Most Impactful Incoming Transfers For Next SeasonPosted by EJacoby on April 18th, 2012
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.
As most of the top high school recruits have signed their letters of intent and the NBA Draft early entries finish piling up (official deadline: April 29), we’re starting to get a much clearer picture of next season’s rosters. But the other huge factor to consider is the transfer ‘market,’ in which hundreds of players decide to change schools every offseason. Always an unaccounted-for variable in recruiting, certain transfers can drastically change programs. The majority of names on the transfer list each season are players that won’t leave significant dents in a program (coming or going), but there are always some notable departures. Here we lay out the transfers that will have the most significant impact for next season. In that context, this list only includes top incoming players that will be eligible in 2012-13. Most players must sit out for a full year after a transfer, so many of these guys have not been in the news for over a year. We haven’t forgotten about them, and neither should you.
INCOMING – These players will be eligible next season for their new teams.
- Jared Swopshire, Northwestern – He’s taking advantage of the ‘graduate program’ rule in which he can play immediately next season after transferring this offseason, thanks to having graduated from his former school (Louisville) with a year of basketball eligibility still remaining. Despite limited playing time at Louisville, Swopshire is a versatile and talented forward that will look to replace the departed star forward John Shurna and lead Northwestern to its first-ever NCAA Tournament, which is still possible with several returning starters.
- Alex Oriakhi, Missouri – And the run of Missouri Tigers begins. Oriakhi is eligible immediately next season for a different kink in the rules (UConn being postseason-ineligible), and he fills an important role as a big man for a talented team that lacks size. Laurence Bowers returns from injury next season and Oriakhi steps in as another experienced forward for Mizzou.
- Jabari Brown, Missouri – This top 20 recruit left Oregon and will be a huge get for Mizzou. The very talented 6’5” guard Brown will help replace the scoring void of departed shooter Marcus Denmon.
- Earnest Ross, Missouri – Another 6’5” guard, Ross was the leading scorer at Auburn two seasons ago and will step in as another talented scorer for Frank Haith’s Tigers. He can help replace another departed star in Kim English.
- Keion Bell, Missouri – Yet another scoring guard, Bell averaged nearly 19 points per game in back-to-back seasons for Pepperdine and becomes eligible for Mizzou next year. There’s a huge roster turnover for Frank Haith’s team, but with four incoming top transfers as well as remaining players Phil Pressey, Mike Dixon, and Laurence Bowers, the Tigers will not drop off much talent-wise.
- Khem Birch, UNLV – A McDonald’s All-American recruit, Birch left Pittsburgh early last season and will be eligible next season at UNLV. He’s an athletic forward that adds more talent to an already-loaded roster. The Runnin’ Rebels are a definite Top 25 team heading into next season.
- Ryan Harrow, Kentucky – A top 25 high school recruit, he averaged nearly 10 points and four assists per game as a freshman at NC State two seasons ago, and he enters Kentucky as potentially the starting point guard next year. UK will be loaded once again with an entirely new group of players.
- Aaric Murray, West Virginia – The Mountaineers lacked perimeter scoring last year, and Murray will step in immediately as a go-to guy. Formerly at La Salle, Murray (a top 40 recruit) averaged over 15 points per game as a sophomore two seasons ago.
- Juwan Staten, West Virginia – Also heading to play for Bob Huggins is rising sophomore Staten, who averaged solid numbers at 8.5 points and 5.4 assists per game at Dayton two seasons ago.
- Larry Drew, UCLA – One of the bigger names on this list, Drew was North Carolina’s point guard two years ago that struggled mightily before leaving the team halfway through his junior year and gave way to the sensation that quickly became in Kendall Marshall. Drew is a question-mark heading to UCLA but may very well be the starting point guard. Don’t forget, he was a McDonald’s All-American in 2008 and comes in as an experienced point for the Bruins.
- Stacey Poole, Georgia Tech – He left Kentucky two years ago after not getting much playing time, but Poole was a top 50 recruit and has good size (6’4”) at the guard spot. He will be asked to play a major role for Georgia Tech next season.
- Wally Judge, Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights have lost several players to transfer recently, but they finally landed one of their own in Judge (from Kansas State), who was a 2009 McDonald’s All-American and is an athletic forward that should fit in well in the Big East.
- Isaiah Armwood, George Washington – He flashed solid potential for Villanova but never fit in there in two seasons, so Armwood is headed for the A-10 where he should play an important immediate role for George Washington.
- Korie Lucious, Iowa State – Remember him? This former Spartans guard was an important player for Tom Izzo but never developed as expected, and he heads to Iowa State as a rising senior that should be an immediate scoring threat for a Cyclones team that is filled with transfers from other schools.
- Will Clyburn, Iowa State – Yup, another transfer heading to Iowa State. Clyburn averaged over 17 points per game for Utah two seasons ago and is another rising senior that will step in right away for the Cyclones.
- Ari Stewart, USC – USC was awful last season but help is on the way. Stewart is a former top 40 recruit that left struggling Wake Forest, and he will be a welcome addition as a versatile 6’7” player.
- Rotnei Clarke, Butler – This former Arkansas sharpshooter averaged over 15 points per game as a junior two seasons ago. He will step in for Brad Stevens as one of the best shooters in the country.
- Jamal Branch, St. John’s – Branch was a top 65 recruit and combo guard for Texas A&M that didn’t stick around long, and he will be eligible next season for a St. John’s team that will welcome his versatile talent.
- Nurideen Lindsey, Rider – He played well as St. John’s starting point guard last season for nine games before leaving, and he will be eligible in the MAAC next season for Rider as a potential game-changer in that conference.
- Sidiki Johnson, Providence – A top 75 recruit to Arizona last year, Johnson was kicked off the team and will be eligible to join Providence halfway through next year. A talented forward, he will fit in well with the guard-heavy Friars that should be very competitive.
- Trey Zeigler, Pittsburgh (?) – It’s still unclear if Zeigler will be eligible for next year. He averaged 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds as a sophomore for Central Michigan last year and may be granted immediate eligibility for Pitt after his father was fired at CMU. If so, he becomes a major factor for the Panthers.
If you’re looking for a master list of players that are transferring from departed schools this offseason, see CBSSports.com’s updated list here. Players on that list will not be eligible until two years from now, unless granted a specific waiver. Let us know if we missed someone important that will be eligible next season!