Meet the ACC’s Newly Eligible Transfers

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on November 3rd, 2017

With all the player turnover these days in college basketball, coaches can no longer rely solely on just the freshmen they recruited to fill their open roster spots. Correspondingly, ACC coaches hit the transfer market every offseason to plug the holes resulting from various spring defections. In order to get familiar with the transfers entering the ACC this season, the table below shows all the non-freshmen newcomers to the league broken into four groupings (graduate transfers; traditional transfers; JuCo transfers; sitting out this year). Players within each category are ordered according to the anticipated impact that they will have for their teams this season.

Over the past few seasons a number of ACC schools have taken advantage of the NCAA rule that allows graduate transfers to play immediately at their new schools. But for the most part, only a few such transfers have made a major impact. This year’s crop of incoming graduate transfers may be the deepest we have seen in the ACC, however, with all 10 projected as rotation players and at least half as immediate starters. Last year, Jim Boeheim got great perimeter play from graduate transfers Andrew White and John Gillon — his team expects similar production from Geno Thorpe, a rangy guard from South Florida who should be well-suited for the Syracuse system. Boston College picked up a much needed frontcourt player in Deontae Hawkins, a key cog on a good Illinois State team last year.

Perhaps the most interesting transfer situation of the offseason involved the intra-conference move of Cameron Johnson from Pittsburgh to North Carolina. After originally blocking the move and taking a huge public relations hit for doing so, the Pittsburgh program eventually relented. Johnson, who has two years of eligibility remaining, should help the Tar Heels deal with their major losses in the frontcourt. New N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts managed to add a pair of guards via the graduate transfer route as well — one of whom, Al Freeman, has already proven at Baylor that he can compete at the high-major level. With multiple personnel losses from Pittsburgh’s program last spring, expect Monty Boykins, formerly of Lafayette, to also play major minutes and get plenty of touches for the Panthers this year. Two more graduate transfers were brought in around the conference to help replace multi-year starters. Michigan’s Mark Donnal should help Clemson recover from the huge loss of Jaron Blossomgame, and Virginia’s London Perrantes’ departure will be partially offset by the addition of Rutgers’ Nigel Johnson.

Normally, the traditional transfer group is the more robust list. But as a matter of fact, the numbers are so low this season that we’re combining them with the junior college transfer group (of one). But it’s not just the quantity of traditional and JuCo transfers that is down — so is the quality. Of the three traditional transfers, only one even arrived at his new school with a scholarship offer. That player is Clemson’s David Skara, who at least had a fairly significant role on Valparaiso’s 2016 NIT runner-up squad. Despite his walk-on status, many close to the Louisville program expect Dwayne Sutton to be a solid player for the Cardinals off the bench –possibly taking the minutes that five-star freshman Brian Bowen was expected to get (assuming he never arrives). Jared Wilson-Frame may be Kevin Stallings’ best player this year after posting impressive numbers at the junior college level.

Moving to the transfers who will sit out this season, it didn’t take long for Keatts to begin acquiring the talent to fit his system in Raleigh — a fast-paced style with a premium on three-point shooting. C.J. Bryce, who followed his coach up I-40 from UNC-Wilmington, and Devon Daniels, should already be ACC-caliber wings when they hit the floor in 2018-19. A pair of big men from Connecticut are on this list after disappointing seasons in Storrs. Although Steven Enoch and Juwan Durham were both highly regarded coming out of high school, it’s reasonable to temper expectations for the pair in the near future based on big men’s slower development. For example, former Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu barely saw the court for Syracuse last season after his redshirt year.

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