College Basketball: Momo Jones and the 10 Most Influential Transfers for 2011-12
This year's transfer class includes many key players from last season—like Lamont "Momo" Jones—that might cause somewhat of a power shift in college basketball.
When highly recruited basketball players come out of high school, they almost always expect to not only get playing time, but also to be one of the best players on their squad right away.
It's when that doesn't happen that many players decide to leave their school for other opportunities.
However, there are plenty of other reasons for players leaving their schools and this year, the athletes that made the move are some of the best in the country.
Here are the 10 most influential transfers for 2011-12.
Wally Judge: Kansas State to Rutgers
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Wally Judge is a perfect example of a top high school talent not getting the opportunities he expected to get at the college level—in his case at Kansas State.
Judge was a McDonald's All-American in high school and, according to ESPN, was the 15th best recruit overall and the fourth best forward.
With all the accolades he received coming out of Arlington Country Day High School, Judge figured to be an impact player for the Wildcats his freshman and sophomore year, but that wasn't the case.
Instead, Judge only saw 11 minutes per game as a freshman and a little over 15 minutes per game his sophomore year.
As a result, the 6'9'', 248-pound forward has decided to take his talents to Rutgers.
He will not play next season because of NCAA transfer rules, but his absence from the Wildcats and his eventual impact on the Scarlet Knights will be significant.
Larry Drew: North Carolina to UCLA
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Larry Drew II, son of Atlanta Hawks Coach Larry Drew I, decided in the middle of last season to transfer to UCLA.
Not only was this a significant move, but it was also pretty controversial.
According to Sports Illustrated, Drew himself did not inform Roy Williams and the rest of the North Carolina Tar Heels, but instead had his father make a phone call to inform the team.
While the way in which Drew made his exit has been criticized, his impact for the Bruins will likely not be affected.
Before freshman phenom Kendall Marshall assumed the starting point guard role for the Tar Heels, Drew was a fairly proficient player, leading the Tar Heels to a 12-5 record.
There are questions surrounding Drew's character, but Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins are certainly getting a good talent.
Jelan Kendrick: Memphis to Ole Miss
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Jelan Kendrick's decision to leave the Memphis Tigers was somewhat made for him.
In November of 2010, the former McDonald's All-American met with Memphis coach Josh Pastner, and the two decided that a split was best for both of them.
Kendrick, according to a report from Jason Smith of Go Tigers, had been butting head's with his coach at Memphis and had twice found himself in verbal altercations that led to him being kicked out of practice.
The 6'6'' Atlanta native will likely be the center piece of an up and coming Ole Miss squad when he is eligible for play in December of 2011.
Ryan Harrow: NC State to Kentucky
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Point guard Ryan Harrow decided to leave the NC State Wolfpack after a coaching change for the University of Kentucky.
Harrow, who was the fourth leading scorer for the Wolfpack and second on the team in assists, will certainly be missed, but he has the potential to impact Kentucky's team in 2012-13 when he's eligible.
Olu Ashaolu: Louisiana Tech to Oregon
Photo by Associated Press
After testing his NBA draft stock, Olu Ashaolu decided to transfer from Louisiana Tech to the University of Oregon in the hopes of improving his 2012 draft position.
In his last season with the Bulldogs, Ashaolu was among the top five players on his squad in nearly ever statistical category including minutes per game (2), points per game (2), rebounds per game (1), assists per game (4), blocks per game (4), steals per game (3) and field goal percentage (2).
At 6'7" and 228 pounds, Ashaolu has an explosive leaping ability and could be an exciting NBA prospect at the next level. For now, though, his presence at Oregon could make the Ducks a contender in the Pac-12.
Korie Lucious: Michigan State to Iowa State
One of the most high-profile players to change teams is former Michigan State point guard Korie Lucious, who will now play for Iowa State.
Lucious was one of the most important players for the Spartans, playing a big role in the team making it to two straight Final Fours in 2008-09 and 2009-10. However, after breaking an unspecified team rule, Lucious was suspended by coach Tom Izzo just 18 games into the 2010-11 season.
The suspension lead Lucious to seek playing for another team that would help his chances at the NBA. Marquette and Baylor both were interested in bringing on the point guard, but in the end Lucious felt that Iowa State coach Fred Hoilberg's connections with the NBA were enough to make him want to be a Cyclone.
Lucious' absence was felt by the Spartans last season and will likely hurt Michigan State again this year. As for Iowa State, they will enjoy their new point guard's talents once he is eligible to play in 2012-13.
Will Clyburn: Utah to Iowa State
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Willy Clyburn will transfer for the second time in his college basketball career, this time leaving Utah to join Lucious at Iowa State.
Statistically, Clyburn is one of the best players to transfer, averaging a team high 17.1 and 7.8 rebounds per game with the Utes last season.
The All-Mountain West forward was originally a junior college transfer from Marshalltown Community College and will now move again after Utah coach Jim Boylen's termination.
The Cyclones will be getting a great player in Clyburn, who will join Lucious in 2012-13 to try and take the Cyclones to the next level in the Big 12.
Lamont "Momo" Jones: Arizona to Iona
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Lamont "Momo" Jones was perhaps the most surprising transfer this offseason—deciding to leave the University of Arizona for Iona after the Wildcats reached the elite eight.
The sophomore point guard decided to change schools to be closer to his family as his grandmother's health deteriorates.
Unlike many of the other transfers, Jones will not need to sit out to satisfy eligibility requirements because of a "hardship waiver" that allows him to play right away.
The new Iona star is expected to put up big numbers for his new team and will likely lead the Gaels to a MAAC championship.
Juwan Staten: Dayton to West Virginia
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Another player who hopes to improve his NBA stock by transferring is Juwan Staten, who is leaving Dayton to play for the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Staten, who as a freshman for the Flyers averaged 8.5 points and 5.4 assists per game said, according to an article by West Virginia Illustrated, "the program didn't help him improve and the court and he felt he wouldn't reach his full potential if he stayed...".
The 6'0", 180-pound guard will have to sit out like many of the other transfers, but will likely be an impact player for the mountaineers when he is eligible in 2012-13.
Garrick Sherman: Michigan State to Notre Dame
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Garrick Sherman's decision to leave Michigan State for Notre Dame has the potential to be one of the most influential transfers in all of college basketball.
While Sherman's impact at Michigan State was somewhat minimal, averaging only a little over three points per game and two rebounds in 12 minutes, the opportunity he will get at Notre Dame could make a huge difference for the center.
Notre Dame is known for utilizing transfer players, with Ben Hansbrough being the most recent example, so should Sherman improve his defending, he should be able to fill a significant role for the Irish.