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IU guard Armaan Franklin commits to Virginia

Virginia, after losing three players to the transfer portal, got its first significant pickup in the offseason Thursday evening, landing 6’4” sophomore Armaan Franklin, late of Indiana.

Franklin was the Hoosiers’ second leading scorer in 2020-2021, averaging 11.4 points per game, shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from three-point range, while logging 30.1 minutes per game.

Indiana fired coach Archie Miller after IU finished 12-15 this past season. Miller’s teams went 67-58 in his four years in Bloomington.

Franklin decided to transfer out after Miller’s firing, and he found many suitors after entering the portal – Xavier, Butler, Minnesota, Louisville, Penn State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Georgia among them.

Scouting report

Synergy Sports ranks Franklin “excellent” coming off screens (15-of-21, 71.4%, 1.480 PPP), “very good” on spot-ups (30-of-70, 42.9%, 1.048 PPP) and handoffs (8-of-17, 47.1%, 0.957 PPP), and average in pick-and-roll ball-handler (16-of-45, 35.6%, 0.644 PPP).

Shot profile: according to Hoop-Math.com, 31.5 percent of his shot attempts in 2020-2021 were at the rim, in line with Morsell (30.2 percent), and higher than Murphy (24.1 percent) – and 72.4 percent of his shots were at the rim or threes, a number you’d like to see, for a gifted spot-up shooter, more in line with that of Murphy (86.9 percent).

Defensively, Franklin rated “good” per Synergy, allowing opponents 0.822 PPP. For context, Beekman was UVA’s best perimeter defender in 2020-2021, allowing 0.590 PPP, with Woldetensae (0.764), Murphy (0.772) and Clark (0.813) in the same range as Franklin.

Morsell allowed 0.948 PPP in 2020-2021.

How Franklin fits in

Franklin would figure to get big minutes at Virginia, which we know for sure returns point guards Kihei Clark (34.0 minutes per game) and Reece Beekman (29.4 minutes per game) from the 2020-2021 backcourt.

After that, it’s a crap shoot.

Up in the air at the moment: 6’9” three guard Trey Murphy III (29.6 minutes per game in 2020-2021). Murphy is a rising senior, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the gifted wing (11.3 points/g, 50.3% FG, 43.3% 3FG) at least test the NBA Draft waters, if not take a dive in.

Casey Morsell, a 6’4” sophomore, one of the three players from the 2020-2021 roster to enter the transfer portal, averaged 15.0 minutes per game this past season, primarily at the two and three.

Other minutes in the three-man backcourt for coach Tony Bennett went to graduating senior Tomas Woldetensae (13.5 minutes per game), and to a limited extent, 6’7” rising senior Kody Stattmann (8.5 minutes per game), who, though, was limited to four games due to health issues.

Assuming Stattmann is healthy, you’d figure him for 15-20 minutes per game at the three. And if Murphy does return, he could see some time at three and also at a stretch four, given his size and athleticism – and the lack of depth, for now, anyway, in the post, which loses seniors Jay Huff and Sam Hauser, and returns only two players with any significant minutes, 6’11” sophomore Kadin Shedrick (7.8 minutes per game in 2020-2021)) and 7’0” junior Francisco Caffaro (6.9 minutes per game).

Virginia is among five finalists for the services of 6’7” East Carolina transfer Jayden Gardner (18.3 ppg, 8.3 rebounds/g, 47.9% FG in 2020-2021), a rising senior who would slot in well at either post position, and be the program’s first back-to-the-basket threat since the days of Anthony Gill.

Gardner is expected to announce his next destination from a group of suitors that includes N.C. State, Miami, Arkansas and LSU in the next week.


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