Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hey, Don't Forget These Guys

Division-1 transfers. The forgotten ones. Transfers are often overlooked when analyzing a team's prospects for the upcoming season. Everyone notices the new freshman recruits, but some people fail to remember about the transfers that had to sit out a season. However, prior to last season and the early-entry rule, transfers often had more of an immediate impact than freshmen as a result of the experience that they have.

Just look at last season. Andrew Lavender was a key factor in Xavier’s NCAA Tournament appearance last year. Don’t forget that he started at Oklahoma, though. What about Mike Cook? The starter for Pittsburgh’s Sweet Sixteen team originally came from East Carolina. The list goes on. Justin Hawkins, one of the best players in the WAC, transferred from Utah. Arkansas might not have made a late run to the NCAA Tournament if not for Mississippi State transfer Gary Ervin. Don't forget about Gerald Brown of Loyola (Md.), either. The Providence transfer ranked 8th in the country in scoring last season. Massachusetts needed a big season from Gary Forbes to share the Atlantic-10 title. Jack McClinton was one of the best scorers in the ACC, but was previously filling up buckets for Siena. Antonio Kellogg did the same thing for San Francisco, but originally went to Connecticut. Patrick Ewing, Jr. (via Indiana) was a big reason Georgetown reached the Final Four. Dominic McGuire (California to Fresno State), Lawrence McKenzie (Oklahoma to Minnesota), Toney Douglas (Auburn to Florida State), and J.R. Giddens (Kansas to New Mexico) are a few other transfers who made key impacts last season.

This season, there will once again be an abundance of talented transfers ready to make people remember them.

Tyler Smith, Tennessee (from Iowa): This will be the transfer that has the biggest impact for a title contender. The Volunteers had a terrific perimeter last year, led by All-American Chris Lofton, and a couple of athletic frontcourt players, but Smith gives them a forward who can rebound and score in a variety of ways. He handles the ball well and is also a good passer. Smith has a nice mid-range jumper and is also solid inside. Arizona transfer J.P. Prince will help on the perimeter with his long wingspan and athleticism.

Robert Vaden (from Indiana); Walter Sharpe (from Mississippi State); Channing Toney (from Georgia), UAB: The Blazers are this year’s version of New Mexico State. NMSU had several D-I transfers help lead them to an NCAA Tournament appearance last year—and Mike Davis is banking on the same thing this season. Vaden followed Davis from Indiana, and will likely make the biggest impact of the trio. He can shoot the three with efficiency and can also score inside the arc. Sharpe was a good inside presence for Mississippi State, but only played six games for the Bulldogs. Toney is a decent scorer and an athletic wing who will help the Blazers on the perimeter.

Devan Downey (from Cincinnati); Zam Frederick (from Georgia Tech), South Carolina: Although the Gamecocks will struggle this season after losing three starters, their backcourt will be in good hands. Downey is a very quick point guard who can run an offense well, but also create his own shot if needed. Frederick is more of a scorer but played the point guard at Georgia Tech. He will play off-the-ball more this season with Downey at the point. Both guard will help ease the loss of All-SEC guard Tre Kelley.

C.J. Anderson, Xavier (from Manhattan): One of the top mid-major transfers in the country after the 2005-2006 season, Anderson will step immediately into the Musketeers’ lineup. He averaged almost 19 points per game at Manhattan two seasons ago, and will provide good scoring and solid rebounding from the forward position. He could be the wing scorer that Xavier needs to get to get a win in the NCAA Tournament.

Kojo Mensah (from Siena); Shawn James (from Northeastern), Duquesne: This could be the most underrated transfer duo in the country. Mensah, a 6-1 point guard from New York, was a very good all-around performer for Siena. He put up over 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals per game. If he can continue that type of production for the Dukes—but cut down on his turnovers and improve his shooting—it will be a big boost. James set an NCAA record at Northeastern by blocking 6.5 shots per game. He was an imposing presence inside who can score inside with efficiency and rebound very well.

DeMarre Carroll, Missouri (from Vanderbilt): The Tigers have a chance to be one of the more improved teams in the country this season, and Carroll is a big reason why. Coach Mike Anderson’s nephew, Carroll is exactly what Mizzou needs: a tough forward who will help the rebounding woes that they had last season. He is an athletic player who can score inside and around the basket.

Tim Morris, Washington (from Stanford): Coming off a disappointing season in which they didn’t even make the NIT, the Huskies return four starters, but will likely find room in the lineup for Morris. Coach Lorenzo Romar’s second cousin, Morris is the team’s best perimeter defender and was the second-leading scorer on the team’s trip to Greece this summer. He will also add leadership as one of only two seniors on the team.

Eric Boateng, Arizona State (from Duke): The Sun Devils return all five starters, but expect two newcomers to break into the line-up in five-star recruit James Harden and big man Boateng. The latter was a highly-regarded player out of high school, but never had a chance to showcase his skills in Durham. He is a very good shot-blocker and rebounder, and will team with Jeff Pendergraph to form one of the best inside duos in the league.

Jeff Xavier, Providence (from Manhattan): Another Manhattan transfer expected to make a major impact on his team. Xavier was a big-time scorer for the Jaspers, averaging almost 17 points and 6 rebounds per game as a 6-1 guard. He can score in a variety of ways, either driving to the basket or shooting from the perimeter. Furthermore, he is a terrific on-ball defender. For those who are not sure if he will produce the same at a higher level of play, just look at his 31-point performance against Maryland in the NIT two years ago.

C.J. Giles, Oregon State (from Kansas): Although the Beavers are not expected to be remotely good this year, Giles could transform OSU into a team that the top clubs can’t overlook every night out. He is a potential first-round—and possibly lottery—pick who was kicked off the Jayhawks for off-court problems. The 6-11 center is not eligible until December, but can be a force at both ends of the floor, especially in terms of blocked shots. Offensively, he can score inside and also step out and hit the mid-range jumper.

Abdulai Jalloh, James Madison (from St. Joseph’s): The Dukes have not had a winning season in eight seasons, but that could change this year if Jalloh makes the impact he is capable of. He was a good scorer at St. Joe’s, pouring in 15.5 points per game. He needs to cut down on his turnovers and some of the ill-advised shots he forced up two years ago, but he has the scoring ability to immediately turn JMU, who returns four starters, into a middle-of-the-pack team.

Here are some other transfers expected to make an immediate impact for their new teams:

Mike Williams, Cincinnati (from Texas): Will combine with John Williamson and fellow newcomers Adam Hrycaniuk and Anthony McClain in a big, talented frontcourt.

Josh Akognon, Cal State Fullerton (from Washington State):
Left WSU before the winning ways started, but will take his shooting and scoring to the Big West favorites.

Jamal Boykin, California (from Duke): The Golden Bears have a loaded frontcourt, but Boykin will provide depth to a team looking to make a move in the Pac-10.

Tasheed Carr, St. Joseph’s (from Iowa State): The Hawks have a chance to contend in the Atlantic-10, and Carr will provide nice balance to SJU’s very talented frontcourt.

Shawn Taggert, Memphis (from Iowa State): The Tigers are stocked at every position, but Taggert has athleticism and will back-up Joey Dorsey inside.

Maurice Acker, Marquette (from Ball State): The very quick Acker, despite being only 5-8, is a double-figure scorer and terrific ball-handler.

Bryan Harvey (from Louisville); Rekalin Sims (from Kentucky), Fresno State: This transfer duo from the Bluegrass State makes Fresno a contender in the WAC.

Torre Johnson, UW-Milwaukee (from Oklahoma State): Active sixth man for the Cowboys will put his off-court troubles aside and become a big scorer in the Horizon.

Brian Johnson, Mississippi State (from Louisville): The Bulldogs are primed to make a run in the SEC West, and Johnson provides good depth and strength inside.

Marques Johnson (from Tennessee); Farnold Degand (from Iowa State), North Carolina State: The Wolfpack need a point guard, and one of these two should step up and take the job.

Chad Millard, Creighton (from Louisville): Millard showed the ability to score under Rick Pitino, and will bring his versatile offensive game to a rebuilding Bluejays’ team.

Wnyton Witherspoon, George Washington (from Virginia Tech): Very athletic forward fits perfectly into GW’s fast-paced style, and will fight for a starting job right away.

Ryan Amoroso, San Diego State (from Marquette): Big body will help replace Mohamed Abukar, and could start immediately due to his size and versatile offensive game.

Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, Marshall (from Gonzaga): Former starter for the Zags will start immediately for a Thundering Herd team destined to make a move.

1 comment:

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