It all depends on how it impacts the locker room. You can make a large roster work if everyone accepts their role. A toxic locker room is not a winning locker room. Kentucky should likely win the natty every year but the combination of immature kids and limited minutes seems to always impede their success.
In Johnson's presser, he said he has a lot of concerns about the locker room and expectations. While he was discussing NIL, you can tell a strong locker room is important.
Developing teams like the U never want a kid to leave POd as this leads to burned bridges and hard feelings somewhere in the recruiting circles.
I don't disagree with anything you said, it is all very true. However, sometimes you have to maybe take a risk, push things, or know that a few burnt bridges wont bring the whole program down. I can promise you, if we get to 10 scholarship players every year and Ben is afraid to add anyone else due to locker concerns, he will not be coach here long, because that is no way to build a winning program. In today's day and age no one is ever happy and transfers are going to happen, if you tell every kid they are going to play 30 min a game and it doesnt happen well they are free to leave.
Ben seems like a genuinely great dude, maybe that is some of his issue, I am sure some coaches have no problem lying to kids, maybe he doenst want to. Like it or not, lying/over promising is probably something you have to do.
EDIT* In regards to what Duke can do, sure last year they had 10 scholarship guys, They basically played 7. Their 8th guy was Joey Baker, a sr 4* guy with plenty of experience, their 9th guy was Bates from Davidson, a guy who had a good amount of D1 expeirence, and their 10th guy was Jaylen Blakes, a 4* fr with nice upside and ability. If thats your 10 you have more leeway. Our current 10 is Battle/Garcia no doubt good Cooper-We think good but transfer up not 100% lock, Fox/Ihnen again we all like but coming off MAJOR injuries, TT who looked like a lost puppy most of last year, and then 4 3* freshman who look solid but also dont jump out as WHOA LOOK WHAT THEY ARE DOING AS FRESHMAN guys. That 10 and Duke's 10 are in no way shape or form comparable. When Ben has the 10 that Duke has then I can buy the argument only 10 scholarship players is a good plan. Essentially what i am saying is we dont have the elite quality yet so we need quantity to make up for that.