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Incoming College Basketball Freshmen Already Wishing They Could Change Schools

Kerry MillerCollege Basketball National AnalystDecember 8, 2016

Incoming College Basketball Freshmen Already Wishing They Could Change Schools

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    April has been a month filled to the gills with transfers, early entrants to the NBA draft and coaching changes, and as such, there are undoubtedly a few highly rated incoming freshmen who wish they had waited until now to commit to a school.

    Myles Turner is scheduled to make his signing announcement on Wednesday afternoon, and he looks like a genius for doing so. While others have left their fate to the decisions of several others, Turner has been afforded the luxury of letting all of the cookies crumble before determining which school gives him the best chance to succeed.

    If they were making their decisions today, do you really think Karl Towns Jr. would willingly enter into a situation where he'll be lucky to play 15 minutes per game in Kentucky's loaded frontcourt? Would Craig Victor sign on to be a part of Arizona's also overstocked frontcourt?

    On the other side of the fence, would JaKeenan Gant have committed to Frank Haith at Missouri if he had known Kim Anderson would be his new head coach? Or would Kevon Looney have signed with UCLA if he had known the Bruins would be losing nearly two-thirds of their points from last season?

    For one reason or another, these are the 10 incoming freshmen who are probably wishing they had waited a few more months to commit.

Robert Johnson, Indiana

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    The Indiana Hoosiers had seven players score more than 80 points this past season.

    Will Sheehey (11.4 PPG) and Evan Gordon (5.5 PPG) graduated. Noah Vonleh (11.3 PPG) left for the NBA after one season. Jeremy Hollowell (5.7 PPG) transferred to Georgia State. Yogi Ferrell (17.3 PPG) and Stanford Robinson (6.4 PPG) were arrested last weekend for underage drinking and possession of false identifications, so who knows what kind of ramifications that will have on their playing status in November?

    But hey, Troy Williams (7.3 PPG) is back. Not all is lost.

    Long story short, there is plenty of playing time to be distributed for the Hoosiers.

    Unfortunately for Robert Johnson, another shooting guard is just about the only thing they don't need.

    For about a month, this looked like a great fit for Johnson. When he signed on Sept. 20, 2013, it seemed like he would be a lock for a starting job. With Gordon graduating, Johnson would have shared the backcourt with Ferrell for a year or two before becoming the alpha male.

    But then, on October 31, James Blackmon Jr.who had originally verbally committed to Indiana before deciding to explore other optionssigned on with the Hoosiers and immediately supplanted Johnson on the depth chart.

    There isn't a huge demand for shooting guards this offseason—just look at how many quality transferring shooting guards still haven't found a home—but Johnson likely would have been in a better position for playing time if he had chosen to play at any of the other three schools (Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia) that he was considering.

Kameron Chatman, Michigan

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    With Jordan Morgan graduating, Jon Horford transferring and Mitch McGary leaving for the NBA, Michigan is almost entirely devoid of big men.

    Max Bielfeldt (6'7") has barely played in his first two seasons with the Wolverines. Reports are that redshirt freshman Mark Donnal (6'8") has bulked up and could be a beast in the post, but he figures to be the only real paint presence for this team next season.

    What that means for Kameron Chatman (6'7") is that he'll be forced to spend a lot of time defending and trying to score against opposing big men. As was the case with Jabari Parker at Duke last year, there will likely be long stretches of the game where Chatman is the de facto center for Michigan.

    Though Alan Williams has done just fine as the 6'7" center for UC Santa Barbara, playing that role in the B1G is a much tougher proposition.

Theo Pinson, North Carolina

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    The bizarre thing about Theo Pinson's decision is that he signed with North Carolina more than two months after Justin Jackson did.

    Even if Pinson thought J.P. Tokoto would inexplicably declare for the NBA draft, he was still willingly entering into a situation where his best-case scenario was battling for playing time with another one of the best small forwards in this year's recruiting class.

    When he committed to North Carolina, the other primary team in play for his services was Indianaand the Hoosiers could desperately use a quality small forward next season.

    Roy Williams will absolutely figure out a way to get Pinson plenty of playing time, but he may not have as much of an opportunity to be a stud as he would have been elsewhere.

JaKeenan Gant, Missouri

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    Between a head coach who bolted for Tulsa, the top two scorers leaving a year early for the NBA draft and the third-best scorer graduating, the Missouri Tigers are the leading candidate for the honor of "Average Team Undergoing the Most Turnover."

    If JaKeenan Gant was a "can't miss" recruit expected to come in and dominate, playing on a team starting from scratch would be a great way to showcase his immense talent to the NBA. However, Gant is more of an extreme potential type of guy who would be more likely to succeed as the third or fourth offensive option for a season or two.

    Worse news yet for Gant, the only two returning Tigers who scored more than 150 points last season are two guys who play at his position. Missouri won't have much for the 2014-15 season, but Gant, Johnathan Williams III and Ryan Rosburg will be creating a bit of a logjam in the frontcourt.

    Given the team's lack of other options, the Tigers could always go with a starting lineup consisting of three forwards that will almost never play on the perimeter, but there are a lot of other schools where Gant would arguably have a much better opportunity to flourish.

Grayson Allen, Duke

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    Grayson Allen is an incredible talent.

    He is possibly the best three-point shooter in this year's incoming class, and he is more than capable of driving to the hoop for a rim-rattling dunk. Allen's defensive skills are a bit lacking, but the inability of other teams to defend him will more than make up for it.

    There are maybe four schools in the entire country where he wouldn't be immediately guaranteed a starting job, and he just so happened to pick one of them.

    Even with Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Tyler Thornton and Andre Dawkins all out of the picture, it's still quite crowded at Duke. Between Allen, Quinn Cook, Tyus Jones, Rasheed Sulaimon and Justise Winslownot to mention the occasional minutes for Semi Ojeleye and Matt Jonesthere are going to be a lot of mouths to feed.

    When Allen committed to Duke in April 2013, it was looking like he'd be sharing the backcourt with Cook. Jones and Winslow didn't commit until November, and Sulaimon had all the makings of a player who would leave for the NBA after his sophomore season.

    Allen will do just fine at Duke. He'll almost certainly start as a sophomore, and he strikes me as the type of top talent who might actually stay in school for four years.

    But if he had waited until now to make his decision, do you think he would still choose to play for Duke? Heck, with the way rosters are looking today, he might have chosen to play a few miles down the road at North Carolina instead.

Chinanu Onuaku, Louisville

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    There has been no shortage of talk about Kentucky's logjam in the frontcourt, but the Wildcats' in-state rival certainly seems to be hoarding big men, as well.

    With Montrezl Harrell somewhat shockingly coming back for another season and Akoy Agau and Mangok Mathiang already in the fold, there's not much excess playing time for power forwards or centers at Louisville.

    And yet, the Cardinals have a quartet of incoming frontcourt players in Jaylen Johnson (6'9"), Chinanu Onuaku (6'10"), Anas Osama Mahmoud (7'1") and Matz Stockman (7'2").

    Onuaku is rated the highest of the bunch by scouts, thus figuring to be the one making the biggest sacrifice to play for Rick Pitino next season.

    He only had three schools on his list (Georgetown, Miami (FL) and Louisville), but had he instead chosen to sign with Miami, he would be joining a team with only one returning player taller than 6'6".

    He will rarely see the floor for Louisville, but he very well could have been a starter for the Hurricanes.

Joe Burton, Oklahoma State

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    When Joe Burton committed to Oklahoma State last October, the Cowboys were a program on the rise.

    Thanks to Marcus Smart's surprise decision to return for his sophomore season, they were a trendy preseason pick to win the 2014 national championship. No one was expecting Smart to come back for a third year, but Burton was signing on to join a 2014-15 rotation led by the likes of Stevie Clark, Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins.

    But now Clark and Williams have transferred and Cobbins is recovering from a torn Achilles. Clark didn't leave the program on anything resembling good terms. His dismissal combined with Smart shoving a fan really leave Oklahoma State and head coach Travis Ford in need of a PR makeover.

    Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte III are back, butthrough no fault of his ownBurton went from potentially playing sixth man for a national contender to needing to be a key offensive weapon for a team trying to pick up the pieces.

Craig Victor, Arizona

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    Arizona lost a lot of talent when Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson declared for the NBA, but it might not have been enough for Craig Victor to get quality playing time.

    Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are back for another year, and the Wildcats are adding a surefire recruit in Stanley Johnson. Even before we bring Victor into the picture, there are already four players who could start at just about any school in the country fighting for the three starting jobs in the frontcourt.

    And suffice it to say, Sean Miller has no problem playing a short rotation if it gives him the best chance to win. There were only seven players on last year's roster who averaged better than six minutes per gameand they were without Ashley for nearly half the season.

Kevon Looney, UCLA

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    As a highly rated senior in high school hoping to showcase his talents to the NBA, one of the things a player should be looking for is a school projected for enough turnover that he can be assured a starting position, yet not so much turnover that he runs the risk of becoming the face of a failed season.

    I fear we're encroaching on the latter end of that spectrum with Kevon Looney.

    To be fair, the demise of the Bruins has been vastly overstated. They did lose a lot from last year's team, but they won't be reinventing the wheel, either. Norman Powell, Tony Parker and Bryce Alford are crucial contributors who will be back for another season, and I have a sneaking suspicion Steve Alford will make some noise by landing a key guard via transfers.

    Still, UCLA has a lot of slack to pick up, and the incoming combo forward will be one of the primary players expected to do it.

    Looney is an exceptional player, rated 12th in this year's recruiting class by ESPN. But does he have the mentality to be a winner?

    One of the biggest knocks on his game by scouts has been that he's selfless to a fault. He does all of the little things that help make a team better, but he seems to lack the killer instinct that this UCLA roster needs right now.

Karl Towns Jr., Kentucky

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    There are quite a few McDonald's All-Americans who will be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to playing time at Kentucky, but Karl Towns Jr. figures to be in the least enviable position of all.

    He'll play. He'll score. He'll succeed. I'm not doubting his talent.

    But will he be able to develop into the type of post presence that most NBA general managers will be looking for?

    Towns has a nice three-point stroke, but he settles for playing on the perimeter far too oftensomething that doesn't figure to change with Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles and Marcus Lee clogging the paint for the Wildcats.

    He'll probably get the chance to become more of a prototypical center next season, but Towns absolutely could have been a one-and-done lottery pick if he had chosen a school that could play him 30 minutes per game as the primary post presence.

     

    Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.

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