North Carolina isn’t a program known for being a one-and-done factory, even though there have been plenty of players who have donned the Tar Heel blue and white for a year before hopping to the pros. Still, from the moment Nassir Little committed to Roy Williams’ program, it was believed the five-star prospect’s stay in Chapel Hill wouldn’t go beyond the 2018-19 season.
That ended up being the case, even if Little didn’t quite live up to being the No. 3 recruit in his class. Little played in 36 games, coming off the bench in all of them, and averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game. They were solid numbers for a bench player, but not for someone viewed as a lottery pick.
We’ll have to see what team decides to pick Little up in the 2019 NBA Draft, but in his eyes, there was one reason why he never quite got off the ground: hesitancy. The MVP of the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American games spoke at the NBA Draft Combine and explained that this led to him struggling to play like the high school phenom.
“Hesitancy,” Little said, per 247Sports. “Not being sure of what I wanted to do at UNC. The coaching staff didn’t really understand exactly what my role was early on, especially in the offense, (which) created a lot of hesitancy which didn’t allow me to play like myself.”
Little’s talent is undeniable, even if his time in college didn’t quite work out. He does, however, think he needed a year in college before jumping to the league, saying “I look at myself now and out of high school and that jump in competition is just huge and extremely hard to excel at and I think a lot of guys would be out of the league extremely early if they came in out of high school.”
In our first mock draft following the NBA Draft Lottery, Little was slated to go 17th to the Brooklyn Nets.