Rodney Purvis and College Basketball's 11 Most Impactful High-Major Transfers
Rodney Purvis shocked the college basketball world when he transferred from NC State to UConn after the 2012-13 season.
More than one year later, Purvis’ first game as a Huskie is in the near future.
He’s one of several players who transferred across the high-major level—either last offseason or this one—who will suit up for their new teams this fall.
Because of Shabazz Napier’s departure, Purvis will make an immediate impact in UConn’s backcourt. He’s not the only transfer who will have the opportunity to either maintain or resurrect a program’s high level of play.
Here’s a look at Purvis and 10 other players who transferred from one high-major program to another and are poised to make a big impact this season.
Check back for the most impactful high-major transfers coming from mid-major programs.
The following players were not considered because they are either awaiting a waiver decision or they are not eligible until midseason:
- Jameel McKay, Iowa State via Marquette/Indian Hills (eligible second semester)
- Cameron Biedscheid, Missouri via Notre Dame (eligible second semester)
- Alex Murphy, Florida via Duke (eligible second semester)
- Cody Doolin, UNLV via San Francisco
- Trevor Thompson, Ohio State via Virginia Tech
- TaShawn Thomas, Oklahoma via Houston
- Jerome Seagears, UNLV via Rutgers
- Charles Mitchell, Georgia Tech via Maryland
- Zach Lofton, Minnesota via Illinois State
- Dusty Hannahs, Arkansas via Texas Tech
- Jordan Tolbert, Southern Methodist via Texas Tech
11. Angelo Chol, San Diego State Via Arizona
Angelo Chol pledged to Arizona at the wrong time.
The athletic 6’9” power forward took a backseat to Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett as a sophomore, and he elected to transfer when Sean Miller brought in Aaron Gordon. Chol landed at San Diego State.
The Aztecs just lost Josh Davis to graduation, leaving Chol an opportunity to contribute immediately.
Chol averaged 1.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.5 minutes per game in 2012-13. Don't judge Chol by his numbers, writes Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg.
Chol will see more floor time at San Diego State and will help the Aztecs remain in the hunt for the Mountain West title.
10. Justin Martin, Southern Methodist Via Xavier
Even without Emmanuel Mudiay, Southern Methodist can contend for the AAC title in 2014-15. Justin Martin is one of the main reasons.
Martin, who graduated from Xavier, averaged 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Musketeers in 2013-14. He shot 37.3 percent from long range.
The 2013-14 Mustangs featured one player—Nick Russell—who had appeared in a NCAA tournament game. Russell graduated this spring, leaving Martin as the veteran presence on the team.
9. Remy Abell, Xavier Via Indiana
Indiana’s loaded 2012-13 roster precluded Remy Abell from playing significant minutes. Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls shared ball-handling duties, and Tom Crean generally elected to go big with the rest of his rotation.
CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello noted Abell's attributes that will boost Xavier:
Abell has a good body, which enables him to guard multiple positions on the perimeter. He's not a great scorer, but he can get points in different ways. He knocked down 16 3-pointers and was also able to finish at the rim.
Abell is a talented defender and a capable scorer who will help Xavier replace Semaj Christon. Given the floor time and asked to produce offensively, Abell should be one of Xavier’s top scorers in 2014-15.
The 6’4” guard averaged four points per game while shooting 48.5 percent from three-point range and 46.9 percent overall in 2012-13. He also posted a 115.9 offensive rating, according to kenpom.com (subscription required).
8. Angel Rodriguez and 7. Sheldon McClellan, Miami (FL) Via Kansas State and Texas
Miami took a step back last season, and the point guard and scoring situations were big reasons why.
In come Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, and the Hurricanes have a stable point guard and a scorer who have already played in a high-major conference.
Rodriguez isn’t the quickest point guard, but he finds his teammates and can put points on the board, too.
As a sophomore at Kansas State, the 5’11” floor general averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game. He posted a 107.4 offensive rating, and his 37.3 percent assist rate ranked 24th in the nation.
McClellan, meanwhile, saw his efficiency dip as a sophomore at Texas—his 116.5 ORtg in 2011-12 fell to 104.1 in 2012-13. But, as Jeff Eisenberg noted, he has shown flashes of the elite scoring ability that made him a heralded recruit out of high school.
Also from Eisenberg, "Pair McClellan and Rodriguez in the backcourt for the 2014-15 season, and Miami would have one of the more potent guard duos in the nation."
The potential is there, as we have already seen Rodriguez team up with Rodney McGruder to form an explosive backcourt.
The ACC is absolutely loaded this year, so Rodriguez and McClellan won’t carry Miami to a conference title. But don’t be surprised if the duo lead Miami to a few upsets in league play.
6. Aaron Cosby and 5. Ahmad Starks, Illinois Via Seton Hall and Oregon State
Ahmad Starks and Aaron Cosby are just what the doctor ordered for an Illinois squad that shot 31.7 percent from three-point territory last year.
Cosby converted 40 percent of his treys as a Seton Hall sophomore in 2012-13, while Starks nailed 39.5 percent as an Oregon State junior.
Starks can also really handle the ball. With him on the floor, Tracy Abrams will be able to shift to the two, his natural position.
John Groce certainly won’t have a shortage of guards, with Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate also expected back.
With Rayvonte Rice and newcomer Leron Black, Illinois will field a more complete team than it did in 2013-14.
4. Matt Carlino, Marquette Via Brigham Young
Thanks to the addition of Matt Carlino, Marquette will boast a top-three backcourt in the Big East in 2014-15.
Carlino, a 6’2” guard, averaged 13.7 points and 4.3 assists per game for Brigham Young last year. He graduated in the spring and is eligible immediately at Marquette.
Carlino joins Todd Mayo and Derrick Wilson in the backcourt, who will have to carry the Golden Eagles in year one under Steve Wojciechowski—the graduations of Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule severely weakened the wing and frontcourt.
3. Bryce DeJean-Jones, Iowa State Via UNLV
Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg has made a habit of reeling in talented transfers, and Bryce DeJean-Jones is the latest to flee to Ames.
He’s a good off-the-dribble shooter and a deft passer for his position. Those traits, in conjunction with his ability to push the pace and run the floor, make him a great fit for Hoiberg’s system.
DeJean-Jones isn’t the most efficient scorer—he posted a 105.6 offensive rating and 32.3 clip from three-point range last year—but he finds ways to put points on the board. As a sophomore at UNLV, he averaged 13.6 points per game.
For what it’s worth, DeAndre Kane had never posted an ORtg higher than 99.8 before joining Iowa State for his final season of eligibility. He finished 2013-14 with a 110.4 ORtg.
Unlike Kane, DeJean-Jones wasn’t the primary ball-handler and facilitator on his previous team. But he has the tools to help fill Kane’s role for Iowa State as a scorer and distributor.
He’ll be a key player in Iowa State’s lineup, as Kane and Melvin Ejim—the Cyclones’ top scorers in 2013-14—are no longer with the program. When fellow transfer Jameel McKay becomes eligible in December, Iowa State will be a well-rounded force to be reckoned with.
2. Anthony Lee, Ohio State Via Temple
Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta reeled in a pair of talented wings in his incoming freshman class, but Amir Williams was Ohio State’s only viable inside presence until Anthony Lee entered the mix.
Lee averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for a dreadful Temple team last year. He shot 49.5 percent from the floor.
Lee, who is more than capable of competing with the best bigs in college basketball, should start from day one. CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello also believes in Lee's potential impact.
Borzello wrote that "Lee will immediately provide a boost down low, at both ends of the floor. The Buckeyes are bringing in some impressive freshman reinforcements, but Lee has experience, and should be productive right off the bat."
Rodney Purvis, UConn Via NC State
Rodney Purvis was a big reason why college basketball pundits considered NC State a national title contender in 2012-13.
He arrived at NC State as a McDonald’s All-American with tremendous offensive upside. He left after his freshman year as a disappointment, a microcosm of the Wolfpack’s underachieving season.
Purvis still has the talent that excited NC State fans. He also has a year of Shabazz Napier’s tutelage.
We won’t know until Purvis actually suits up for UConn, but if Napier’s toughness and killer instinct manifest in Purvis, the Huskies could have a top backcourt in the AAC.
Thanks to the addition of Sam Cassell Jr., Purvis and Ryan Boatright will each be able to play off the ball, where they have excelled in the past.
All advanced statistics are courtesy of Kenpom.com.