The summer months are not time to sleep for college basketball coaches, assistants and players. While it may seem the summer is lacking action, it’s the time when rosters get built and real programs rally. Recruitment of high school and transfer players hits an all-time high due to an influx of AAU showcases and never-ending road trips for coaches.
And, for some transfers who’ve exceeded expectations at their first destination, the summer can feel like Christmas. Players like South Dakota’s Matt Mooney and Albany’s Joe Cremo get a chance to renew themselves, this time, playing for Texas Tech and Villanova, respectively. Nevertheless, this period of time can also be especially tough for mid-major coaches, who are left with depleted rosters and little time to problem solve.
Let’s take a look at the programs that have and haven’t made the most of the transfer market.
When one of the top three teams in your league announces it’s moving to Division II, it’s never a good pitch for prospective transfers. Savannah State announced its departure from Division I this past December; this season marks their last in the MEAC. To make matters worse, the Tigers are losing nine (!) players.
Morgan State will also be losing four players, while North Carolina AT&T, Maryland Eastern Shore Shore and Norfolk State will be without three each.
Winner: Missouri State
Dana Ford has already shown tremendous promise with his turnaround at Missouri State. Ford has added proven D-1 talent in South Florida’s Tulio Da Silva (8 ppg and 5.6 rpg), and Nevada’s Josh Hall, (6.9 ppg and 3.9 rpg). Other transfers include Xavier transfer and former Missouri Mr. Basketball, Jared Ridder, and JUCO star Joshua Webster. Although none of these players will be eligible next season, Ford has already made the most of his first offseason.
The Great Danes lost a talented dynamic duo to two high-power teams in Joe Cremo (Villanova) and David Nichols (Florida State). They averaged 17.8 and 14.6 points and four rebounds per game respectively, and both will be immediately eligible as grad transfers. These moves have to be a bit discouraging for Will Brown — who had an ability to make a March Madness run — but instead finished fourth in the American East with Cremo and Nichols on the roster.
However, the Great Danes will have five newcomers on the roster — JuCo transfers and former Massachusetts guard Rayshawn Miller eligible this season — who will try to fill the void left by Creamo and Nichols.
Winner: In Muss We Trust
Nevada is the best program for transfers and I will not hear otherwise. The Wolfpack will have nine transfers on the roster next season, led by the Martin brothers and Jordan Caroline. Musselman didn’t stop there. He will have five new transfers eligible next season in Jazz Johnson (Portland), Tre’Shawn Thurman (Omaha), Corey Henson (Wagner), Nisre Zouzoua (Bryant), Trey Porter (Old Dominion) and all averaged over 13 points per game in their last collegiate season.
Scott Pera’s first season with the Owls wasn’t one to remember. After ending the season with a 7-24 record, Pera’s squad is losing transfers to Creighton, Florida State, Wake Forest and Oklahoma State.
Winners: South Alabama and Nicholls State
South Alabama hired Nicholls State’s Richie Riley this offseason and tasked with revamping quick, Nicholls State opted for an internal choice by promoting Austin Clanch.
Funny enough, both teams may have made strong choices solely on how they’ve fared with transfers. South Alabama pulled Don Coleman (Cal), TaShombe Riley (South Carolina State), Andre Fox (High Point) and a rare international grad transfer in Abdurlrhman Saad to their program. All three of the NCAA transfers averaged more than 11 points per game; it’s especially promising that Riley snagged Coleman who had a nice niche for himself in Berkeley.
Nicholls State, on the other hand, added not one, not two, but seven (!) transfers this offseason. Four of them averaged scoring in the double-digits last year, making it clear both of these schools are finding quality playmakers in the transfer market.