Big Ten Transfer/Attrition Roundup

Posted by Brendan Brody on April 2nd, 2015

Lost amid the noise of two Big Ten teams advancing to the Final Four this weekend, there has been some important news over the last week involving the futures of several players around the league. A common occurrence for this time of year, a number of Big Ten players have decided that their futures lay elsewhere. While there haven’t been any earth-shattering moves in terms of drastically shifting the conference landscape next season, these moves could still have an impact on the programs they’re leaving. Here’s a brief look at what has happened so far.

Tarin Smith has decided to transfer from Nebraska after playing one season under Tim Miles. (Eric Francis, Getty)

Tarin Smith has decided to transfer from Nebraska after playing one season under Tim Miles. (Eric Francis/Getty)

  • Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are still waiting on an NBA decision from leading scorer Terran Petteway but in the meantime lost two other players in freshman guard Tarin Smith and junior center Walter Pitchford. The loss of Smith has to come as a surprise to head coach Tim Miles as the freshman played in 43.3 percent of the team’s available minutes and averaged 19.1 MPG in Big Ten play. The point guard seemed to have gained his coach’s trust as the season progressed, displaying an ability to run the team and get to the rim when necessary. Still, with top 100 recruit Glynn Watson coming to Lincoln and former Kansas guard Andrew White expected to become eligible after a transfer season, Smith would have been facing increased competition for playing time. Pitchford, on the other hand, simply decided to forgo his final basketball season (but he is expected to remain in school). The junior regressed significantly from a sophomore campaign where he made 41.0 percent of his three-point attempts playing as a stretch five. With his loss added to the mix, Nebraska is essentially devoid of inside players with Leslee Smith, Moses Abraham and David Rivers all graduating. Freshmen Ed Morrow Jr. and Michael Jacobson might have to play significant minutes next season, and Jacob Hammond will need to take some large strides from a freshman season when he barely played.

  • Indiana: The Hoosiers have also lost two players as sophomore Stanford Robinson and freshman Max Hoetzel have decided transfer out of the program. Robinson saw his minutes drop significantly this season with the addition of players who were better offensive fits with Indiana’s perimeter-oriented offensive system. He would be better served by playing in a mid-major conference or at a school where his perimeter defensive skills would be better valued. Hoetzel is an intriguing but raw prospect who needs to add significant weight to maximize his future effectiveness. With guard skills in a 6’8″ frame, though, he would be a nice addition for some teams that can spend the time to develop his skill set. After getting a decent look in the non-conference season (9.5 MPG), he rarely saw the court once January came (5.3 MPG).
  • Purdue and Northwestern: Bryson Scott has decided to leave Purdue and Johnnie Vassar has decided to leave Northwestern as both point guards have other players blocking their playing time. It became clear that Matt Painter preferred PJ Thompson over Scott as the season wore on, leaving the sophomore on the bench with the dreaded “DNP-Coaches Decision” a whopping eight times in the team’s final 21 games. With freshman Bryant McIntosh emerging as one of the best freshmen in the conference at Northwestern, his classmate Vassar was probably never going to get anything more than backup minutes in Chris Collins’ rotation moving forward. It makes sense for him to find a better situation sooner than later.
Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.

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