Eli Carter, Kyle Smyth

Eli Carter, Joseph Young highlight list of six transfers waiting on a waiver

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Transfer rules are one of the most hotly debated topics in college basketball during the offseason.

Should players be forced to sit out a season if they want to change schools? Should the rule be disbanded, allowing everyone to be eligible immediately if they do decide to leave school? Should there be waivers in place to allow certain athletes to chance to be eligible immediately if a certain set of criteria are met? Does it make sense for the NCAA to evaluate hardship? Are graduate transfers really fair?

It’s been discussed so much that I’ve reached the point that I’m sick of the conversation. Nothing makes a college hoops scribe yearn for the season to begin more than listening to repeated arguments about amateurism and rule changes.

The debates, however, have allowed us to overlook the fact that there are still a handful of big name transfers waiting on waiver rulings:

Eli Carter, Florida: Carter left Rutgers this offseason after the Mike Rice scandal erupted in April. The 6-foot-2 lead guard is expected to get a waiver that will allow him to play immediate for Billy Donovan’s club, which would help the Gators with their back court depth, especially if Scottie Wilbekin’s suspension lasts into the season.

Trae Golden, Georgia Tech: Golden abruptly left Tennessee in May, opting to transfer to Georgia Tech where he is trying to obtain a waiver to play immediately due to the health of his father. The Yellow Jackets have some perimeter talent and front court size returning, and Golden could be the piece that turns Georgia Tech into a team with a shot at making the NCAA tournament.

Royce O’Neale, Baylor: O’Neale left Denver this spring after playing his sophomore season to transfer back to his native Texas. The Killeen, TX, native has a sick grandfather; Killeen is about a hour from Waco. O’Neale is a talented wing that averaged 11.2 points in a slowed-down system at Denver. He’s not a difference-maker, but he’d be a nice piece for Scott Drew on the wing.

Angel Rodriguez, Miami: Rodriguez left Kansas State a year later than most expected, heading home to be closer to his family. Rodriguez may benefit from sitting out the 2013-2014, as the Hurricanes lost everyone from last year’s ACC champs.

Ahmad Starks, Illinois: Starks, a Chicago native, transferred out of Oregon State to head closer to home to be with his Grandmother, who is reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s. Illinois has a number of talented back court pieces on the roster, but a lot of them are young. Starks would bring some experienced depth to Jon Groce’s club.

Joseph Young, Oregon: Young is the most interesting transfer case on this list. He left Houston this spring as his father was reassigned to a position in the athletic department outside the basketball program. Young has two seasons of eligibility remaining but only two years to use them thanks to a forced-redshirt season as a freshman. He originally signed with Providence but backed-out of his NLI after his dad was rehired by the Cougars. He was forced to sit a season, but didn’t use a year of eligibility. If he doesn’t get the waiver, 2014-2015 will be his last season in college basketball. If he does, he will be another weapon in a talented Oregon backcourt. Young averaged 18.0 points as a sophomore.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.