10 NCAA Basketball Transfers Who Will Shine in 2014 After Missing Last Season
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It's time to refresh your memory on the players who either sat out all or most of 2012-13 as transfers.
Every year transfers are making an impact throughout college basketball. Fred Hoiberg has rebuilt the Iowa State program through mostly transfers. In two of the past three seasons, a transfer has been named an Associated Press All-American. Last season, Kansas center Jeff Withey was a third-team All-American, and in 2010-11, Ben Hansbrough was on the second team.
These 10 players figure to make the biggest impact next season for their new teams. They include a mix of players who sat out all or most of last year and are expected to be eligible this season. In a few cases, the teams are still waiting on word from the NCAA.
10. Gerard Coleman, Gonzaga
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2011-12 Stats at Providence: 13.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG
Why He's Here: Gerard Coleman will fit in nicely next to Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., replacing Mike Hart on the wing.
Hart was a glue guy who focused on defense and rarely shot. Coleman has the length and athleticism to be one of the Zags' best defenders. He's also a good slasher.
The one clear weakness in Coleman's game is his perimeter jumper. He made only 23.8 percent of his threes and 22 percent of his two-point jumpers, according to Hoop-Math, as a sophomore. That should not be too big of an issue at Gonzaga, as both Bell and Pangos are reliable shooters and Coleman can stick to slashing.
9. Matt Stainbrook, Xavier
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2011-12 Stats at Western Michigan: 11.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.9 BPG, 58.0 field-goal percentage
Why He's Here: Matt Stainbrook will provide a much-needed inside presence for Xavier to pair with talented guard Semaj Christon.
Stainbrook, at 6'9", was a solid player in the post at Western Michigan, and the expectation is that he should be even better and more mobile at Xavier.
By last fall, according to Cincinnati.com's Shannon Russell, Stainbrook had already dropped 40-plus pounds.
8. Rayvonte Rice, Illinois
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2011-12 Stats at Drake: 16.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.9 SPG
Why He's Here: John Groce has had success with transfers before. One of his key contributors at Ohio was Walter Offutt, an Ohio State transfer.
So it said a lot about Rayvonte Rice when Groce recently told Marcus Jackson of The News-Gazette that Rice had the best sit-out year Groce has witnessed in his 19 years of coaching college basketball.
Jackson also reported that Rice is down from 265 pounds and 12.7 percent body fat to 235 pounds and 6.1 percent. For a guard who depends a lot on his athleticism, that's really good news for Illinois.
7. Michael Gbinije, Syracuse
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2011-12 Stats at Duke: 1.9 PPG, 6.5 MPG, made 11 of 20 field goals
Why He's Here: Michael Gbinije barely played as a freshman at Duke, but that doesn't mean he cannot turn into a solid college player. Gibinije was well regarded coming out of high school—Rivals.com ranked him as the 35th-best prospect in the 2011 class—and with his size as a guard, he's a good fit at Syracuse where he could play multiple positions.
Jim Boeheim told The Post-Standard's Donna Ditota in April:
The nice thing with Michael is he gives us some flexibility. We think he can play the two or the three and we played him in practice at the one just to get him used to that. You wouldn’t want him to play 20 minutes at point guard, but he could play there eight or 10 minutes very easily.
6. Josh Smith, Georgetown
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2011-12 Stats at UCLA: 9.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 61.1 field-goal percentage
Why He's Here: Josh Smith has the talent to be at the top of this list. He also has had enough weight issues in his career that he could be irrelevant and not deserving of this sixth spot.
The last time we saw Smith for six games at UCLA in 2012-13, he was closer to the former. He averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in only 13.5 minutes per game. We'll have to likely wait until second semester to watch him this season.
If Smith can get his weight under control by then, the big man has the ability to be really good. He has soft hands and a soft touch in the post. He also cannot be moved. Sometimes his weight serves him well as long as he's in good enough shape to play real minutes.
John Thompson III seems to believe he'll make a big impact. Thompson recently told Ben Standig of CSN Washington:
I don't know why because he may be the biggest person in college basketball but I think the world is forgetting about big Josh. We're going to have a low-post presence that's pretty formidable.
5. Nic Moore, SMU
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2011-12 Stats at Illinois State: 10.0 PPG, 3.9 APG, 2.3 RPG, 38.9 three-point percentage, 82.8 free-throw percentage
Why He's Here: Nic Moore followed his coach Tim Jankovich to SMU. Jankovich is the top assistant for Larry Brown and the coach-in-waiting. It should turn out to be a solid arrangement for the Mustangs.
Moore had an impressive finish to his freshman season two years ago at Illinois State, nearly leading his team to an NCAA tourney bid. Moore scored 20 points and had five assists in an overtime loss in the Missouri Valley championship game to Creighton. He then averaged 24.5 points and six assists in two NIT games.
With three years of eligibility remaining, he could be a key piece in helping Brown and Jankovich turn the SMU program around. The backcourt of Moore and incoming freshman Keith Frazier should also help ease the transition to the Big East for the Mustangs.
4. T.J. McConnell, Arizona
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2011-12 Stats at Duquesne: 11.4 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, 43.2 three-point percentage, 83.6 free-throw percentage
Why He's Here: Look at what Duquesne was without T.J. McConnell this past year. With him two seasons ago, the Dukes were a middle-of-the-pack Atlantic 10 team that finished 16-15 overall and 7-9 in the A-10. Without him this past season, the Dukes finished 8-22 overall and 1-15 in the A-10.
Not all of that can be put on the loss of McConnell—the Dukes had a new head coach as well—but it definitely made a difference.
McConnell should also be able to make a difference at Arizona, where Sean Miller has needed a point guard like McConnell.
Last season, Miller went with another transfer, Mark Lyons, at point guard. Lyons had a solid season, but he is more of a shoot-first combo guard. The Wildcats, who are loaded with talent, should benefit from having a pass-first guard like McConnell this coming season.
3. Jordan Clarkson, Missouri
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2011-12 Stats at Tulsa: 16.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 37.4 three-point percentage
Why He's Here: Jordan Clarkson is the best of a group of players who traded in their mid-major uniforms to play on a bigger stage this upcoming season.
Clarkson could immediately see himself in a role similar to the one he played at Tulsa as a ball-dominant guard. It may have served Clarkson well to have a point guard like Phil Pressey setting him up, but Pressey decided to leave school early.
Frank Haith has leaned a lot on his perimeter scorers since he arrived at Mizzou, and next season should be no different.
2. Michael Dixon, Memphis
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2011-12 Stats at Missouri: 13.5 PPG, 3.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 36.8 three-point percentage, 87.9 free-throw percentage
Why He's Here: Memphis is still waiting on the NCAA to see if Michael Dixon is allowed to play his senior season after transferring from Missouri.
If allowed to play, the Tigers get one of the quickest guards in the country who played the role of Microwave Man at Mizzou.
Dixon was the sixth man on Missouri's team that had the most efficient offense in the country. What's special about Dixon is his ability to create his own shot and shoot such a high percentage for a small guard. As a junior, Dixon made 57.8 percent of his shots inside the arc, an extremely high mark for a player his size.
1. Rodney Hood, Duke
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2011-12 Stats at Mississippi State: 10.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 36.4 three-point percentage
Why He's Here: Take North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried's word on this.
Gottfried told David Morrison of the News and Record of Greensboro, N.C., that he believes Duke could produce the No. 2 and 3 draft picks next June in Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, and he also believes Duke should be preseason No. 1.
"There's a lot of attention around Jabari Parker, but wait until you see Rodney Hood," Gottfried said. "He's that good. They're loaded."
Hood and Parker are both 6'8", and because both are expected to start, the Blue Devils will likely feature Hood as a stretch-4. Hood, a lefty with a smooth jumper, is a difficult matchup no matter where he plays, but it's going to be extremely difficult for other teams to find two forwards with enough size and speed to guard both Parker and Hood.