Kessler, a Georgia native, will continue his college career at Auburn. The No. 5 center and No. 22 recruit in the 2020 class entered the NCAA transfer portal last month after one season in Chapel Hill.
In recent days, there were rumors that Kessler could opt to return to UNC, but instead he’ll be on The Plains. Gonzaga and Kentucky were among the other programs reportedly in the mix for Kessler.
“I am excited to play for a great coach at an awesome school and be close to home and my family. War Eagle!” Kessler wrote in his announcement.
Kessler struggled to find playing time in a loaded Carolina frontcourt early on in his freshman season, but ultimately saw his role expanded in February.
Kessler produced 20 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes in a win over Florida State on February 27, capping a stretch of four-straight games in double figures. He also recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds against Notre Dame in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
Kessler finished his UNC tenure off with two points and one rebound in 13 minutes against Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.
New UNC head coach Hubert Davis has been working on replenishing his team’s frontcourt, as the Heels are losing not only Kessler but also Day’Ron Sharpe (NBA) and Garrison Brooks (transfer). Another big man, Armando Bacot, has entered the NBA Draft process but is leaving open the possibility to return to school.