Kansas Freshman’s Early Transfer Adds Another Layer of Drama to Offseason Transfer Craze

Posted by Chris Johnson on August 22nd, 2012

Christopher Johnson is an RTC columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

The volume of conversation on transfers and the culture surrounding the widespread practice has dominated this college basketball offseason. A rash of in-season moves first prompted the discussion, but a public transfer power struggle elevated the dialogue to national headlines. The heated April saga involving former Wisconsin guard Jared Uthoff and head coach Bo Ryan, in which Ryan was demonized for restricting Uthoff’s potential landing destinations and interrogated on America’s most popular national sports talk radio show, brought the issue to a head and seemed to pivot the axis of public opinion in favor of the player. Ryan was painted as an unrelenting tyrant with little concern for his player’s best wishes while the ultimate outcome – Uthoff ended up transferring to Iowa, his home state – was roundly cheered as a momentous victory for Uthoff. The topic gained more steam when SI.com’s Luke Winn penned an informative piece on the transfer epidemic that brought to light the recent rise in players jumping to better teams and conferences, what he calls “up-transfers.” Whereas most players typically switch schools to find more playing time,  better academic opportunity or a more favorable location, “up-transfers” move for competitive reasons in a bid to showcase their talents on a more prominent level. By Winn’s definition – up-transfers go “from a mid-major to a major”, “from a less-decorated major to a recent national champ,” or “from an off-the-map school to an elite mid-major” – there are 25 “up-transfers” with eligibility to play next season, several of whom could have conference and national championship implications.

The early departure of Doyle raises the question of whether the NCAA needs to impose tighter controls on transfer timing (Photo credit: Mike Yoder/KUsports.com).

The “up-transfer” distinction provided some qualitative clarity for the transfer trend. It also made absolute sense: With an increase in transfers that affect national brand-name programs, fans are bound to catch word of player movement in greater frequency. But it was only after laying eyes on this NCAA Q & A that the scope of college hoop transfers truly hit home. Among other interesting transfer-related queries, the interview revealed that “40 percent of men’s basketball student-athletes will not be competing at their original school by the end of their sophomore year.” That’s a startlingly high number. To no surprise, NCAA is looking into the matter: vice president of academic and membership affairs Kevin Lennon recently told ESPN’s Dana O’Neil that the NCAA is seeking ways to improve the transfer policy. There are several factors to consider here. The NCAA wants a system where players have ample opportunity to better their situations, whether for basketball purposes or an academic change of heart or some combination therein. The concern is that loose regulation will encourage players to switch schools and destabilize the coach-player relationship by enabling a quick get-away if players aren’t content with their current location. It’s a precarious balancing act that requires respecting players’ abilities to change schools – particularly as it applies to the undergraduate hardship waivers that allow players to change locations based on extenuating circumstances such as ill family members or financial distress – while preventing a borderless interschool infrastructure with little or no deterrence for transfers.

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Projecting Duke in Two Years: How Does Rodney Hood Fit In?

Posted by EJacoby on July 3rd, 2012

As we mentioned in Monday’s Morning Five, the biggest name on the transfer market has made his decision. Former Mississippi State guard/forward Rodney Hood is headed to Duke, where he will sit out next season before gaining eligibility in 2013-14. Hood narrowed his options to Duke and Ohio State last week but chose the Blue Devils to become just the fourth major transfer accepted into the program during Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure – joining Roshown McLeod, Dahntay Jones, and current rising senior Seth Curry. With Duke having just suffered a painful upset in the NCAA Tournament to #15 seed Lehigh as well as losing two first round picks to the NBA, the Blue Devils are in need of a new talent infusion into the program. After four-star signee Amile Jefferson chose Duke in May and Hood has also chosen the Devils, Coach K’s team suddenly has a much brighter future. But why did Hood choose Duke? “[Coach K] told me what he saw for my future. He was specific and to the point,” said Hood on his decision. “He said he can make me a better basketball player and one of the best in the country.” Alongside a bevy of other talented wing players, Hood would become the most experienced of the bunch in 2013 and help lead a star-studded roster.

Rodney Hood is bringing his smooth game to Duke (HailState.com photo)

Hood will be a redshirt sophomore when he joins Duke the year after next with a year of SEC experience as well as a full season of practice time with the Blue Devils.  A top 30 recruit when he arrived in Starkville, Hood had a solid year for the Bulldogs, averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for a team that experienced a rollercoaster season and missed the NCAA Tournament. He was a steady contributor who played the fifth-most minutes in the SEC (32.8 MPG), compiled a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranked fourth in the league, and showed an ability to hit the three-point shot (36.4% on 129 attempts). His all-around game as a smooth, 6’8″ wing player should translate well in the future for a Duke team that severely lacked athleticism on the wing last season.

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Most Impactful Incoming Transfers For Next Season

Posted 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.

Alex Oriakhi Won a National Title at UConn and Gets to Play Next Season for Missouri (Getty Images/R. Martinez)

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.
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Trey Zeigler Is Heading To Pittsburgh

Posted by nvr1983 on April 7th, 2012

One of the problems with package deals is that sometimes when you let go of the bait you also lose the fish you lured in. Central Michigan found this out when they fired Ernie Zeigler last month and soon after his son Trey Zeigler sought a release from his scholarship that was granted. Trey, who you may remember was much like Ray McCallum in that he chose to play at a lower-tier school to be coached by his father rather than go to one of a dozen or so big-name programs that were recruiting him (in Ray’s case his eventual destination was Detroit). As those of you who follow recruiting are aware, Trey was a highly rated recruit who had plenty of suitors in the so-called power conferences. Although he did not dominate the MAC like some might expect such a highly rated prospect to do, Trey did put up very solid numbers in his two seasons at Central Michigan.

Trey Zeigler Should Play A Major Role At Pittsburgh (Credit: Andrew Kuhn/CM-Life.com)

His announcement that he would be transferring set off a heated recruiting battle and earlier this afternoon he announced that he would be transferring to Pittsburgh. The move should be a big boost for the Panthers who are coming off the worst season in Jamie Dixon‘s nine years at the school and the first that the team failed to make the NCAA Tournament. The question of when Trey will be eligible to play is still up in the air as he has requested a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play next year. We are not sure what the basis of his waiver is, but we hope it is not “My father got fired” because we cannot imagine the NCAA signing off on that waiver. If he is able to play next season, he and Travon Woodall would immediately become one of the best starting backcourts in the Big East if not America. If he has to sit out he would join a talented, but largely unproven set of guards and form the nucleus of the next stage of Dixon’s tenure at Pittsburgh.

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Andre Drummond Decides To Stay In Prep School

Posted by nvr1983 on August 10th, 2011

Earlier today Andre Drummond, the consensus #2 player in the class of 2012 (behind Shabazz Muhammad), announced that he would be heading to Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts for a post-graduate year. After Drummond graduated from St. Thomas More Academy in Connecticut this spring there was some speculation that he might head to college this coming year with Connecticut being the likely destination as he had previously committed there. However, those rumors were dispelled and it was widely believed that Drummond would return to St. Thomas More for a post-graduate year, which he confirmed as recently as 5 days ago although his coach at St. Thomas More did not appear to be as sure.

Ultimately, Drummond’s decision to switch prep schools for his post-graduate year probably will not affect his “list”, which includes UConn, KentuckyLouisvilleGeorgetown, and West Virginia (even in light of Luke Winn’s excellent research on top-100 recruits and their tendency to switch high schools). In reality, the big question with Drummond has shifted from whether he will go to school “early” (technically it would be on time although he is relatively young for his grade) to whether he will enter the NBA Draft after his post-graduate year. Under the current NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement Drummond would be able to do so (and likely be a top 5 pick) as his high school class would have graduated one year earlier, but that may all change depending on how negotiations go with the ongoing NBA lockout. Like any college basketball fan, we would love to see Drummond in college even if it is only for a year, but it is beginning to seem more likely that we will not be seeing that.

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Larry Drew II Leaves Chapel Hill

Posted by jstevrtc on February 4th, 2011

ESPN’s Pat Forde reported earlier today that North Carolina junior point guard Larry Drew II has decided to leave the Tar Heel basketball team and will transfer.

Drew was the starter at point guard through the first 17 games for UNC before losing the job to freshman Kendall Marshall after the Heels were beaten by 20 points by Georgia Tech on January 16th. Drew had endured a lot of heat from North Carolina fans and both local and national media regarding what just about everyone perceived to be a level of production that fell short of what was expected of him. The Georgia Tech game gave Roy Williams a reason to pull the trigger and insert Marshall into the starting lineup. The two have played similar minutes this year both before and after the switch.

Later For Larry -- Looks Like He's Had Enough

We assume that Drew II will look to transfer to another D-I program. If so, his junior year is now over and he will have one year of eligibility left for next season.

If you believe what you read on a quick scan of certain message boards and the Twitter feed, the conventional wisdom is that Drew II’s departure can only help the Tar Heels. It’s too soon to tell if the switch has resulted in all the positive effects that Drew II’s critics assumed would transpire upon Williams putting Marshall into the starting lineup, since the “Marshall Era” is only four games old. Marshall is unquestionably a fine talent, and his play has remained steady since the switch. Drew II, however, seemed to benefit from coming off the bench in the four games since he was relegated there. He appeared to play with more urgency, especially on defense, and in UNC’s last game (Tuesday’s 106-74 win over Boston College), he dished out a season-high nine assists. In fact, in those four games, playing an average of 19.25 MPG, he contributed 19 assists while committing just four turnovers. Marshall (21.25 MPG) handed out 17 assists and with 11 miscues.

If Drew II’s departure rids the Tar Heels of a team chemistry problem, then it is certainly for the best. Still, it’s worth noting that Drew II owns a championship ring, playing in all 38 games as a freshman on UNC’s 2008-09 title squad. He’s played in four games against Duke, something Marshall will do for just the first time this Wednesday. Drew II’s leaving obviously opens up even more minutes for Marshall, but it also means that North Carolina now has a freshman as their primary ball handler and floor leader, and his level of responsibility just went up — a mere month before tournament time. Will this result in a continued Tar Heel resurgence? As we said, it’s too soon to tell. But we think it’s safe to say that Larry Drew II leaving might not be quite the boon that people think it is right now.

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An Interesting Twist In The Tony Mitchell Saga

Posted by nvr1983 on January 26th, 2011

Many of you are aware of the ongoing ordeal at Missouri where the athletic department has been trying to get a ruling from the NCAA on the eligibility of Tony Mitchell, a recruit considered by many to be one of the top 10 or 15 overall in last year’s class. A recent column by Seth Davis indicated that due to a strange stipulation in the NCAA rules if Mitchell did not enroll at Missouri and take a requisite number of courses by the end of the Spring semester not only would he be ineligible to play this season or even next fall, but he would never be allowed to play at the Division 1 level (scroll down). The exact number of courses that Mitchell needed to take to fulfill that requirement was not known because of some questions about his high school transcripts at an unaccredited school that he briefly attended in Florida. The reported deadline for the NCAA to make a decision and for Mitchell to enroll at Missouri was yesterday (January 25th), which was the last day for a student to enroll at Missouri for the Spring semester. That date came and passed without a ruling or news of Mitchell’s enrollment, but news came out that the decision might be pushed back until March 14th and there was a possibility that he could be eligible this spring.

Mitchell may be headed to the Sun Belt

We called the NCAA with regards to the ruling and the assertion by Davis that Mitchell might never be allowed to play Division 1 basketball, but thus far our calls have not been returned. We were able to get in touch with a spokesperson at Missouri who stated, “We don’t comment on that stuff. When we’re ready to comment we will comment.” Interestingly, shortly after our conversation with the spokesperson at Missouri news broke that Mitchell might be enrolling this year, but at North Texas instead of Missouri. According to some reports, if Mitchell is admitted to North Texas he could potentially be eligible to play next season although he could not be on scholarship until that point and would have to pay in-state tuition (note that the Sun Belt accepts partial qualifiers while the Big 12 does not). We are still waiting for more news on this and to hear back from the NCAA about Mitchell’s eligibility officially, but it seems pretty clear that this is one of the most complex recruiting/eligibility ordeals that we have seen.

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Message Not Received: Sidney To Stay, Bailey To Leave

Posted by jstevrtc on January 3rd, 2011

Earlier today we saw the fallout from the Renardo Sidney vs Elgin Bailey fracas from December 24th. The indefinite suspensions on both players have been lifted; Sidney is reinstated with no further penalty. Bailey has asked for and been granted a release from Mississippi State and plans to transfer.

The linked AP report from ESPN.com offers a preliminary account of the events that led up to the brawl in the stands. Evidently Sidney was trying to walk down the aisle past Bailey, who refused to move his feet to let Sidney by. This is what caused the madness seen on television and by the fans in attendance at the game. The report also mentions that head coach Rick Stansbury confirmed that Sidney would have been dismissed from the team if it had been found that Sidney had started the fight. He notes that the sending home of Sidney and Bailey after the scrap, “sent a strong message…that this type of behavior is unacceptable.”

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Jelan Kendrick Out Of Memphis And On To. . .

Posted by nvr1983 on November 13th, 2010

We first heard about trouble in Memphis for star small forward Jelan Kendrick when he was temporarily suspended from the team less than a month ago. At the time Josh Pastner and the Tigers staff tried to say that it was not a unilateral decision at the time, but today Pastner and his staff have decided to kick Kendrick off the team for good. According to sources the decision was not the result of a single specific incident, but instead the culmination of months of poor decisions by Kendrick. Clearly for the Tigers this is a big loss as a combination of Kendrick and Will Barton could have been lethal in Conference USA particularly if they had both stuck around for a few years, but on the plus side the Tigers know who they will have relatively early in the season and can adapt instead of having this happen in February or March.

Is the potential reward worth the likely headache?

The more interesting this is what will happen to Kendrick. As we have seen with Tony Woods there will undoubtedly be no shortage of suitors for Kendrick especially since Kendrick is more talented than Woods and has a much less serious charge against him. The question is where he will end up. While any program would love to add a player of Kendrick’s caliber there are probably a select few programs that we would expect to stay above the fray such as Duke, UNC, Syracuse, and several other well-known programs that could probably land a player of Kendrick’s caliber in the next year or two. That leaves the rest of the nation potentially open to Kendrick. While other coaches come to mind such as Bob Huggins particularly during his Cincinnati days as suckers for a reclamation project we suspect that Kendrick will probably be taking a step down in terms of notoriety of the program that he goes to. Our pick? UTEP with Tony Barbee (now Tim Floyd as the former Iowa State/Chicago Bulls/New Orleans Hornets/USC coach) had a modicum of success with Derrick Caracter, a perpetual malcontent, last season and got him to the NBA where is currently on the LA Lakers roster. Caracter may not have had as many altercations with his teammates as Kendrick reportedly has, but he had a well-known reputation for driving his coaches crazy. Having said that there are plenty of other options for Kendrick (and we suspect that he will have no less than 20 offers by the time Monday morning rolls around) and we will be eager to see which coaches would be willing to take a chance on a player with Kendrick’s reputation for a change to work with a player of Kendrick’s ability.

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Wake Forest Releases Tony Woods

Posted by nvr1983 on October 11th, 2010

Earlier today Wake Forest announced that they would release beleaguered center Tony Woods from his scholarship at his request so he could pursue other options for the continuation of his college basketball career and education. Woods had already been suspended by Wake Forest after his arrest on charges that he had assaulted the mother of his 8 month-old son.  Woods subsequently pleaded guilty and was given a 60-day suspended sentence, ordered to complete an anger management course, and perform 100 hours of community service. His departure leaves the Demon Deacons even more thin in the frontcourt even if he only averaged 5 points and 3 rebounds per game last year as they had already lost their top player Al-Farouq Aminu to the NBA Draft. Woods has not mentioned which schools he is looking at, but we expect that there will be plenty of schools in the market for a 6’11” post player with two years of ACC experience.

Where will Tony Woods go next? (Credit: AP/Karl DeBlaker)

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C.J. Henry Leaves Kansas For The NAIA

Posted by nvr1983 on August 27th, 2010

The past six years have been nothing if not an interesting journey for C.J. Henry. The former Yankee prospect/Memphis-Kansas recruit announced yesterday that he would be transferring to Southern Nazarene, a NAIA school. A year ago Bill Self was being congratulated for adding C.J and his brother Xavier Henry after they had initially committed to Memphis before John Calipari decided to head to Kentucky. Although the subsequent transition to Lawrence were complicated by what appeared at times to be a soap opera the Jayhawks had an exceptional season before being cut down by Ali Farokhmanesh and the brothers performed at the level that everybody expected them too.  Now after just one year Self is left without either Henry as both have become one-and-dones in an unusual fashion. Xavier did it the traditional way by entering the NBA Draft following a solid, but uneven freshman campaign. On the other hand, C.J. was confined primarily to the end of Self’s bench as he played just 5.6 minutes per game in 13 games and only played double figure minutes in three blowouts. Although C.J. had been a fairly highly rated prospect coming out of high school he had spent 4 years (2005-2008) playing minor league baseball and redshirted the 2008-o9 season so most people did not consider his minimal production particularly concerning especially given reports that he had battled injuries all season long.

C.J. in one of his many uniforms (Credit: NJ.com)

However, in a surprising move, Kansas announced last week that Henry had decided to transfer from the school with some speculating that it was due to the amount of competition at the guard position potentially limiting his ability to get playing time. Still many in the Kansas area ripped him apart for his decision (not surprising given the allegiance of many writers/fans in the area). Given Henry’s limited basketball experience in the past 6 years, his injuries last year, and relatively advanced age (24 with 3 years of eligibility remaining) many programs would undoubtedly have reservations about taking on Henry, but we assumed that his basketball pedigree and athleticism would get at least  several major programs interested in his services. Instead Henry has opted to go the NAIA route and not forgo a year of his eligibility, which is not a small thing for a 24 year-old sophomore who still harbors NBA aspirations (unlikely since he would be 27 if he goes straight through college). For their part, the coaches at Southern Nazarene, who won the NAIA title in 1981 and made it to the NAIA championship game in 1998, say that their conference is chock full of Division 1 talents [Ed. Note: We can't confirm since our knowledge of the Sooner Athletic Conference is limited to this post.] that should give Henry the competition he needs. At the very least he will have someone to text in Taylor King (formerly of Duke/Villanova/USC) who is currently enrolled at Concordia (at least the last time we checked).

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Taylor King Throws Down the Academic Gauntlet

Posted by rtmsf on August 11th, 2010

Jeff Goodman reported today that former-Duke, current-Villanova forward Taylor King is transferring yet again, this time making his way from the cooker known as the East Coast to the balmier weather and lifestyle of Southern California.   And when we say Southern California, we mean it literally.  King will enroll at USC this fall and, after sitting out a second transfer season in 2010-11, he will be eligible to play his senior year in his home area, a little less than an hour’s drive from where he grew up in Huntington Beach.  The 6’6 forward was a key contributor at Villanova last season, averaging 7/5 per game in bench duty, but he’s shown flashes of offensive skill with eight double-figure games in points and a solid three-point stroke (career: 37%).

Right. It's the Academics.

King has had some family issues and after spending a few weeks at home this summer decided that giving up the 3,000-mile commute back to the Main Line was in his best interests.  He considered a couple of local NAIA schools, but ultimately found that sitting out the additional transfer season to play at USC was the best option.  However, it was a quote from King buried at the end of Goodman’s report that really caught our eye.  When asked about his decision-making process:

King said while he would like to continue his playing career beyond college, academics and connections at USC played a role in his decision.  “The education is off the charts at SC. No offense to Duke or Villanova, but they don’t compare.”

All snickering aside, most people reading this site may not be aware that USC is a very strong academic school despite its iconic status relating to babes and football (wonder why they’d ever have that perception?).  The latest US News & World Report ranks Southern Cal as the 26th best national university, holding a 24% acceptance rate and SAT scores that it claims are greater than crosstown rival UCLA’s (by and large considered the more academically-minded school).  But Duke?  A perennially top-10 school by any measure?  Villanova?  The top Masters University in the Northeast for more than a decade?  Questionable.

We figured that the denizens of the two dissed schools would come running to their defense, and it didn’t take long.  Villanova fans seemed to find great hilarity in the comment, while the Duke people hardly even gave his comment much consideration due to its absurdity.  Of course we realize that King is only trying to justify his decision to himself when he made that comment, but it would be fourteen kinds of awesome if USC managed to find itself in a road game at Duke or Villanova two seasons from now.  We’re fairly certain that the lesser-academically-inclined students at those places would find clever ways to make him feel welcome.  Hey, we can always hope, right?

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