout sophomore season.
He earned ACC tournament MVP honors and helped lead the Tar Heels to their 19th Final Four. Despite his success this season Berry isn’t listed among the top 60 NBA draft prospects at either draftexpress.com or nbadraft.net, which are two popular websites that cover the NBA draft.
Given Berry’s uncertain draft prospects it seems likely that he’d return to UNC for his junior season. His father, though, said that there was “nothing definite” to announce.
“That’s something that we haven’t sat down as a family and discussed,” Berry Sr. said.