Transfers Look to Lift Big 12 Teams This Season

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 7th, 2016

Like most power conferences around college basketball, the Big 12 has seen a number of players look its way in search of fresh starts. Similarly (and despite bemoaning the process at every opportunity), coaches haven’t been shy about picking up transfers from all over the landscape. From guys like former Sooner Ryan Spangler, who became a Big 12 fixture over multiple seasons, to one-year rentals such as Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane and Kansas’ Tarik Black, transfers have filled a variety of roles within the conference over the years. Some will be relied on more than others, but here’s a full rundown of the new faces who will look to make their presences felt in 2016-17.

After a year of waiting, Manu Lecomte takes the reigns for Baylor.(Scott Cunningham/Getty)

After a year of waiting, Manu Lecomte takes the reins for Baylor. (Scott Cunningham/Getty)

  • Manu Lecomte, Baylor: One of the reasons Baylor has enjoyed trips to the NCAA Tournament in four of the last five seasons has been the presence of a steady if not always spectacular point guard. Just as he did a few years ago when he found Kenny Chery, Scott Drew mined the transfer list in 2015 and found Lecomte, who arrives from Miami and sat out last season. Lecomte was a prolific three-point shooter in his two seasons in Coral Gables, but he also showed some decent handles with 144 assists to 101 turnovers playing for Jim Larranaga. He’ll be charged with initiating the Bears’ offense, which will be no easy task with Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers out of the picture.
  • Niem Stevenson, Texas Tech: Texas Tech lost a pair of off-guards in Devaugntah Williams and Toddrick Gotcher, so new head coach Chris Beard will look to fill the gap with Stevenson, a two-time JuCo All-American from Seward County Community College (KS). Stevenson is a legit scorer who averaged 24.7 points per game last season, but at 6’5″, he can help on the glass and defend a little bit, too. Tubby Smith left Beard with many helpful pieces in Lubbock, but it could be one Beard picked up himself who propels the Red Raiders to a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

  • Shadell Millinghaus, Texas Tech: Millinghaus is well-traveled, having started out at Southern Miss before transferring down to Northwestern Florida State College in the JuCo ranks, but he’s back at the D-I level and in his most competitive conference yet. Millinghaus was a go-to-guy in 2015-16, averaging 16.9 points per game, but he did the little things, too, as he posted 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game to go along with his consistent scoring. At 6’3″ and playing in a power conference setting, you can expect the rebounds to be tougher to come by, but Millinghaus is a decent bet to carve out a role in the Red Raider backcourt alongside the aforementioned Stevenson and juniors Keenan Evans and Justin Gray..
  • Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie, Iowa State: These two fifth-year Iowa State forwards are grouped together because they play the same position and, as of this moment, are on similar footing in Steve Prohm’s pecking order. Holden will get the first shot at minutes as the Cyclones’ fifth starter and will be asked to crash the defensive glass and run rim to rim without impeding lanes for Iowa State’s dynamic backcourt, but Bowie will be right there waiting if Prohm feels he needs to change things up. Neither Holden nor Bowie figure to dot any all-conference lists come March, but with point guard Monte’ Morris needing all the help he can get, one or both stepping up would provide a huge lift to the Cyclones’ postseason chances.
  • Mareik Isom, Texas: No matter the coach, the Longhorns have made use of rangy big men over the years, with guys like Brian Boddicker, Connor Atchley and Connor Lammert coming to mind. Isom, a 6’9″ graduate transfer from Arkansas-Little Rock, is the next player who will aim to fit that role in Austin. The Longhorns will be high on athleticism, but short on experience and three-point shooting, with sophomore Eric Davis being the only returnee who shot better than 33 percent from distance in regular work in 2016. Isom should give the Longhorns a boost in that department after burying 39.6 percent of his threes for the Trojans last season. He doesn’t provide much else, though, so look for him to space the floor and pull opposing big men out to the perimeter, which should in turn open up the lane for Texas’ slashers and create space down low for Jarrett Allen and Shaquille Cleare.
  • Dwight Coleby, Kansas. While sophomore Carlton Bragg is the favorite to run away with most of the minutes at the four position in Lawrence, he’s no sure thing. As non-conference play progresses, Bill Self will explore all of his options in the post, including Coleby, a 6’9″, 240-pound Ole Miss transfer. Coleby has been slow to recover from ACL surgery last November, however, and Self hasn’t been shy about imploring him to play with more confidence. The Jayhawks have a demonstrated history of valuing guys who possess hustle and basketball IQ over players who may have flashier skill sets but struggle with the fundamental aspects of Self’s system. Coleby is someone who could fall into the former camp when he’s 100 percent, so keep an eye on him as Kansas irons out its rotation.
  • Donovan Jackson, Iowa State: Just because Fred Hoiberg is gone doesn’t mean Iowa State won’t continue to attract transfers by the bushel. When Jackson committed to Iowa State from Iowa Western Community College in August 2015, the thinking was that his addition would buoy the Cyclones’ transition from Morris — who considered going pro last season — and a future youth movement. Even though Morris decided to stay in Ames, Jackson did as well, which is great for Prohm since he would’ve had to scramble to find a second point guard otherwise. Given the Cyclones’ crowded backcourt and the volume of minutes Morris will be expected to absorb, it’s tough to see Jackson finding more than a handful of minutes per game, but he can distribute the ball and provide instant offense from deep.
Brian Goodman (928 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.


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One response to “Transfers Look to Lift Big 12 Teams This Season”

  1. DanSwany says:

    I think you might want to add Anthony Livingston (Texas Tech) to this list.

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