The number of transfers seems to grow every season, which has been a growing (and growing) trend over the last few years. What else has become a growing trend is major national programs using transfers as a way to supplement their teams. This season is no different with the likes of Duke, Michigan State, Wichita State and Connecticut all hoping their new players become a foundation for their success this season.
The Blue Devils won the National Championship but did lose a ton of talent. Coach K brought in a solid recruiting class of freshmen but also brought in Sean Obi a transfer from Rice. Gone are Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook. That is a lot of production to replace, even for the National Champs. The Blue Devils have brought in nine freshmen to go along with sophomore standout Grayson Allen. Obi joins the squad after a solid freshman campaign at Rice that saw him net 11points and nine rebounds a game. He won’t be able to make up for all the lost production but he will be relied upon to help lead such a young Blue Devil squad.
Unlike the team they lost to in the Final Four Michigan State returns nearly all of the that roster except for two integral pieces, guard Travis Trice and forward Branden Dawson. Tom Izzo welcomes big-time guard Eron Harris from West Virginia to supplement his pre-season top 15 team. Harris averaged over 17 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 2013-14. For Izzo this is the definition of reloading for another deep March run.
It is safe to say that Wichita State has shaken the mid-major moniker. Over the last three seasons they have 95 wins, a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the Final Four. Coach Gregg Marshall now has another top 10 team and perhaps the best backcourt in the country in Ron Baker and Fred Vanvleet. The Shockers must replace the 21.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists left behind by Darius Carter and Tekele Cotton. Marshall and company welcome a graduate transfer from Cleveland State in forward Anton Grady who averaged 14 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season. He also averaged 23.5 points and 12.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in Cleveland State’s two CIT Tournament games. Production like that will keep the Wichita State train rolling along.
Two years ago Connecticut was the center of the basketball universe, claiming both the men’s and women’s national titles. Last season the men lost in the 1st round of the NIT. Ryan Boatright is gone, but they do return their next six top scorers. Heading the freshmen class is guard Jalen Adams. He should get plenty of run in the backcourt with Sterling Gibbs, a senior transfer from Seton Hall. Gibbs is a flashy scorer and playmaker who averaged over 16 points and nearly four assists for the Pirates last season. His offensive abilities should help the offensively challenged Huskies who averaged just 64 points per game last season.
This season the immediate impact transfers will make will be clear. Some of the most prominent programs in the country will be relying on them to be integral parts of their success in 2015-16.