With Andrew Nembhard off the board to Gonzaga, just about all of the top transfers have made their decisions. So it’s time to go through the winners and losers from the transfer season.
One Big Ten coach is celebrating, Chris Beard did it again and a certain A-10 head coach can exhale after keeping his guys from bolting. On the other side, an AAC program got hit as hard as anyone, and I feel for one America East head coach whose team got ravaged.
1) Minnesota – Richard Pitino and the Gophers added a couple of starters — as long as Liam Robbins (14.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Both Gach wind up getting waivers from the NCAA to play this season (which should happen). The 7-foot Robbins, the nephew of Minnesota assistant Ed Conroy, is a major impact guy, as is Gach, who averaged 10.7 points last season for the Utah Utes. Gach should get the waiver because he transferred back closer to home.
2) Texas Tech – This one is almost an annual ritual now. A couple of seasons ago, Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens helped get the Red Raiders to the national title game. Last season, it was TJ Holyfield and Chris Clarke who came in and made plays. Chris Beard will now add Georgetown transfer Mac McClung (15.7 ppg) and Wichita State’s Jamarius Burton (10.3 ppg) — who could wind up getting waivers. The Red Raiders also added a key grad transfer on the frontline in hard-playing VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva (12.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg).
3) Chris Mooney – Richmond’s head coach kept his trio of redshirt seniors — Blake Francis (17.7 ppg), Grant Golden (13.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Nick Sherod (12.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) — despite the fact that they could have all grad-transferred. Bring senior point guard Jacob Gilyard in the fold, and the Spiders are a top 20 preseason team.
4) Memphis – Penny Hardaway needed to reload, and the Tigers added a couple of impact transfers. He beat out plenty of high-majors for a pair of talented forwards: Virginia Tech transfer Landers Nolley II (15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Evansville’s DeAndre Williams (15.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg). The big question will be whether or not they can get a waiver to play this season.
5) Louisville – Chris Mack and his staff landed one of the big prizes of the transfer season in Radford grad transfer Carlik Jones. The Big South Player of the Year won’t put up the numbers he did a year ago (20.0 ppg, 5.5 apg, 5.1 rpg), but he should help give the Cardinals an experienced guard who can team with David Johnson. Louisville also added another guard who will help: San Francisco grad transfer Charles Minlend, who averaged 14.4 points per game last season in the WCC.
6) BYU – Mark Pope has landed a pair of impact grad transfers. First, he beat out Kentucky for Purdue big man Matt Haarms, who averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 boards and 2.0 blocks last season. And then he added former Oklahoma State and Utah Valley guard Brandon Averette, who averaged 12.8 points and 3.0 assists per game last season at Pope’s old stomping ground. They won’t replace graduating big man Yoeli Childs and Jake Toolson, but they will help ease the blow.
7) Ole Miss – The transfer of Blake Hinson (10.1 ppg) hurts, but Kermit Davis has brought in a couple of grad transfers who will make a major impact. Rider guard Dimencio Vaughn (14.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is a tough, hard-nosed and talented wing, and Arizona State big man Romello White nearly averaged a double-double last season in Tempe. The Rebels also added Samford forward Robert Allen (14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg).
8) Gonzaga – The ‘Zags landed one of the best on the market in Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard (11.2 ppg, 5.6 apg). He’s a pass-first guy who will sit this season and take over in Spokane a year from now. Mark Few has had no shortage of success with transfers, and also with Canadians. The ‘Zags also added Southern Illinois grad transfer Aaron Cook, a scoring guard who averaged 15 points in six games this past season.
9) Kentucky – The swap of Johnny Juzang for Creighton grad transfer Davion Mintz may wind up being a wash at the end of the day, but the key is obviously Wake Forest big man Olivier Sarr — and whether he’ll be eligible to play this season in Lexington. The 7-foot Sarr averaged 13.7 points and 9.0 boards last season in Winston-Salem and is a game-changer for John Calipari if he gets a waiver to play this season.
10) Arkansas – The Razorbacks will bring in a talented freshman class, and Eric Musselman has added a trio of grad transfers who possess quality talent and experience. It started with the versatile Jalen Tate (13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.6 apg) from Northern Kentucky, continued with former UConn and New Mexico forward Vance Jackson (11.1 ppg) and also includes ex-Indiana forward Justin Smith (10.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg).
11) Seton Hall – Kevin Willard lost three role guys (Anthony Nelson, Taurean Thompson and Darnell Brodie) and replaced them with a starter in former Harvard guard Bryce Aiken. He’s not Myles Powell, but Aiken can be a double-figure scorer in the Big East if he’s healthy. This was a huge pickup for the Pirates, especially with Aiken being able to play this season.
12) Marquette – The Golden Eagles landed two guys: talented former Ohio State guard D.J. Carton and Jose Perez, a 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 15.2 points per game this past season at Gardner-Webb. Carton is a big-time talent who was inconsistent as a freshman last season in Columbus.
1) Wichita State – Gregg Marshall and the Shockers got crushed with six guys leaving, including a pair of double-figure scorers in Erik Stevenson (11.1 ppg) and Jamarius Burton (10.3), a trio of promising freshmen in Grant Sherfield, Noah Fernandes and DeAntoni Gordon, and reserve junior big man Asbjorn Midtgaard. Marshall did add UConn grad transfer Alterique Gilbert, but he’s more suited for a backup role these days after a host of shoulder injuries have limited his effectiveness.
2) Stony Brook’s Geno Ford – The poor Stony Brook head coach watched as his top three scorers all departed for the high-major level. Elijah Olaniyi (18.0 ppg) went to Miami, Makale Foreman (15.6 ppg) departed for California and Andrew Garcia (13.4 ppg) left for Georgia. All three told me they didn’t leave because of the Seawolves head coach — they just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play at the high-major level.
3) Purdue – Matt Painter lost two key players in Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern. Sure, both have their flaws, but they were a part of a lot of wins in West Lafayette. The 7-foot-3 Harms (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg) is headed to BYU while the defensive-minded Eastern is still open after not being admitted to Michigan.
4) Georgetown – The Hoyas were hit in the middle of the season and again after the year. James Akinjo already left for Arizona, but Patrick Ewing also lost three other pieces following off-the-court allegations: Josh LeBlanc (LSU), Galen Alexander (Texas Southern) and Myron Gardner (South Plains College). But the departure of leading scorer Mac McClung to Texas Tech hits hard because now the Hoyas, who are still searching for their first NCAA tourney bid with Ewing as their coach, don’t appear to have enough talent to get there in his fourth season at the helm. Georgetown did add a couple of grad transfers: Northwestern State forward Chudier Bile (14.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Arkansas guard Jalen Harris (4.2 ppg).
5) MAAC – The conference got pillaged by high-majors via the grad transfer market. First-Team All-MAAC guard Dimencio Vaughn (Rider) left for Ole Miss, Quinnipiac lost a pair of second-teamers in Kevin Marfo (Texas A&M) and Rich Kelly (Boston College), while another player who made the second team, Ray Salnave, departed Monmouth for DePaul. Rider’s Kevin Baggett also lost talented junior Frederick Scott to Boston College. Saint Peter’s lost freshman Aaron Estrada, who made Third-Team All-MAAC, to Oregon. This means that of the 17 players who made one of the all-league teams, six students graduated and six opted to transfer up, leaving only five to return to the conference.
6) Florida – I know a bunch of Gators fans might not be sad to see Andrew Nembhard go, but he’s a pass-first floor leader who has the ability to make his teammates better. It just didn’t work out for him in Gainesville last season and now he’s headed to play for Mark Few at Gonzaga.
7) Ivy League – As has been the case for a while now, the league got ravaged due to the rule in which players only have four seasons to utilize their eligibility. This year, Tommy Amaker lost Seth Towns (Ohio State) and Bryce Aiken (Seton Hall), Columbia lost Patrick Tape (Duke) and Mike Smith (Michigan), Yale big man Jordan Bruner went to Alabama and Penn’s Ryan Betley is headed to Cal.
8) VCU – Mike Rhoades lost big man Marcus Santos-Silva, his leading scorer and rebounder, to Texas Tech. Santos-Silva averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 boards this past season.
9) Sacred Heart – Poor Anthony Latina. The Pioneers were 20-13 last season, 12-6 in the NEC and all set to return their top two players. Except both big man E.J. Anosike (15.7 ppg, 11.6 rpg) and guard Koreem Ozier (14.0 ppg) wound up transferring, as did point guard Cameron Parker (9.9 ppg, 7.8 apg). Anosike is headed to Tennessee as a grad transfer, Ozier will go to Louisiana-Monroe and Parker will play at Montana.
10) St. John’s – I know some Red Storm fans were crushing L.J. Figueroa as he left Queens, but he still averaged 14.5 points in what was considered a disappointing season for the versatile wing. Figueroa will try and get a waiver to play this season at Oregon.
11) Utah – Larry Krystkowiak and the Utes were hit by the departure of athletic wing Both Gach, who transferred back home to Minnesota, where he’ll likely get a waiver to play this season.
12) Rice’s Scott Pera – The Owls lost a pair of sophomore forwards: Trey Murphy III (13.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) to Virginia and Drew Peterson (11.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg) to USC. Pera also lost Josh Parrish (7.5 ppg) to San Diego. The good news is that he did add some guys via the transfer waiver: VMI freshman Travis Evee (12.6 ppg), Boise State frosh Riley Abercrombie (1.4 ppg), Furman’s Tre Clark (3.3 ppg) and Utah Valley’s Cavit Havsa (3.0 ppg).