UNC Basketball: Should fans want reclassification?

Dec 8, 2022; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Cardinal Hayes Cardinals guard Ian Jackson (11) against the Duncanville High School Panthers during the HoopHall West basketball tournament at Chaparral High School. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 8, 2022; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Cardinal Hayes Cardinals guard Ian Jackson (11) against the Duncanville High School Panthers during the HoopHall West basketball tournament at Chaparral High School. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s been much talk around the UNC basketball program and reclassification with future top recruits. However, is that best for the program?

Over the last month, the topic of reclassification has been a hot topic surrounding the UNC basketball program and its future 2024 commits. Most of the conversations have revolved around top recruits Elliott Cadeau and Ian Jackson.

However, is that what is best for the UNC basketball program?

Fans naturally want the top talent to get on the court as quickly as possible because we are mostly impatient creatures. Add that in with a disappointing 2022-23 season for UNC basketball fans and the factor of wanting to get back on top of the college basketball world as quickly as possible, you have fans begging for reclassifications.

With the two reclassification candidates being focused around Cadeau and Jackson, let’s discuss those two and how they would fit in the 2023-2024 roster or if they would fit better in 2024-2025.

Hubert Davis has rebuilt the entire UNC basketball roster for 2023-24 and still has two open scholarship spots. However, there are currently six guards on the roster for next year:

RJ Davis, Cormac Ryan, D’Marco Dunn, Seth Trimble, Simeon Wilcher, and Paxson Wojcik.

How would adding Cadeau or Jackson affect that? Is it necessary to carry seven (or eight) guards?

We can assume that both Cadeau and Jackson are one-and-done caliber athletes as both players have stated they want to get to the NBA as quickly as possible. If they were to leave the 2024 class to reclassify, then it would leave the 2024 roster extremely thin at guard (especially if Davis were to not opt to use his COVID season).

Of course, Hubert Davis would be able to recruit again for the 2024 class, but that isn’t as easy as it sounds. From a fan perspective, I would be curious about the belief with the current roster and adding Cadeau and/or Jackson. Jackson has repeatedly shut down reclassification, so I don’t believe that carries as much weight as the Cadeau talks.

If Cadeau were to reclassify, do UNC basketball fans believe that adding him takes the current 2023 roster to a National Championship contender? Remember, this program missed the NCAA Tournament and has completely reconstructed a new roster. Does a freshman make it a title contender?

If the answer is no, I would think fans would want Cadeau to stay in the absolutely loaded 2024 class. That class on paper is going to be considered one of the best classes currently to ever come to Chapel Hill before they step foot on campus. If that class is as good as the rankings say, they should be National Championship contenders in 2024-2025.

If that means Cadeau and Jackson staying in the 2024 class, so be it.

I believe Cadeau does not take this year’s current roster (with two open scholarships) to a National Championship contender. I do believe there is a debate around the potential of the 2023-24 roster if it means Cadeau and Jackson are both reclassifying for this season. However, I don’t believe that is possible or will happen.

For that to be the case, we would assume both are reclassifying to start meaning the lineup would have to look something like this:

Elliot Cadeau

RJ Davis

Ian Jackson

Harrison Ingram

Armando Bacot

That would mean Cormac Ryan transferred from starting the last two years to coming off the bench as a fifth-year senior. So I just don’t believe that happens.

We’ve also heard much of RJ Davis wanting to stay at point guard and how the miscommunication between him and Caleb Love last year caused some problems in running the offense.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, this current roster is already guard heavy. With those two open scholarships, I would rather see those spots be used on forwards who can backup Bacot off the bench and provide quality minutes.

Along those lines, if there is one re-classification that I believe would be beneficial to the current lineup, it would be Jarin Stevenson, but he has yet to commit anywhere, much less reclassify.

Of course, we can look at just a year ago and discuss how some fans were okay with Class of 2023 recruit GG Jackson not wanting to reclassify, and then not long after Pete Nance took the last scholarship spot. Jackson then chose to reclassify and go to South Carolina. So having a top recruit in the 2023 recruiting class did no good for the UNC basketball program since he never stepped foot on campus.

There will always be pros and cons to every scenario and no one can ever know the correct answer to predicting the future. Also, remember that hindsight is always 20-20. Coming off a disappointing season that meant missing the NCAA Tournament, I would rather Davis fill the last two scholarship spots either through the Class of 2023 or through the transfer portal with experience.

Let the veterans of Armando Bacot and RJ Davis lead the pack and get the program back in the NCAA Tournament, possibly going into the second weekend and building momentum for the program heading into the 2024-2025 season with the talented recruiting class coming in.

Ultimately, I think we all can agree Ian Jackson isn’t going to be leaving the Class of 2024 and this is mostly about Elliot Cadeau and if he should/should not reclassify. Let me be perfectly clear here: I want and would love to see Cadeau on the Smith Center floor as quickly as possible. But I believe it is in the best interest of the UNC basketball program for him to stay in the very talented Class of 2024.

The only scenario in which I believe Cadeau reclassifying is beneficial is if he takes the program from its current ceiling (wherever you think that may be – I would say second round/Sweet Sixteen at the moment) to a Final Four/National Championship contender. If that’s the case, then so be it.

Once the transfer portal closes on Friday, we could get a better idea of what the plan is for the final two scholarship spots and if reclassification(s) are in the cards for the 2023-2024 roster. What would you rather see with the final two spots? Reclassification from a combination of Cadeau/Jackson/Stevenson? Or keep those guys in a loaded 2024 class and continue to build on the revamped roster that has been put together over the last few weeks?

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