Josh Crittle (center) will be out of the shadow of Memphis in his new home, reportedly UIC. But will he cast a big shadow of his own for the Flames?
Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan weren't the only two Central Florida players with a "get out of jail free" card from the postseason ban that is facing the Knights this coming year. Senior forward Josh Crittle is also being allowed to transfer without sitting out a season.
According to Jeff Goodman at CBS, Crittle appears to be heading to the Horizon League to play for UIC, a youth heavy team that could desperately use some senior leadership.
The question is whether Crittle is poised to provide that leadership, being new to the program himself, and with the skills he is able to bring to the Flames.Let's start with Crittle's skills last year. As a junior, he started 25 games, and averaged 17.7 minutes for the Knights. But the production didn't quite match the faith placed in him as a starter.
He scored less than five points per game, and pulled in less than three rebounds. Meanwhile, in those 17 minutes, he was averaging almost three fouls per game, while not exactly contributing much in the way of defense.
And when I say not much, I mean that according to our HOOPWAR formula, Crittle was a downright liability for the Knights when he was on the floor. He had a negative DEF100 score of -4.55. That means for every 100 minutes that he played, he actually cost his team four points.
This is supported further if you look down the game-by-game plus/minus numbers for Crittle. It appears he was capable of big things, but the sparks came infrequently. And when he had a clunker of a game, it was truly noticeable.
His overall value was therefore hurt, coming in at a -2.48 HW30 for the Knights. Suffice to say, this makes it easy to see why he wasn't the "high-profile" talent being courted when the ruling against UCF came down.
As he moves to UIC, he will most likely be picking up a good number of minutes for the Flames, who lost several of their big-minute big men to graduation. That means Crittle will have quite a bit of pressure put on his shoulders right away, surrounding by a wealth of young talent as UIC continues to rebuild.
Moving to the Horizon League should help Crittle's game, as he will face some easier competition, but it will be no cakewalk for the senior. He won't have a Clanton that can take most of the focus away from him inside. The best returing player is Gary Talton, who managed just a 1.55 HW30 for the team. Crittle will have to be one of the main options for the Flames.
It won't be easy, making it an odd landing spot for Crittle, especially so given that Clanton decided to stay put at UCFand should keep the Knights about on par with their performance last season. Chances are this move is just a small mark on the grand landscape of college basketball, without a lot of impact potential in the long run.