College Basketball Recruiting: Hottest Transfers and Recruits Left on the Market
Since the month of May began, many of college basketball's final remaining transfers and recruits announced their highly anticipated decisions about their future destinations.
Canadian forward Anthony Bennett committed to UNLV, while lanky combo forward Amile Jefferson declared to Duke.
Arizona State's former guard Trent Lockett is heading to Marquette, while former Xavier standout Mark Lyons will become an Arizona Wildcat.
Nonetheless, 2012-13 college basketball rosters are not quite filled out.
Among the undecided players are a McDonald's All-American and a projected NBA draft lottery pick in 2013, according to nbadraft.net.
Here are the hottest dozen players currently left on the market, all of whom will improve whichever program receives their coveted services.
Note: The first six slides are transfers, listed alphabetically. The last six slides are recruits, listed alphabetically.
Transfer: Dorian Finney-Smith, Virginia Tech
Dorian Finney-Smith was once known as arguably Virginia Tech's greatest recruit commitment in school history. Following the firing of tenured coach, and recruiter of Finney-Smith, Seth Greenberg, the explosive forward is exploring other options after just playing one season as a Hokie.
Finney-Smith did not quite start his career in Blacksburg on the right foot. Despite being very difficult to guard as a 6'8'' small forward, he only averaged 6.3 points per game as a freshman. He did manage to average seven rebounds per contest, but his Virginia Tech team ultimately failed to make the 2012 NCAA tournament.
Since declaring his departure from Virginia Tech, Finney-Smith has narrowed his transfer list to seven schools. Those schools are Florida, Marquette, Georgetown, Iowa State, Villanova, Texas and Alabama. He will decide by the middle of June.
Finney-Smith is not eligible in 2012-13 and will be forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Transfer: Damontre Harris, South Carolina
Damontre Harris is a tremendous shot-blocker with gifted size and athleticism. When former Kansas State head coach Frank Martin accepted the coaching position at South Carolina, Harris wanted out. He played two seasons as a Gamecock.
While it is common for coaches to place transfer restrictions on players who are leaving, Harris' predicament is unusual. According to Kevin McCrarey of Sports Talk Radio Network in South Carolina, Harris can transfer anywhere besides NC State—a non-SEC school.
One of Harris' former assistant coaches at South Carolina now works with the Wolfpack, and apparently, Frank Martin is against a reunion between the two.
Regardless, Harris was named to the SEC All-Defensive team last year for his intimidating presence down by the low block. He averaged 5.5 boards per game, as well as 2.3 blocks. Either Florida or Kansas will receive his services, and both will be aware of his decision sooner rather than later. Harris is expected to decide any day now.
Harris will not be eligible in 2012-13 and will be forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Transfer: Rodney Hood, Mississippi State
Rodney Hood is the player mentioned in the introduction who is a projected 2013 NBA draft lottery pick, according to nbadraft.net. Professional scouts drool over his combination of size and explosiveness.
The Mississippi State basketball program is a jumbled mess. The Bulldogs declined from top-25 mainstay to NIT selection in 2011-12. Coach Rick Stansbury retired. Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney declared for the 2012 NBA draft. Dee Bost graduated.
Those events left Rodney Hood left alone, with minimal support. Unsurprisingly, Hood left the program as well, opting to transfer after just one season at Mississippi State.
Hood is a hybrid between guard and forward, but his 6'8'', 205-pound frame suggests he could be a power forward. Hood averaged 10.3 points per game as a freshman, along with 4.8 boards. Hood's list of possible destinations consists of Ohio State, Baylor, Duke, Florida State and N.C. State.
Hood will not be eligible in 2012-13 and will be forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Transfer: Ashton Pankey, Maryland
Aside from Robbie Hummel, no one has been hampered by consecutive injuries more severely than Ashton Pankey. The Bronx native missed his entire high school senior and college freshman seasons due to knee injuries. Now, he is transferring from Maryland.
Pankey, a 6'9'' power forward, was forced to medical redshirt his freshman season, but played all of last season healthy. He started 17 games for Maryland and averaged just under five points and rebounds per contest as a redshirt freshman. He was an adequate contributor filling in while Alex Len was suspended due to eligibility concerns.
Pankey chose to transfer to go to a school closer to his family in New York City. He is considering St. Johns, Iona and Fordham, all of which are located in NYC.
Pankey will not be eligible in 2012-13 and will be forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Transfer: Roscoe Smith, Connecticut
Roscoe Smith may have horrendous clock management skills, highlighted here and here, but the former national champion is a serious talent. Smith claims he's leaving UConn so he can play small forward instead of power forward, but I wouldn't blame anyone for leaving Connecticut, for any reason, who faces a tournament ban in 2012-13.
Smith isn't the only player leaving a struggling Connecticut basketball program. Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond are both headed for the NBA, while Michael Bradley and Alex Oriakhi are taking their hardware to other universities. Smith's statistics (4.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG) won't make anyone's mouth drop, but his potential and his length would be an asset to any of his possible landing spots.
Smith has not released a list of possible schools of where he may end up, but he has visited UNLV. During his high school recruitment, he heavily considered Duke and Georgetown.
Smith is in the process of attempting to obtain a waiver which would allow him to play next year. His argument would be that he is transferring to avoid the tournament ban.
Transfer: Jarrod Uthoff, Wisconsin
Jarrod Uthoff made headlines when Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan restricted Uthoff from transferring to 26 different schools. Bo Ryan received severe, but deserved, criticism for his actions handling Uthoff's decision to transfer from UW.
That being said, Uthoff is a potential-laden gem for whoever lands his services. He redshirted his freshman season, thus never actually playing a non-exhibition game for Wisconsin. Coming out of high school, Uthoff was an ESPNU 100 player who was lauded for his combination of size at 6'8'' and guard skills.
Uthoff is considering transferring to Creighton, Iowa State, Iowa, Marquette and Iowa. Most of these schools were initially banned for Uthoff to attend, but Bo Ryan was seemingly forced to alter his thought-process after enduring so much hate from the national media.
Uthoff will not be eligible in 2012-13 and will be forced to sit out for a second consecutive year due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Recruit: Savon Goodman, Constitution High School
Savon Goodman may end up reclassifying to the 2013 recruiting class to improve on the hardwood and in the classroom. Goodman would switch schools to Brewster Academy, most notably and recently the producer of Michigan commit Mitch McGary.
If Goodman opts to stay in the 2012 class, he is a solid get for whoever he commits to playing for. Goodman is a high flier with supreme athleticism. He is explosive and draws contact with ease.
The 6'6'' forward from Philadelphia was once committed to playing for Jay Wright at Villanova. Now, he doesn't even list the Wildcats as a possible destinations. That list consists of Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Temple, Seton Hall, NC State, Connecticut, Missouri, St. Johns, UCLA and Kansas.
Goodman has not stated when he plans to decide, but judging based off the size of his list, that announcement will not come very soon.
Recruit: Torian Graham, Christian Faith Center Academy
Torian Graham is a complete enigma to the recruiting world. He has been committed to NC State on two separate occasions and has decommitted from the Wolfpack two separate times.
In fact, Graham is considered by many to be a part of the 2013 recruiting class. Until Graham makes that official, and he stops appearing on 2012 rankings, we'll consider him part of this year's class. Graham is a true shooting guard, who can score from anywhere on the floor, including beyond the arc. He has a sweet jumper and plays above the rim as well.
Graham is still considering NC State, but it's never a good sign for other schools when Kentucky is in the mix, as is the case here. Xavier is a strong possibility as well.
Graham does not seem to show any signs of deciding anytime soon, and it is still unclear whether Graham even stays in the 2012 class.
Recruit: Montrezl Harrell, Hargrave Military Academy
Montrezl Harrell was not on the market until last week, when his plea to be released from his scholarship was granted by Virginia Tech. Similarly to Dorian Finney-Smith, Harrell left because coach Seth Greenberg was fired.
At the Capital Classic in Washington D.C., every single Maryland commit played, and every single one was outshined by Harrell. He scores at free will and has NBA size at 6'8'', 215 pounds of pure muscle. If he eventually makes it to the NBA, one of your future dunk contest champions might be Montrezl Harrell.
Despite only becoming a undeclared commodity just about one week ago, Harrell has already formed a list of possible suitors. The list consists of Louisville, Florida, Kentucky, Alabama and NC State.
If Harrell opts to join NC State, he will have to sit out one year because they are in the same conference as Virginia Tech. NC State is the only school on his list also in the ACC.
Recruit: Christopher Obekpa, Our Savior New American High School
When you think of shot-blockers in the 2012 recruiting class, Nerlens Noel and Steven Adams are the first two names that come to mind. When looking back at the class a year from now, Christopher Obekpa will be in the same conversation.
Obekpa is smaller than Noel and Adams at just 6'8'' but makes up for those inches with his wingspan. Similar to fellow Nigerian big man Hakeem Olajuwon, Obekpa's wingspan is measured at around 7'5''.
The last time college basketball saw a prospect with a similar difference between height and wingspan, his name was Anthony Davis.
Obekpa can rebound as well and is physical with his 225-pound frame. Cincinnati is considered to be the front-runner to land Obekpa, but Providence, DePaul, St. Johns, Oregon and UConn are all in the mix.
Obekpa hasn't said anything about a timetable for a decision.
Recruit: Devonta Pollard, Kemper County High School
Devonta Pollard is the only 2012 McDonald's All-American left on the market, and he didn't even play in the game. Pollard suffered a concussion during one of the practices in Chicago leading up to the game.
Despite not showcasing his talents during "the Super Bowl of recruiting," Pollard has proved he is the best remaining player in this class. He was dubbed the best player in Missouri by ESPN.
Pollard is a tad undersized at 6'7'' to be a power forward but makes up for that deficiency with length, similar to Chris Obekpa. Pollard is a superb athlete and will be a consistent double-double player at the next level.
Pollard's list is pretty miniscule at this point. Georgetown, Texas and Alabama are the only three schools still fighting for your top remaining prospect in 2012.
Recruit: Jerron Wilbut, Downers Grove South High School
Jerron Wilbut might be the most underappreciated guard in the entire 2012 class. ESPN only gives him a 91 ranking, which is well short of making the ESPNU 100. Wilbut should be ranked closer to a 94, because he is talented enough to warrant a spot on the ESPNU 100.
Wilbut is nifty, elusive and crafty off the dribble. He's a 6'3'' combo guard, with excellent vision and a fearless mentality. Wilbut is quick, athletic and can guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards.
Half of Wilbut's list consists of mid-majors, but Wilbut could dominate any of those conferences. His list consists of Memphis, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Missouri State and Dayton.
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