basketball Edit

Florida Man: Jalen Johnson's decision; Enoch Boakye; more

Jalen Johnson (left)
Jalen Johnson (left) (AP Images)

Each week, national basketball analyst and Rivals' very own Florida Man, Rob Cassidy, takes readers around the basketball world, touching on news, notes and developments. This week, he discusses Jalen Johnson’s decision to abruptly end his college career, addresses a sleeper in the race to land Enoch Boakye and raises a glass to Michigan commit Will Tschetter.


MORE: Ranking the Contenders for Noah Shelby | Ramses Melendez chooses Illinois

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30


TAKE OF THE WEEK: Quitting rocks 

A healthy chunk of the college basketball world spent Tuesday debating whether Duke’s Jalen Johnson “opted out of the season” or “quit on his team.” It was the quintessential online argument. All the usual signposts were present and accounted for. There was backlash to the decision and backlash to the backlash. People were called soft. Others were called insensitive.

Yada, yada, yada.

Here’s the thing, though: It doesn’t matter at all. Not one bit.

Johnson missed roughly a month with a foot injury earlier in the season, and he had some peaks and valleys from a performance standpoint when healthy. He has been nearly absent from the team’s rotation as of late. Nevertheless, the Blue Devil freshman stands to make millions of dollars very soon. And so a business decision to leave his unpaid internship and preserve himself for the paid gig he’s set to start next year was made. This does not seem like a particularly controversial choice to me.

If the point of college is to help you land a high-paying job, Johnson’s short stint at Duke served its purpose. He’ll have an entry-level position in his field come November, when he’s selected in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Most mock drafts have him going somewhere in the top 10, which would provide him with life-changing money. Not bad for a college dropout.

Quitting a job in which you aren’t thriving and have fallen out of favor with the boss feels incredible. It’s also a solid move for your mental health. Take it from me. I’ve done it, and never once regretted it. Going to a job you hated every day sucks. Doing it in a pandemic and not receiving a paycheck for your troubles is even worse. It’s perfectly OK to look out for No. 1 sometimes. Every single other person in college athletics has been doing it for decades. It seemingly only becomes “selfish” when an unpaid employee decides to get in on the act.

Sometimes, quitting is smart. Sometimes, quitting is healthy. We should all aspire to do it more.



BUZZ OF THE WEEK: Enoch Boakye’s decommitment 

When Rivals100 prospect Enoch Boakye backed off his commitment to Michigan State on Monday schools such as Texas Tech, Kentucky, Arizona, USC, Gonzaga and Duke all reached out. One of those programs may ultimately land the touted 2022 prospect, but Oklahoma State is also heavily in the mix.

The Cowboys and Boakye have a Zoom call scheduled for Wednesday morning, and I expect the pitch to at least partially be based on playing time and the ability to pair with fellow Canadian Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe in the Pokes’ frontcourt. As far as developing NBA talent goes, Mike Boyton can point to the possible No. 1 overall pick on his roster or talk about Moncrieffe’s trajectory. I’m not sure OSU is the favorite to land Boakye, but it’s easy to see why it could be among the leaders.


STOCK UP: Will Tschetter

Michigan commit Will Tschetter made the most of a last-minute national television opportunity on Monday night when his Stewartville (Minn.) High School team filled in for a Tennessee-based school that got snowed in, making it impossible for them to travel to Minnesota for an ESPN-produced game. Most of the event coverage centered on No. 1 overall prospect Chet Holmgren, who once again lived up to his lofty billing on the big stage, but the three-star Tschetter made a splash as well.

Tschetter finished the game with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists. More impressive than the stat line, however, were the couple of buckets he managed to get while going around the 7-foot Holmgren, whom most expect to make a case to be selected No. 1 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Currently ranked as the 133rd prospect in America, Tschetter is certainly making a case to slide up that list. How dramatic such a move will be is yet to be determined, but on Monday night he outplayed his ranking.




Let’s do a little self-congratulating here. Remember who told you Florida State, the team picked to finish third in the ACC, might win the league? It’s OK if you don’t. I’ll remind you.

The Seminoles drilled a talented Virginia team 81-60 on Monday night. Leonard Hamilton’s squad is becoming more consistent and possesses both the length and athletes to cause trouble for elite opponents. In fact, the Noles now look like a dark horse pick to win not only the ACC but possibly the national title, should things break their way come March. I’m not saying they’ll do it. Odds are they won’t.

Still, it’s mighty tempting to throw a few bucks at +2800 in an effort to make the second weekend of the tournament extra interesting.