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UNC Basketball: Recruiting expert weighs in on Elliot Cadeau’s college readiness

The soon-to-be senior point guard is so good that he may not even make it to his senior season.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JUN 06 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There has been a good amount of noise surrounding Elliot Cadeau’s potential reclassification as of late. Our own writer Doug Valentine discussed over the weekend whether or not it would be a good idea for UNC, which I highly recommend checking out, but ultimately his takeaway is that this is a guy that you want on your team whenever he decides he is ready. Now we have recruiting experts weighing in as well, and there is plenty of good stuff to discuss.

247Sports national analyst Travis Branham joined one of Inside Carolina’s podcast shows recently to discuss recruiting, and specifically gave his thoughts on Elliot Cadeau. Here is a snippet of what he had to say about Cadeau’s evolution as a player:

“So if you are asking who’s the certified best player right now coming into college? It would absolutely be him. He could go start a game for North Carolina tomorrow and I wouldn’t have any reservations about that. So skilled, elite vision, elite passer that sets the table for everybody around him.

“And then also he’s improving as a shooter but still has a ways to go partially due to shot selection. But he’s able to create separation, rise up and create from all three levels. One thing I appreciate about him, it’s just kind of like a lost art, or it’s the old way, I guess he’s just a pass first guard. You don’t see it often anymore. So I very much appreciate that. But yeah, as high a floor as they come in this class, in terms of projecting for the collegiate level, and especially for immediate impact the year ahead.”

The most exciting part of Cadeau’s game is that his vision and passing skills are arguably the best that we’ve seen at Carolina since Kendall Marshall. While there have been numerous high-profile point guards that have been on campus since then, none of them possessed such a high ability to make plays, and it’s something that makes the idea of reclassifying extremely intriguing.

To that point, here is what Branham had to say about how Cadeau would mesh with the current roster:

“Absolutely. I don’t have any reservations with him getting along with anybody. He’s the type of guy that is he’s so smart and he’s going to know his personnel around him. And he’s going to try and figure out how to put them in spots and in situations that will make them better. You don’t have to worry about how he is going to fit. You put the ball in his hands and he’ll figure it out.

“So when it comes to RJ Davis, if you were to come in now or if RJ is still there for another year, I have no issue about it. If I’m Hubert Davis, I would want Elliot on the ball — 100 percent. Let RJ Davis do what he does and that’s score the basketball. RJ has long been wired to do that. So let’s let him do that and let Elliot set the table for him. So if even Armando Bacot or anybody else, I really don’t have any reservations with him. You don’t have to find the right pairing alongside him. He’s just going to figure it out. And he’s going to elevate whoever it is around them.”

One of my biggest concerns with Cadeau reclassifying has been the idea of having RJ Davis lose the starting point guard role, but it also could work really well having Davis slide to the shooting guard spot and letting Cadeau do his thing. Having the flexibility to rotate Cadeau, Davis, Seth Trimble, and Simeon Wilcher into the point guard spot any time Hubert Davis wants is also a luxury that he didn’t have during his first two seasons as head coach, and ultimately it may be more of a benefit than a hinderance. That is, of course, if everyone is willing to accept their roles.

Finally, Branham finished up the discussion about Cadeau by making a case for him playing in either 2023 or 2024. He said something very important when he gave his answer, and it may be an indicator that reclassification may be the better option:

“To that point, I don’t know if he’s going to get any better in high school. He’s dominating every single game. He’s averaging 11 assists on the EYBL circuit. What else does he need to do? I mean, he can improve his jumper, but you can work on that next year.

“The game comes so slow to him at this point. What’s the purpose of playing another year of high school basketball? You can make that jump. He’s old for this class, he’s ready physically. He is ready to make that jump. Why should he stay in 2024?

While reclassification usually isn’t a conversation that UNC is involved in, I still haven’t known of anybody to say so definitively that a player should reclassify. Even when it came to GG Jackson last season, it felt more like a could conversation than a should. I have now seen Cadeau play a few times, but ultimately Branham has seen a lot more tape, and for him to say that he has no reason to stay in 2024 is telling. I don’t know if the Cadeau family is thinking the same thing, but with two open scholarships left and the transfer portal closing, there is a very very real possibility that Hubert Davis gains a starting point guard before the summer is over.

I would like to know what all of you think of Branham’s comments. Do you think Cadeau reclassifying would work for this 2023-24 team? Would you rather him come in with Ian Jackson & Co.? Let us know in the comments below.