Matt Cross will be unique case of proven true freshman in 2021

Matt Cross #33 of the Miami Hurricanes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Matt Cross #33 of the Miami Hurricanes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The development surrounding University of Miami basketball transfer Matt Cross came fast and furious on Thursday night. The true freshman forward and former top-100 player out of highly touted prep school Brewster Academy in New Hampshire has decided to transfer to Louisville.

With the new Covid protocols and installments by the NCAA, Cross’s 2020 season will not accrue against his years of eligibility. In 2021 – with his new team – it will be like Cross is entering as a true freshman once again with five years to play four.

Louisville is getting themselves a proven “true” freshman

Players coming out of high school are never sure things no matter how much fan support or recruiting rankings tout them in the steps before they even put a foot on campus. Obviously, you’re going to continue to recruit the high school ranks for the purposes of getting players in your program for a full four seasons or less (if everything goes well).

But what if you get a player for their full length of eligibility while proving himself as a commodity at the NCAA level? Crazy thought, right? It’s the best of both worlds. And it’s coming true for Louisville in this very odd year.

Cross had a couple of breakout performances in his 14 appearances.. One came against ranked Virginia Tech in a close loss where he went for 16 points and hit four threes.

Upon seeing he committed as a transfer, you might have been saying to yourself, “hmm… I remember that name. But I’m not sure where I recall it from.”

IF you happened to take the time to do some research, you would have remembered that Cross had one of his best performances against Louisville on Jan. 16 when Miami upset the Cardinals. Cross had 16 points once again on four threes made.

As it turns out, those would be the last points Cross would score as a Hurricane. He played in two more games without registering a point and was sat by Miami coach Jim Larranaga in a game against Florida State before eventually leaving the program.

Here’s what the coach had to say about the departure, from 247 Sports’ State of the U.

"I think and I believed Matt used this expression, sometimes when you recruit someone who has a lot of qualities you’re looking for and then they arrive on campus and things are going pretty well and you’re really heading in the right direction and then for one reason or another, it just got to the point where I felt like he probably needed to make a change. I was probably just not the right coach for him. I have own my way of doing things and I think you’ve got to kind of buy into that, that approach, and if you don’t then it probably makes you unhappy that you don’t feel like it’s an ideal fit. So I just came to the conclusion the best thing would be for him to find some place that he would be happier at."

Even if it was just a14-game sample size, Louisville head coach Chris Mack and the staff clearly feel like they have enough of a grasp on what Cross can be for Louisville in 2021 and beyond. A terrific spot-up shooter and rebounder for his size, Cross has some shades of Jordan Nwora to his game. That likely appealed to Mack.

He didn’t put up unbelievable numbers that get you jumping out of your seat. But Cross did prove he can be a reliable role player at the very least in the ACC as a freshman.

Cross gets a fresh start as a proven commodity in 2021. That’s an asset for your team that you simply can’t pass up.

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