College Basketball: Top 25 High-Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Top-level talent is on the move in college basketball.
Players are transferring in record numbers.
As of April 10, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported that 425 college players are looking for a fresh start somewhere else. That number has increased in the last month-and-a-half.
Some players are taking full-advantage of opportunities to not only change schools but to do so without having to sit out the customary one-year.
Many players are finishing their degrees early and utilizing the graduate transfer exception, which says:
"To qualify to be immediately eligible upon transferring schools, the student-athlete must complete degree work at his current institution and then pursue an advanced degree at his new school that is not offered at his original school."
Others are changing schools and obtaining a waiver to be closer to home because of family health issues.
Still others are heading out to new destinations because of a number of possible problems at their previous school.
Regardless, here is a lightning fast look at the Top 25 high impact transfers for 2012-13.
25. Sam McLaurin (Illinois)
Sam McLaurin gives new Illinois head coach John Groce a talented big man to help clog the middle next year.
McLaurin, a 6'8", 230-pound forward, started every game for Coastal Carolina last season, averaging 10.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 1.2 bpg while shooting 65.2 percent from the field.
McLaurin is a graduate transfer who may anchor an inexperienced Fighting Illini front court.
Averaging a double-double is not out of the question for McLaurin.
24. Roscoe Smith (UNLV)
Roscoe Smith got lost in the UConn shuffle this past year.
After playing a major role while starting as a freshman on the Huskies' 2011 Championship team, Smith was reduced to a face in the crowd his sophomore season, scoring 4.4 points and grabbing 3.4 boards last season.
Smith left UConn after the Huskies received a 2013 postseason ban from the NCAA for low Academic Progress Rate scores.
Smith is going to have to compete for time at UNLV. Dave Rice has pulled in a talented group of frontcourt recruits and transfers that make the Rebels one of the teams to watch in 2012-13.
23. Devonta Abron (TCU)
Trent Johnson, TCU's new head coach, isn't wasting time bringing in some talented players who are ready to compete as the Horn Frogs transition into the Big 12.
Devonta Abron, a 6'8", 255-pound PF from nearby Seagoville, TX, played in every game for Arkansas as a true freshman.
Abron was the Razorbacks leading rebounder last year (4.2 rpg) while only playing 16 minutes per game.
The young big man also scored 5.7 ppg.
22. Dwayne Polee (San Diego State)
Steve Fisher continues to build San Diego State by adding an ongoing string of talented players to the program.
Dwayne Polee arrives on campus after playing at St. John's for a single season, starting 27 games as a freshman, averaging 4.4 ppg and 2.5 rpg
DP gives the Aztecs another athletic wing with length. Fisher already pulled in Utah-transfer J.J. Obrien, a 6'7" SF who scored 6.4 ppg as a Ute freshman.
21. Larry Drew II (UCLA)
Larry Drew II's run at North Carolina came to a screeching halt mid-way through his junior year.
Even though he had a good assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), Drew II was struggling as the Tar Heels' starting PG.
Now, back home in SoCal, LD2 has a final chance to show what he can do on what could be one of the most intriguing teams in CBB.
Depending on how Ben Howland decides to go, Drew II could be running the point for UCLA, with Shabbaz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson on the wings...Not too shabby.
20. Jabari Brown (Missouri)
Jabari Brown was supposed to be a program-changing recruit for Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks.
Coming out of high school, ESPNU described the 6'3 guard as "one of the best shooters in the Class of 2011."
However, after two games, Brown left Eugene and was back out on the open market.
After sitting out the first semester, Brown will give second-year Mizzou head coach Frank Haith another uber-talented back court player.
19. Malcolm Armstead (Wichita State)
Malcolm Armstead may be just what the Shockers need to deal with a complete turnover in their backcourt.
The 6' point guard-transfer from Oregon averaged 8.6 points and 4.4 assists as a junior.
He and Juco-transfer Nick Wiggins will be called on to lead the WSU team that is coming off a fantastic season (27-6) and looking to keep things rolling in the Missouri Valley conference.
18. Julius Mays (Kentucky)
John Calipari not only can pull in some serious talent through recruiting some of the top high school players in the country.
He can also reload by reeling in some nice transfers like Julius Mays.
Mays led Wright State in scoring in 2011-12 (14.1 ppg).
The 6'2" combo guard will add punch and experience to a Wildcat back court that (surprise!) is having to start over after the departures of both Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb.
17. Khem Birch (UNLV)
Khem Birch was the No. 2 center in the Class of 2011.
He was supposed to be Pitt's next big-time big man...a long, athletic, shot-blocking game-changer.
But, after 10 disappointing games, where he was averaging 4.4 ppg and 5 rpg, Birch left Pittsburgh.
Now, the 6'9", 220-pound PF has landed at UNLV and will be a part of one of the most dynamic front courts in CBB.
Watch for KB to average a double-double after he becomes eligible.
16. Luke Hancock (Louisville)
Luke Hancock had two solid years playing for George Mason, helping the Patriots make it to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The 6'6" SF averaged 10.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 4.3 apg during his second and final season playing for GMU.
After his sophomore season, Hancock transferred to Louisville and will challenge for playing time on a loaded Cardinals' team that could be the preseason No. 1 team in the nation.
Hancock and senior PG Peyton Siva were named the team's co-captains...Not bad for a guy who hasn't played a single minute yet.
15. Korie Lucious (Iowa State)
Korie Lucious arrived in East Lansing, ready to lead Michigan State to huge success.
In his first two collegiate seasons, he played in two straight Final Four's for the Spartans.
Unfortunately, as a junior, Lucious displayed conduct detrimental to the program and was suspended for the rest of the 2010-11.
He was averaging 6.5 points and 4.1 assists per game when he was dismissed from the team.
The 5'11" PG decided to transfer to Iowa State for his senior season where he can continue to make things happen by penetrating and dishing
Head coach Fred Hoiberg had great success last year with a host of transfers. Lucious is going to help him do it all over again in 2012-13.
14. Earnest Ross (Missouri)
Earnest Ross is a big (6'5" 222 lbs) physical guard who played two productive seasons at Auburn.
As a sophomore, he led the Tigers in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg), but found himself looking for a place "to go in a different direction both academically and athletically."
Evidently, Missouri was that place. After sitting out last season, Ross is ready to contribute to a talented Tiger back court that already has Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon returning.
13. Bryce Jones (UNLV)
Bryce Jones, a Rivals.com Top 100 player coming out of high school, began his collegiate hoops' career with a bang at USC.
The 6'4" guard started the Trojans' first 10 games, averaging 11.2 ppg. But things changed when Fordham transfer Jio Fontan became eligible after the fall semester.
Jones was pulled from the starting lineup, and his time was more than cut in half.
He is looking for a fresh start on a talented UNLV team that is ready to make some noise in 2012-13.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the athletic wing will make the Rebels a tough match-up for just about anyone.
12. Aaric Murray (West Virginia)
Aaric Murray is a true, wide-bodied center (6'11" 240 lbs) who is not afraid to battle under the boards.
Murray was productive from the time that he stepped on campus at LaSalle, scoring in double figures in both his freshman (12.2 ppg) and sophomore (15.2) seasons.
He led the Explorers in both points and rebounds during his second and last season.
Now as a junior, after sitting out the 2011-12 season, Murray is ready to show what he can do against Big 12 competition.
11. Juwan Staten (West Virginia)
After leading the Atlantic 10 Conference in assists as a freshman (5.4 apg), Juwan Staten gives Bob Huggins a super PG to lead the Mountaineers as they move into the Big 12.
Staten's arrival in Morgantown is timely with the Mountaineers losing Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant.
Staten (6'1", 195 lbs) is a pure point who breaks down defenses and is more than able to deliver the ball to teammates in a position to score. He is also a fierce defender which will help him fit right into Huggins' style of play.
10. Alex Oriakhi (Missouri)
Alex Oriakhi was a key front court player on UConn's 2011 Championship team, averaging 9.6 ppg and 8.7 rpg.
In 2011-12, the 6'9", 240 lbs PF struggled to find his place alongside Alex Drummond, and he averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg.
After the NCAA handed UConn a 2013 postseason ban because of a sub-par academic progress rating, Oriakhi decided to transfer for his senior year.
He decided to settle in at Missouri for a one-year adventure with a unique collection of recruits and transfers.
If Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers can learn to flourish together, the Tigers will be nasty squad come March.
9. Eric Wise (USC)
Eric Wise provides some things that USC has lacked the last few years...things like talent, strength and stability.
Wise (6'6", 240 lbs) comes to 'SC after three very good years at UC Irvine where he averaged 15.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg over 83 games.
Even though Wise will only be playing for the Trojans for one year, he will help them get out of the Pac 12 basement (6-26; 1-17 in the Pac 12).
8. Desmar Jackson (Southern Illinois)
Desmar Jackson played two years of high-quality hoops in near anonymity.
In two years at Wyoming, the 6'5" guard averaged 11.8 ppg as a freshman and 14.6 ppg as a sophomore.
Jackson, a relentless slasher who can get into the lane any time he wants to, will help the Salukis get out of the Missouri Valley basement (8-23; 5-13 MVC).
7. Ryan Harrow (Kentucky)
Ryan Harrow is helping John Calipari go in a slightly different direction in 2012-13.
Kentucky has had a new point guard every year since Coach Cal arrived in Lexington.
With Harrow transferring from NC State, he has the advantage over Calipari's past UK PGs in the fact that he has been in the system for a year as he sat out.
Harrow's numbers as a Wolf Pack freshman were good (9.3 ppg; 3.3 apg; 1.9 assists-to-turnover ratio). If he can improve on these stats slightly, the Cats will be in good shape at the point for the upcoming season.
6. Trey Zeigler (Pitt)
Trey Zeigler will be immediately eligible to play after transferring from Central Michigan where his dad was fired as the Chippewas' head coach.
Zeigler averaged 15.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last year as a sophomore and will be a welcome addition to the Panthers back court that lost big-time SG Ashton Gibbs.
With the 6'5" wing and New Zealander Big Man Steven Adams' arrival, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon will be ready to return to the top tier of the Big East in 2012-13.
5. Keion Bell (Missouri)
Keion Bell was a scoring machine in three seasons at Pepperdine.
He put up 18.9 ppg as a junior in 2010-11 and 18.5 points the season before that. During his three seasons at Pepperdine, he dropped in 1,365 points and averaged 4.7 rebounds per game.
Second-year Tigers head coach Frank Haith has lots of back court options, with adding transfers Bell and Earnest Ross to returning guards Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon.
4. Rotnei Clarke (Butler)
Rotnei Clarke was one of the best pure shooters in the country over the first three years of his college career.
Playing for Arkansas, Clarke knocked down 274 three-pointers while shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Transferring to Butler, he will have the chance to help the Bulldogs step back into the national conversation in 2012-13.
3. Will Clyburn (Iowa State)
Will Clyburn's journey to become an Iowa State Cyclone has involved a few different stops.
Initially out of high school, Clyburn spent two seasons at Marshalltown Community College where he earned first-team All-Region honors in 2010.
Next, the long, athletic wing transferred to Utah (2010-11), where he averaged 17.1 points and 7.8 rebounds while earning All-Mountain West Conference honors. In his one season at UofU, he made 40.3 percent (62-154 3FG) of his shots from beyond the arc.
Clyburn, who could be one of the best SFs in the Big 12, is ready to help ISU return again to the NCAA Tournament.
2. Trent Lockett (Marquette)
Marquette needed to find some players to step up into the void created by the departures of seniors Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom.
Enter, Trent Lockett.
Lockett, who is eligible immediately for the Warriors, averaged more than 13 ppg and shot better than 50 percent from the floor the last two years at Arizona State.
He is an exceptional finisher at the rim and an outstanding on-ball defender.
For at least one year, Buzz Williams won't have to worry about what happens at the SG position.
1. Mark Lyons (Arizona)
Mark Lyons has one year to show NBA scouts that he can play the point.
Lyons decided that Xavier was not the place to accomplish this.
In going to Arizona, he reconnects with Sean Miller, the head coach that recruited him initially.
While Lyons was a PG in high school, he played almost exclusively SG in three years for the Musketeers.
As a junior, Lyons averaged 15.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 2.8 apg.
If his transition to the point is successful, watch for Arizona to be a Top Ten team in 2012-13.