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Heel Tough Blog: Jalen Washington's UNC Future in Question?

Updated: Apr 12

University of North Carolina Athletics

With the departure of Armando Bacot, it’s unknown who’s going to start at center for North Carolina in 2024-25. Jalen Washington is set to enter his junior season, and after carving out a role this past year, feels poised to take a step forward during his Tar Heel career. But college basketball is different now, and there’s no guarantee that Washington will be the starting big man for Carolina, with the emergence of the transfer portal becoming the best way to build rosters now. 

Once the transfer portal opened up, Clifford Omoruyi, from Rutgers entered the portal, becoming the best defensive big in the portal. The big man entries didn’t stop there, as Oumar Ballo, an All-Pac 12 player from Arizona has also entered the portal, along with Aaron Bradshaw, a talented player, that fell out of favor with John Calipari at Kentucky. Yesterday, it was made known that Carolina is in contact with each of these transfers, with Ballo expected to visit after taking his initial visits to Indiana, Louisville, and Kansas State. 

Jalen Washington was very good for Carolina off the bench and proved capable of giving Armando Bacot rest throughout the season, even as the team got into conference play and the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 3.9 points, and 2.6 rebounds, in just over 8 minutes per game, averages you’d expect to increase if he moved into a starting role next season. With his ability to spread the floor, Hubert Davis could truly run his 5-out offense, as Carolina’s offense continues to get more modern Washington needs to add weight to hold his own defensively, but there’s plenty to be excited about if he were to start for UNC next season. 

The responsibility of Hubert Davis is to put together a roster that puts Carolina in the best position possible to win ACC championships and go on deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. The best way to do that is to add talent and depth to your roster via the transfer portal, which is why, no matter how much they like Jalen Washington, it would be irresponsible if Carolina wasn’t involved with the big men in the transfer portal, as there’s a chance you could add a better player than Washington to your roster. With the loyalty that Carolina showed Washington after suffering a severe knee injury in high school, he might not get upset that Carolina is recruiting over him, and stay in Chapel Hill, but conventional wisdom tells us that if Carolina were to land a Ballo or an Omoruyi, that Washington would enter the transfer portal, in hopes to find a starting role, even if it means playing at a lesser program or in a lesser conference. 

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