It seems like more than ever we are seeing college basketball players pack up their stuff and transferring. It’s starting to become a yearly process. There’s almost a full year recruiting battle between big time schools trying to gain a competitive edge. However, I have never seen more graduate transfers or regular transfers in all of college basketball than right now. ESPN wrote an article and are updating it weekly if you want to follow along with the transfer madness: https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/28167956/college-basketball-transfer-rankings-2020-21-2021-22 or follow reporter Evan Daniels, who is trying to keep up with all these transfers.
So, why is transferring all the rage now? It feels like even 4 years ago you would never see a high-profile talent transfer to a new school. They would usually work harder, hope they lose a few to the NBA, or the coach would come into next year with a new strategy that would fit that players skill set. Nope not anymore, but more specifically we are seeing the Ivy League and other mid-major conferences become a feeder to Power 5 Conferences. Just to name a few Bryce Aiken (Harvard to Seton Hall), Carlik Jones (Radford to Louisville), Seth Towns (Harvard to Ohio State), Jordan Bruner (Yale to Alabama), Mike Smith (Columbia to Michigan), Amauri Hardy (UNLV to Oregon), and Patrick Tape (Columbia to Duke). That is five All-Ivy League and other all-conference talent opting out of the NBA in favor of another year of college hoops.
Opting out of the NBA for one more year of college ball is probably one of the biggest risks an athlete can take. Granted, I think most of these guys would have made the NBA in some way shape or form. Hell, I think Aiken, Towns and Tape would have been drafted. But that is just the beginning, these are guys who are eligible to play immediately. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to guys who have to sit and wait until 2021 and then on top of all the big name freshman coming in as well.
Former Ohio State guard, Luther Muhammad, committed yesterday to Arizona State. Then shortly after, the Sun Devils signed Top 10 Class of 2020 player Josh Christopher. Not sure if these two will ever play together because of Muhammad’s eligibility but who knows. But still that’s huge news having a transfer potentially play a big role in signing a recruit.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 15, 2020
Coming back for that one extra year or transferring and having to sit can have a tremendous upside though. Look at Aiken, who was a top Ivy League player, was injured for majority of the 2019-2020 season. Will he still be drafted? Possibly, more probable than not he would have fell to the second round but I still think he was draftable. But now he’s returning to a Power 5 Conference (Big East) and will play and probably lead Seton Hall to an NCAA Tournament bid. Which in return will increase his draft stock to a mid-first rounder/early second rounder.
Purdue transfer Matt Haarms is in the same boat. He had injures for a majority of the year. But now, he’s the highest rated non-committed transfer left. The offers come from Gonzaga, Kentucky, Arizona and Texas Tech along with some other decent teams.
Landing one of these transfer is a big deal for these programs. Look at Arizona State yesterday, it was a huge day for them. They go almost as crazy, if not more when landing a transfer over an incoming freshman. Having an experienced fifth year player can be huge in late game scenarios or with handling high profile freshman. Look at Duke with Zion and them. They had no senior leader to hold them down when it counted. Hopefully we can see a good fifth year college basketball player story next year. It has been forever, if not ever, that we have heard of a big name transfer come in and really lead his new team to a championship. There are a ton of names still out there and its only April, it should be a fun season.
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