Eleven days after he did not get off the bench in his team’s season-ending Elite Eight loss, Kansas forward Carlton Bragg announced he won’t be back next season.
The former five-star recruit instead will transfer in hopes of finding a program where he can carve out a bigger role.
“This past year didn’t go as well as I thought it would and it’s in my best interest to get a fresh start,” Bragg said in a statement. “I want to thank my teammates, coaches and the fans for all their support these past two years. I will always cheer for the Jayhawks.”
Hailed as the heir apparent to forward Perry Ellis when he signed with Kansas, Bragg was expected to enjoy a breakout season as a sophomore after spending his freshman year as the All-American’s understudy. Bragg instead averaged 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game during a tumultuous 2016-17 season during which he was suspended for four of the Jayhawks’ 35 games.
One of the issues for Bragg was that the skilled stretch forward had to play center most of the time he was on the floor.
Since perimeter-heavy Kansas opted to play small ball with three guards and swingman Josh Jackson on the floor together, Bragg was typically the lone big man for the Jayhawks anytime he was in the game, especially after Udoka Azubuike suffered a season-ending injury. He wasn’t as tough as Bill Self wanted him to be in the paint, too many passes bounced off his hands and even when he did shoot from the perimeter, he was more tentative than he had been the previous season.
Throw in the off-the-court issues Bragg endured at Kansas, and perhaps a fresh start was necessary for both sides.
Bragg is skilled enough to become an impact player at a high-major program, perhaps somewhere closer to his Cleveland home. It will just have to be somewhere else besides Kansas that he reaches his potential.
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