Olek Czyz Joining the Ever-Growing List of Duke Transfers

Justin McTeerCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2009

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 17:  Olek Czyz #13 of the Duke Blue Devils runs upcourt during the game against the North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs on December 17, 2008 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Chances are, if you're not an avid Duke Blue Devil fan, you have no idea who Olek Czyz is.

Heck, most casual Duke fans have probably never heard of him.

Czyz (pronounced Chizz ) was part of Duke's 2008 recruiting class along with Elliot Williams and Miles Plumlee.

Known for his explosive athleticism and leaping ability, he had offers from schools such as Louisville and Florida but opted to play in Durham.

However, playing time has been a rare thing for Czyz in his time at Duke.  Despite starting the first two games of this season due to Nolan Smith's suspension, his time on the court has become relegated to garbage minutes in blowout games.

As a result, it has been reported that Czyz will be transferring to another school (not yet known) where he will be able to play a more significant role on the court.

While his transfer is certainly not a shock to Blue Devil fans, he does join a lengthy list of transfers from Duke in recent years.

Since 2006, Duke has had five scholarship players transfer to other schools either before or shortly after their sophomore season.  Duke lost two of its 2005 recruiting class members in Eric Boateng and Jamal Boykin. Taylor King transfered to Villanova after his freshman season at Duke in 2008.

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After last season, Elliot Williams transferred to Memphis to be closer to his ailing mother.

Now, Czyz joins Williams as a departure from Duke's 2008 recruiting class, leaving Miles Plumlee as the only remaining member of that incoming class still at Duke (which is ironic since he was a last minute decommit from Stanford).

This is certainly a concerning trend for the Blue Devils program (although Williams' transfer should probably be looked at differently).

Sure, most of the players weren't significant contributors and had little chance of cracking the rotation before their junior or senior seasons, but think about this—Duke has lost half of its players from the 2007 and 2008 recruiting classes. That won't exactly help Duke field an experienced team in a few years.

Why so many transfers?

Is the issue a misevaluation of the talent on the part of the staff, leading to "project players" being brought in with little chance of playing?

That might be the case with Czyz, but three of the five recent transfers (Boateng, Williams, and King) were McDonald's All-Americans for crying out loud.

Maybe the problem has to do with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's notoriously small rotations.  Ryan Kelly, the reigning McDonald's All-American three point champion, has already had a game where he failed to step on the court this year.

Rarely are McDonald's All-Americans looking to sit on the bench for a few years before being a contributor.

No matter what the issue is, Krzyzewski and his staff need to fix it.

This many transfers in such a short period of time doesn't create the ideal perception for current recruits who could begin to view Duke as the school where freshmen rot on the bench in favor of older, but perhaps less talented, players.

If the issue isn't the program but the players themselves (again, Williams should be viewed as a special case in this regard), the staff needs to do a better job of identifying the expectations and attitudes of the recruits they are bringing in and determining who is going to be a good fit on the team.

In Czyz's case, he likely knew that playing time this season would become less likely as the season progressed, and with Duke currently recruiting three players at his position for next year along with the realistic probability of Singler staying, his chances probably wouldn't have increased much next year.

Nevertheless, the volume of transfers from Duke in recent years is a concerning trend.

It's one the Blue Devils need to reverse.

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