BLOOMINGTON – Armaan Franklin was a forward as a sophomore, and a good enough forward at that. Averaged double figures in scoring.
But when preparations began for his junior season, and Cathedral coach Jason Delaney asked Franklin to move to point guard, the four-star 2019 prospect didn’t flinch.
“I’m so proud of how he’s grown in the last year,” Delaney told IndyStar on Thursday night, after Franklin announced his commitment to IU. “He was willing to shoulder the coaching that came with it. If things weren’t going right on the floor, I was going to him, because things weren’t getting done. He embraced every bit of that. He got better.”
Franklin announced his commitment to Indiana and coach Archie Miller via social media Thursday night, becoming the Hoosiers’ first commitment in the 2019 class. He picked IU over offers from Purdue, Xavier, Butler and others, although by the end, his recruitment was believed to be an all-Big Ten battle.
After visits to both IU and Purdue in recent weeks, Franklin made his decision public on his Twitter account. The four-star prospect, ranked No. 133 nationally according to the 247Sports Composite, becomes the fourth in-state player to commit to Miller since his arrival in Bloomington.
Now all of 6-5 with an enviable wingspan, Franklin possesses the kind of size and length Miller craves in guards he can build versatile on-court combinations around. Delaney figures Franklin could guard any position from one through three in college.
During a holiday tournament last winter, when Cathedral faced Tindley, Franklin volunteered to guard Purdue signee Eric Hunter. He doubled his talented opponent up, holding Hunter to 15 points while scoring 30 of his own.
“He’s a great defender, and that’s what is going to get him on the floor as a freshman at IU I think,” Delaney said. “I don’t think players today realize how far willingness and desire to play both ends of the floor can take you.”
That performance against Tindley told the story of more than just Franklin’s defensive versatility, though.
His move to point guard also brought the best out of Franklin offensively. A 10-point, three-rebound-a-game sophomore became a 23-and-8 junior, with nearly four assists per game on top of that.
“His offense comes within the flow of an offense,” Delaney said. “It’s not him out there hunting shots. And he’s very efficient when he does shoot. He’s a guy other players like to play with, and by not being selfish, guys know he’s going to get them the ball.”
Franklin helped lead the Irish to a 19-5 record as a junior, against one of the tougher schedules in the state.
“He just does everything solid on a basketball court, and he’s a tremendous character kid,” said Brian Snow, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports. “He’s going to bring so many intangibles to Indiana. Even if he doesn’t score a lot, even if he doesn’t rebound a lot, he’s just going to be on the floor helping you win games.”
Franklin opens the Hoosiers’ 2019 class, which is likely to include at least three players. IU will lose senior forward Juwan Morgan and graduate transfer forward Evan Fitzner to attrition after the coming season, and McDonald’s All American freshman guard Romeo Langford could opt for the NBA in 2019.
Fellow in-state standouts Keion Brooks and Trayce Jackson-Davis, of La Porte La Lumiere and Center Grove, respectively, are also priority targets for Miller and his staff.
Landing Franklin would help ease that last potential departure, whether he plays right away or not.
Delaney said he’d like to see his star senior continue to extend his range, something Snow said could make Franklin a dangerous two-way player long-term.
“He’s someone I think will become a good shooter in college,” Snow said. “By the time he’s a senior, he’s a guy you’re really scared of.”