As the Virginia Cavaliers are set to tip off their 2021-2022 season this coming Tuesday against Navy, Indiana transfer Armaan Franklin will play a critical role for the Wahoos as he looks to help make up for the losses of Trey Murphy, Sam Hauser, and Jay Huff while also providing shot creating and playmaking that the team lacked in the backcourt last season.
With Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman returning, Franklin will be looking to add a different element in the backcourt. As for what he’ll bring to the table, Franklin notes “I think the ability to knock down shots. Those are two players [in Reece and Kihei] that really look for open people and I think I’ll complement that a lot.”
Tony Bennett sees the same value in Franklin’s arrival, noting how “one of the reasons we thought he was an important addition was because he can shoot on the move off some screens he stretches the defense and — losing our three top scorers and our three top shooters — we needed to have some perimeter shooting out there.”
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Bennett continues, saying that while Franklin “can do some things off the dribble, he can certainly stretch [the floor] and [defenses] have to be aware of that and that helps everyone else out.”
The Indiana native notes that, in the offseason, he worked to further diversify his shooting ability. “There’s been a big emphasis on me for shooting on the move and off the tribble as well as being able to create and get downhill to the basket and finishing,” he says, adding that “a lot of my shots last year were strictly catch and shoot.”
But, as Franklin notes, in a new system “I’ll be running off a lot more screens so I got to be able to shoot off balance,” as he summarizes to say that “more difficult shots are what I’ve been working on.”
Franklin also feels that “I can create for [others] sometimes too just because of my ability to shoot and once [the defense] closes out on me I can drive and kick to them.” All in all, the Indiana transfer predicts that “we’ll be able to feed off each other pretty well.”
Of course, Franklin will also bring toughness and tenacity defensively. He emphasizes how Clark and Beekman have helped him adapt on that side of the ball, saying that those two “are menaces on the defensive end as well. I don’t want to be lacking on that end so they help me pick up my defensive play as well.”
Bennett is particularly encouraged by the time Franklin playing in a pack line defensive system at Indiana noting that “Armaan has come from a system where they valued defense, tried to play the right way,” adding that “that experience,” is another aspect of Franklin’s game that will make him such an integral piece for the ‘Hoos this season.