ACC Transfers Making Their Presence Felt on the Bubble

Posted by Charlie Maikis on February 17th, 2017

Everyone is well aware that the top tier of the ACC consists of top 10 programs like North Carolina, Duke and Louisville. These schools tend to recruit at a high level nationally and develop much of their talent from within. In the middle of this year’s ACC standings, however, a number of key transfers have proven responsible for much of their teams’ current success. Bubble teams Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Clemson are anchored by at least two players who did not begin their careers in the league. Let’s examine how the these programs’ reliance on transfers this season have impacted their pushes toward the NCAA Tournament.

Syracuse

Syracuse Orange guard John Gillon (4) and forward Tyler Lydon (20) and guard Andrew White III (3) come off the court during a timeout in the second half of a game against the Miami Hurricanes at the Carrier Dome. (Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports)

Transfers: Andrew White III, John Gillon

Both Orange transfers are now on their third team and seem to have finally found a good fit. White spent two years at Kansas before transferring to Nebraska and ultimately ending up at Syracuse, whereas Gillon spent a season at Arkansas-Little Rock before playing two years at Colorado State and finally landing in upstate New York. The pair of seniors has given head coach Jim Boeheim a needed influx of talent after losing his top three scorers from last year’s Final Four squad. White and Gillon combine to average 28.6 points per game, but that might understate their abilities, though, as Gillon in particular has shown that he can put up monster numbers (43 points, nine assists, 9-of-10 3FG against NC State). While Syracuse has struggled of and on this season, the Orange will likely go as far as their pair of transfers can carry them.

Virginia Tech

Transfers: Zach LeDay, Seth Allen

The Hokies’ senior leaders are in their second season together after coming over from South Florida and Maryland, respectively. Last year the pair developed their chemistry throughout a 20-15 NIT season that featured 10 ACC victories. Now sitting at 17-7 overall and 6-6 in the brutal ACC, Virginia Tech’s season will be defined by its two transfers. With Allen at shooting guard and LeDay anchoring the center position, the two high-usage players complement each other’s skill sets. Allen converts three-pointers at a 45.7 percent clip, which provides space for LeDay to punish defenders in the post with his brawny frame. If Virginia Tech secures its first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in a decade, it will largely be from the efforts of the Hokies’ two contributing seniors.

Clemson

Transfers: Shelton Mitchell, Marcquise Reed, Elijah Thomas

While the other transfers on this list are seniors, Clemson boasts a trio of sophomore transfers who will be carrying the Tigers’ program for years to come. Coming from Vanderbilt, Robert Morris and Texas A&M, respectively, Mitchell, Reed and Thomas have given head coach Brad Brownell much better depth this season. While none of the three is the Tigers’ best player, they all play significant minutes and contribute in meaningful ways. Mitchell and Thomas are starters and former NEC Rookie of the Year Reed provides a nice boost off the bench. Thomas has converted a robust 66.7 percent of his attempts from the field and has tallied six blocked shots since becoming a starter four games ago. Mitchell leads the team with 3.8 assists per game, which has improved to 4.4 per game in ACC play. Reed, with a steal rate of 4.1 percent, is one of the best thieves in college basketball. At just 14-11 and 4-9 in ACC play, Clemson is unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament this year. But with two more years of eligibility remaining for each, they are likely to remain impact players well into the future.

Charlie Maikis (13 Posts)


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