Barry Hinson

A transfer ‘epidemic’ in college basketball? Not exactly.


With 450 players switching schools this offseason, the word “epidemic” has been thrown around in some circles. And it’s safe to say that college basketball coaches aren’t too thrilled with the increased number of transfers.

In a story by Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, Southern Illinois head coach Barry Hinson expressed his concern over high-major programs “poaching” the mid-major ranks for players capable of filling a void.

Players had begun to be recruited off their own campuses and were landing at more prestigious programs. And Hinson wanted NCAA officials to be aware. The practice, Hinson says, is one of the reasons for a record number of transfers over the previous two offseasons, and he’s not shy about using a one-word term for the trend.

“Poaching,” Hinson says.

“It’s already a mess,” he adds. “It’s just getting ready to be really bad for programs at the mid-major level.”

Also in the story expressing their concern over the number of transfers in college basketball were Kansas head coach Bill Self and Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber.

The current state of transfers in college basketball is a bit overblown, especially when considering the fact that according to a report from The Chronicle of Higher Education in February 2012 that one in three college students transfer before completing their college degree.

In college basketball, just over one player per team has announced his intentions to move from one program to another this offseason. And it should also be noted that some programs have multiple transfers thanks in large part to coaching changes.

The issue that should truly be of concern is the prospect of programs poaching players from another school. If there are cases of schools tampering with a player, then something should be done by the NCAA.

“If you think for one moment,” says Hinson, who worked on Self’s staff at KU from 2008 to 2012, “that there aren’t staff meetings (at major college programs) taking place in March and April that are bringing up, ‘Who are the best mid-major players out there and do they have the opportunity to graduate in three years?’ Then we are making ourselves look ignorant. That’s happening right now, a lot of places. And if you think for one moment that kids haven’t figured this out, it’s getting ready to be an issue for our level.”

Even with coaches lamenting the current climate, more than a few take advantage of the system and that will continue to be the case. And until there’s change in that regard, it’s a bit silly to use the word “epidemic” when discussing this era of transfers.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?