On Friday, Chance Comanche made an announcement that we’ve been expecting for several weeks. He officially decided to forego the rest of his eligibility and not return to the Arizona Wildcats.
While he’s facing plenty of criticism from all fronts for this move, I’m not going to sit here and do that.
After having a strong finish to his freshman season, it was expected that Comanche would make a huge jump in his game and even challenge Dusan Ristic for the starting center job at Arizona. That didn’t happen. It really didn’t even come close to happening.
Comanche averaged 18.1 minutes per game as a sophomore, which ranked 8th on the 2016-17 team. He picked up 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds while playing in all 37 games. Yes his point production tripled and his rebounds doubled from the previous year, but his fouls and turnovers also tripled.
But with Ristic returning for next season, and the expected addition of signee DeAndre Ayton, it’s likely Comanche’s court time would not have increased very much this coming year.
So instead of averaging 20 or so minutes per game without making any money, he’s going to go do that in the D-League or overseas and actually get compensated in a way that he desires.
Comanche faced that decision this offseason, and even though he did not receive an invitation the NBA Draft Combine, he’s going to take his chances signing with whatever team wants to take a chance on him.
There’s always the argument about the free education about being the pay for college athletes, and while he hasn’t flatly said he’s not interested in school, we do have the academic suspension at the start of the 2016-17 season as circumstantial evidence for that claim.
As long as the NCAA is in its current state, I think it’s dumb for fans and other people to criticize someone for moving on as quickly as they can. Will Comanche be an NBA star? No, but he wouldn’t have been by spending another year or two in Tucson either, especially with Arizona’s recent inability to develop big men.
If he’s happy trying to work his way up the ranks while making money doing it, so be it. It’s his decision to make, not yours.