North Carolina 7-footer Walker Kessler to transfer

Mar 10, 2021; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams talks to North Carolina Tar Heels forward Walker Kessler (13) as his team plays the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half in the second round of the 2021 ACC tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. The North Carolina Tar Heels won 101-59. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Walker Kessler is transferring from North Carolina after one season.

Kessler, a 7-foot-1 freshman and top recruit as a McDonald’s All-American, declared he was done in Chapel Hill via Twitter on Monday.

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Head coach Roy Williams said the Georgia native was impacted by two 14-day quarantine periods in which he had been identified as a close contact.

“I am honored to have played for an amazing historic program like the University of North Carolina,” Kessler said. “Gratitude is all I feel for my teammates, coaches, trainers, administration, and staff. During a very difficult year for all of us, they were able to help me to grow as a player and most importantly as a person. After careful and calculated consideration, I will be entering the transfer portal. I wish the entire Carolina family the absolute best in the years ahead. Thank you Tar Heel Nation!”

Kessler averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game this season.

During his high school recruitment, Kessler’s other finalists were Duke, Virginia, Michigan and Vanderbilt. Duke was considered the favorite for Kessler until a late visit to Chapel Hill.

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Williams also said Kessler battled knee pain and believes he might still be growing.

Late in the season, Kessler performed like a player who was figuring it out. He put up 20 points with eight rebounds and four blocks in a comeback win over Florida State and, in the ACC tournament opener, scored 16 points with 12 rebounds and eight blocks against Notre Dame.

–Field Level Media