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College Basketball: The 10 Most Damaging Eligibility Losses for 2012-13

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2012

College Basketball: The 10 Most Damaging Eligibility Losses for 2012-13

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    Let’s clear up any confusion right from the start.

    When I’m talking about eligibility losses for this article as they pertain to the 2012-13 season, I strictly mean because of transfer rules (transferring players typically have to sit out a year unless they are a Wisconsin quarterback) or suspension-related occurrences.

    That means players that left for the NBA draft or graduated after last year are not eligible (yes, that pun was intended—feel free to judge) for this list.

    I am giving Dez Wells and Shabazz Muhammad honorable mentions in the intro slide (and the coveted intro picture) because we really aren’t sure how their situations will ultimately play out. There’s a chance both could be suiting up on opening night, so I’m not going to clump them in with everyone else for now.

    I’m sure there are some players that I will leave off this list (to get an idea of how many transfers there are to keep track of, look at Jeff Goodman’s impressive list, which is nearly up to 500), so feel free to let me know who they are in the comments.

    Without further ado, here are the 10 most damaging eligibility losses for the 2012-13 season.

Rodney Hood

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    In today’s college basketball world, many freshmen who were told they were God’s gift to basketball all throughout high school end up transferring when they aren’t playing enough in their first collegiate season.

    That was not the case with Rodney Hood.

    Hood saw an average of 32 minutes per contest at Mississippi State as a freshman and scored 10 points and grabbed nearly five rebounds a game.

    However, when head coach Rick Stansbury retired, Hood decided to test the transfer market. He ultimately chose Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils over Ohio State, Memphis and Florida State.

    Hood is the type of player that any coach would covet, which is why his ineligibility for Duke this year is difficult to swallow. He stands at 6’8”, is an effective rebounder and can hit shots from behind the three-point line.

    But the rich will only get richer in 2013-14 when Hood is able to suit up in Duke blue.

Jordan Sibert

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    Jordan Sibert was supposed to be a household name throughout Ohio by this point.

    He was a critical part of Thad Matta’s impressive 2010 recruiting class that included such players as Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr.

    While those players are all well-known, at least among Buckeye fans, Sibert was a 4-star prospect that was initially expected to have a bigger impact than Craft and Smith. Well, two seasons later Sibert made the decision to unceremoniously end his Ohio State career and transfer to Dayton.

    The promising thing for Flyer fans is the fact that the talent is still there. Much of Sibert’s issue in Columbus was that he didn’t really get a lot of playing time, and considering the recruits he came in with, that isn’t all that surprising.

    Sibert would make a big difference in the Atlantic 10 this year, but he will have to wait until 2013-14 to prove his recruitment hype was not without merit.

Kelsey Barlow

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    Nothing about Kelsey Barlow’s collegiate career has been especially glamorous.

    He was not a particularly sought-after recruit, he was overshadowed by more famous teammates on Purdue and he ultimately was dismissed from the Boilermakers’ program for a violation of team rules.

    However, Barlow is a tough-nosed player who brings energy to both sides of the floor. He transferred to Illinois-Chicago after his dismissal from Purdue.

    There is no doubt the on-court presence of Barlow would be a shot in the arm for the Flames team that finished 8-22 overall and 3-15 in the Horizon League. Barlow would almost instantly become the best player on his own team and perhaps one of the most talented in the entire conference.

    For now, he will have to settle for helping the young players on the Flames in practice until the 2013-14 campaign.

Que Johnson

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    Demarquise “Que” Johnson was supposed to be a critical part in the rebuilding efforts of Washington State.

    He was the No. 85 overall recruit according to Rivals.com and chose the Cougars over other West Coast teams, including Washington, Gonzaga and UNLV.

    He was Washington State’s top prospect in the 2012 class, and his ability to hit from the outside was going to stretch the floor for the Cougar offense.

    Unfortunately for the Cougar faithful, Johnson was ruled a partial-qualifier by the NCAA and will be ineligible to play this season. Essentially, it will be like he is taking a redshirt.

    The problem for Washington State is that it has experienced health problems and inconsistent play from many of its wing players in the recent past, and the 6’5” Johnson was going to provide much-needed depth and talent.

    The Cougars will have to wait until 2013-14 to enjoy that now.

Carlton Brundidge

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    The University of Detroit Mercy made the NCAA tournament last season and ultimately fell to Kansas in its first game.

    The Titans are hoping to return to the big dance again this year, but it would certainly help their chances if University of Michigan transfer Carlton Brundidge were eligible.

    As a high-school recruit, Brundidge was considered a 4-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals and Scout and was one of the most sought-after players in the entire state of Michigan. However, when he didn’t receive the type of playing time he expected as a Wolverine, he looked to the transfer market.

    When Brundidge is eligible to play for Detroit, the Titans will be receiving a player that can score, rebound and dish out assists, something that will help the defending Horizon League champions win more conference titles.

    A league title in 2012-13 would be much more likely if Brundidge could suit up sooner rather than later.

Maurice Jones

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    Maurice Jones led USC in scoring in the 2011-12 season and was arguably the most talented player on the roster.

    However, Trojan fans won’t be able to enjoy Jones’ scoring, passing and defensive abilities this year because he has been ruled academically ineligible and was dismissed from the university.

    As if that wasn’t enough, Jones informed head coach Kevin O’Neill that he intends to transfer and take his talents to another program.

    USC could have really used Jones on the court this season, especially given the resurgence across town at UCLA. Jones was one of the best defenders the Trojans had and even averaged two steals per contest as a freshman.

Dorian Finney-Smith

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    Virginia Tech was getting something that it hasn’t gotten a lot of recently when Dorian Finney-Smith decided to attend school there.

    That something was a 5-star prospect (per Scout.com) who wanted to play basketball instead of linebacker or quarterback.

    Finney-Smith is a Virginia native who averaged better than six points and seven rebounds per contest as a freshman for the Hokies. However, when the program fired head coach Seth Greenberg after that season, Finney-Smith was ready to look elsewhere.

    He ultimately transferred to Florida and would be a formidable asset for Billy Donovan in 2012-13 beside players like Patric Young and Kenny Boynton.

    However, Finney-Smith will have to learn from the Gators’ star players this year on the end of the bench after the transfer, but he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2013-14.

Damontre Harris

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    Imagine how deep and loaded Billy Donovan’s Gator team would be if Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris were eligible for the 2012-13 season.

    Harris is 6’9” and 227 pounds and will help Florida’s frontcourt in 2013-14, especially if Patric Young decides to enter the NBA draft after this year.

    Harris comes to Florida via South Carolina after electing to leave the Gamecock program following the firing of head coach Darrin Horn. He chose the Gators over Kansas.

    Harris led the Gamecocks in rebounding his sophomore season and was tied for second in the SEC in blocks per game. It will no doubt hurt South Carolina that Harris decided to stay within the SEC.

    But it doesn’t hurt as much as it would have this year if Harris were eligible for Florida.

Michael Gbinije

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    It’s not very often that there is a transfer from one blue-blood powerhouse to another.

    Frequently transfers involve a highly regarded recruit going from a big-time program to a smaller one in search of more playing time or a mid-major player who is looking for the glory that comes with the premier conferences.

    However, Michael Gbinije transferred from Duke to Syracuse in the offseason. Apparently, college basketball royalty looked better to him in orange than blue.

    Gbinije didn’t receive extensive playing time as a Blue Devil, but he was a top-tier recruit who can score in a hurry and set up teammates effectively. The Orange could use his abilities this season due to the high roster turnover they have experienced following last year’s Elite Eight run.

    Alas, they will have to wait for 2013-14.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing about this transfer is the fact that Gbinije will be playing in the same conference as Duke by the time he is eligible. Those trips to Cameron Indoor should be especially enjoyable for him.

Anthony Gill

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    Anthony Gill was seemingly just getting comfortable in the South Carolina basketball program when the Gamecocks decided to replace head coach Darrin Horn with Frank Martin (the ex-Kansas State lead man).

    Gill averaged better than 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest and started 26 times. However, he elected to transfer to Virginia (and considered Ohio State) when the coaching switch was made.

    Gill is athletic, can shoot from the outside and rebounds very effectively for his 6’8” frame. If he were eligible this season, he would be a critical cog in Virginia’s efforts to catch up to ACC leaders Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

    Either way, the Cavaliers will be better off in 2013-14 because of the decision.

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