Rodney Hood, Raphiael Putney, Sean Carter

20 Impact Transfers in College Hoops for 2013-2014

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All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of our preview lists,click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

1. Rodney Hood, Duke (via Mississippi State): Jabari Parker isn’t the only Duke forward that being considered an All-American candidate this preseason. After sitting out last season, Hood joins Parker and Rasheed Sulaimon to give Duke one of the best perimeters in the country. The 6-foot-8 Hood suffered an Achilles injury this summer, but has completely recovered. He averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a freshman at Mississippi State.

2. T.J. McConnell, Arizona (via Duquesne): There has been buzz around newcomer Aaron Gordon, and rightfully so. But those in Tucson should be excited for T.J. McConnell’s debut in a Cats uniform. McConnell is a true point guard Arizona needs, and Sean Miller has given the junior one of the best front courts to create for. McConnell averaged 11.4 points and 5.5 assists in his final season at Duquesne in 2011-2012. The pass-first point guard is also a pest defensively (2.8 spg) and may be the best deep threat on the Wildcats.

3. Michael Dixon, Memphis (via Missouri): He had to wait it out, but Michael Dixon got cleared to play this season at Memphis in last month. Dixon was named Big 12 All-Defensive team in 2012 and also averaged 13.5 points and 3.3 assists for a 30-win Mizzou team. He gives Memphis one of the nation’s best back courts, and his addition allows Josh Pastner to go with a four-guard set against opposing defenses this season.

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4. Mike Moser, Oregon (via UNLV): Dana Altman has benefited from one-year transfers before and that’s what he’s hoping for with Moser, who left Las Vegas for Eugene for his final season of eligibility. He averaged averaged 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds a game two seasons ago with the Rebels. He decided not to jump to the NBA, but injuries and an overcrowded front count caused his numbers to dip this past season. A healthy Moser should thrive with the Ducks.

5.  Jordan Clarkson, Missouri (via Tulsa): Jordan Clarkson is making the move to the SEC from Conference USA where he averaged 16.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists points per game in 2011-2012. The 6-foot-5 Clarkson will be the lead guard this year, playing both point and off-the-ball, since Phil Pressey declared for the NBA draft.

6. Josh Davis, San Diego State (via Tulane):  Josh Davis will be eligible immediately after graduating from Tulane. The athletic forward, who averaged 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds last season, will help make up for the loss of Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley, the Aztec’s top two scorers a season ago.

7. DeAndre Kane, Iowa State (via Marshall): Iowa State lost its top guards to graduation, and last month Bubu Palo who was dismissed from the team. Once again Fred Hoiberg went to the transfer wire, this time landing DeAndre Kane, a 6-foot-4 lead guard that averaged 7.1 assists per game last season to go along with his career average of 15.6 points per game in three seasons at Marshall. He’ll join a team that brings back forwards Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang but was sorely lacking in back court playmakers.

8. Josh Smith, Georgetown (via UCLA): John Thompson III lost Otto Porter to the NBA and, in all likelihood, Greg Whittington for the season with a torn ACL. Ex-UCLA big man Josh Smith will be eligible for the second semester if he doesn’t get a waiver to play immediately. JT3 knows that Smith has the ability to be an all-league player, but his impact for the Hoyas depends on his conditioning.

9. Michael Gbinije, Syracuse (via Duke): Gbinije transferred out of an ACC program and into a Big East school, now in its first season of ACC play. The Orange are without Brandon Triche or Michael Carter-Williams, meaning their back court is made up of freshmen Tyler Ennis and Ron Patterson and sophomore Trevor Cooney, who is coming off a disappointing season. At 6-foot-6 Gbinije will be solid on top of the 2-3 zone, can add depth to the small forward position, and has even worked on his point guard game during his redshirt season.

10. Tarik Black, Kansas (via Memphis): Tarik Black didn’t average more than five rebounds per game in his last two seasons at Memphis, but his role at Kansas will be important. It’s a young team headlined by Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, and Joel Embiid. He’ll be valuable as a physical, veteran low-post presence.

source: Getty Images
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10 more guys that should be in for a big season

Antonio Barton, Tennessee (via Memphis): Barton filled a void for the Vols at the point when Trae Golden transferred. His shooting and defense gives the Vols even better chances of getting back to the NCAA tournament.

Gerard Coleman, Gonzaga (via Providence): Coleman averaged 13.2 points and five rebounds a game at Providence in 2011-2012. Will fit in nicely alongside Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell.

Alex Dragicevich, Boston College (via Notre Dame): Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan have reason for hope in Chesnut Hill. Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich can add more long-range shooting for Steve Donahue’s team.

Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida (via Virginia Tech): Chris Walker isn’t enrolling this semester, and Will Yeguete is still recovering from a knee injury. Finney-Smith, along with fellow transfer Damontre Harris, are that much more important for front court depth alongside Patric Young.

Derrick Gordon, UMass (via Western Kentucky): The Minutemen have a good shot at the NCAA tournament this season, and Derrick Gordon has that postseason experience after his freshmen year at Western Kentucky. He and Chaz Williams can help UMass hang with the top teams in the Atlantic 10.

Lasan Kromah, UConn (via George Washington): Kromah averaged 10.1 points last season and only improves the UConn back court of Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun.

Jermaine Marshall, Arizona State (via Penn State): Adding Jermaine Marshall from Penn State helps negate from the loss of Evan Gordon. He averaged 15.3 points per game last season.

Four McGlynn, Towson (via Vermont): The Tigers will contend in the CAA, and add Vermont transfer, who averaged 12.0 points in his lone season with the Catamounts.

Rayvonte Rice, Illinois (via Drake): The Illini lose Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson from last season, but Rayvonte Rice, who averaged 16.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and almost two steals per game in 2011-2012, should help fill the void.

Matt Stainbrook, Xavier (via Western Michigan): The former Western Michigan big man is reportedly an inch taller and down 40 pounds since last playing during the 2011-2012 season, where he averaged 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.