Rob Dauster

Kentucky head coach John Calipari asks for a call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Brad Calipari officially added to Kentucky roster

2 Comments

Kentucky officially added Brad Calipari, the son of head coach John Calipari, to their roster this week. He’s enrolled in summer school and will be playing with the team in the fall.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this special group of guys coming in,” Brad Calipari said, according the UK’s news release. “It’s truly an honor to finally be with the Big Blue Nation. I’m very lucky to have this opportunity and won’t put it to waste.”

It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be a walk-on or on scholarship, but Brad, who is a 6-foot point guard, is not exactly expected to be the next one-and-done point guard under Coach Cal. He’s not a bum, either, as he played in the EYBL and averaged 15.3 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 47 percent from three at the MacDuffie School in Massachussetts as a senior.

Here’s what Coach Cal tweeted about his son joining the program:

Gilmore transfers from Virginia Commonwealth to Miami

Jim Larranaga
(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Leave a comment

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Forward Michael Gilmore has transferred from Virginia Commonwealth to the University of Miami and will be eligible for two seasons beginning in 2017-18.

The 6-foot-9 Gilmore is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, who played at Rickards High School in Tallahassee.

Gilmore put up career-high numbers in his final game for VCU, with 12 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes against Oklahoma in the 2016 NCAA tournament. He played in 30 games as a sophomore and averaged 3.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 11.5 minutes.

Gilmore is the nephew of former Jacksonville University star Artis Gilmore.

The Big South has become the epicenter of the ‘transfer epidemic’

UNC Asheville coach Nick McDevitt talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Leave a comment

I’ve never really bought into the idea of the “transfer epidemic” being, you know, an epidemic.

There have already been over 600 transfers this offseason, and the heavy majority of the names on that list fall into at least one of the following three categories: 1) Players transferring down a level because they’re not good enough, 2) Players transferring up a level to get a shot at the “big time”, or 3) 1) Kids that you never have and never will again hear of.

And that’s to say nothing of the fact that the rate of college basketball players transferring is about equal to the rate of normal college students transferring.

No one really complains about a kid at the end of the bench of a Big Ten program transferring to the MAC or the Summit League once he realizes he’s never going to get any shine playing against the big boys, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of the respective teams that gives a damn about Hayes Gerrity transferring from Utah Valley to Idaho State or Denzel Dulin going from Bethune-Cookman to Alcorn State.

The biggest issue people seem to have is with the up-transfers, players that go to a low- or mid-major program, star at some point during their career and then transfer to a team in a power conference.

It’s great for the players. Every single player at the Division I level thinks — or, at the very least, wants a chance to prove that — they are good enough to play for and against the best players in the sport, and if they create an opportunity to make that happen, who am I to tell them it’s a bad thing? Just because Louisville blew their evaluation on Dwayne Sutton when he was playing high school ball in the city doesn’t mean that the kid shouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to transfer into the Cardinal program that a monster freshman season at UNC Asheville created.

Hell, I’m a proponent of totally doing away with mandatory redshirt years for transfers. If these kids are truly “student”-athletes and unpaid amateurs, I just can’t support the idea that punishing them for changing schools is a good thing. I’m the wrong guy to come to if you’re looking for someone to rail against social media culture or transfer epidemics.

That said, I absolutely get the frustration for the little guys.

Take UNC Asheville, for example.

Bulldogs head coach Nick McDevitt is better at his job than you are at yours. Prior to last season, he identified Sutton and Dylan Smith as potential impact players, recruited them into his program, invested a scholarship in them and helped coach them up to the point that both averaged double-figures as UNCA advanced to the NCAA tournament.

They then transferred to Louisville and Arizona, respectively. The year before, Andrew Rowsey, who averaged 20 points as a sophomore, transferred to Marquette, following in the footsteps of Keith Hornsby, who left for LSU two years earlier.

In total, the Big South, the league UNCA plays in, lost four players to high-major programs and six potential all-league players to transfer this offseason.

Do you realize how difficult it is to grow a program when doing your job well means you lose your best players?

“The topic of transfers probably took as much time, if not more, than any other singular topic we discussed,” Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander told the Fayetteville Observer on Monday after the league meetings. “That was basketball coaches, athletics directors and the presidents. It’s a real concern on our part and has been for some time – not just because we’ve been impacted pretty heavily this year.”

“It’s a really difficult subject. We’re trying to seek answers to a topic that’s really challenging because we support the ability for student-athletes to have choice.”

There’s no easy answer here.

The players are looking for their best opportunity, and for the most part, that’s going to be at a bigger school. With all due respect to the Asheville program, Smith’s going to have a better chance to turn himself into a professional basketball player at Arizona than he will at UNCA, and he’ll be do it while spending four years on scholarship in Tucson, playing in front of 14,000 at the McKale Center.

This is no different than any other profession, either. I walked away from freelance jobs and running my own website when NBC offered me a full-time gig. Lawyers leave law firms when a better job comes along. Free agents leave small market teams in every sport. If Louisville or Arizona offered McDevitt their head coaching gig he’d be stupid to turn it down regardless of how loyal he feels towards his alma mater and the players he brought into the program. This isn’t any different than Jim Boeheim getting burned when the likes of Malachi Richardson or Tyler Ennis get too good too quickly and bounce to the NBA.

Where are the people caping up for Jimbo?

I feel for McDevitt. I feel for the rest of the low- and mid-major coaches that did their job so well they sent their best players to a better program.

But don’t be the guy that’s out here telling people it’s a bad thing that a kid from Mobile, Alabama, who picked UNCA over UT-Pan American — which isn’t even called UT-Pan American anymore — coming out of high school is getting a chance to play for a top ten program with arguably the best young coach in the sport.

Because you look foolish when you do.

PHOTO: President Obama writes letter to former Villanova coach

Villanova head coach Jay Wright celebrates as he cuts down the net after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
1 Comment

Rollie Massimino was on hand to see Villanova cut down the nets in April, but the former Wildcat head coach was not in Washington D.C. when the team got a chance to visit the White House and President Barack Obama.

Massimino, who coached Nova to the 1985 national title and is an absolutely beloved figure in the city of Philadelphia, was in Houston for the national title game but did not make it to Villanova’s win over Oklahoma due to health issues; he was reportedly dealing with kidney stones, a blood clot and his wife’s health as well.

President Obama, who is quite proud of the fact that he is a basketball junkie, penned a letter to the legend, which was shared by current Villanova head coach Jay Wright on Monday night:

Report: Arizona recruit considering spending one-and-done year overseas

Terrance Ferguson (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
Leave a comment

A report came out today that Arizona commit Terrence Ferguson, a top 15 prospect from Texas, is expected to spend his one-and-done season overseas.

There are also rumors that Ferguson could end up signing a sponsorship deal with Under Armour and find himself playing his one season of pro ball before entering the NBA Draft in Australia.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Because the topic here is that, for the third time, an elite high school basketball prospect is heading to the professional ranks instead of playing college basketball. Brandon Jennings, who was then the No. 1 recruit in the country and, coincidentally, an Arizona commit, spent a year playing professionally in Italy while Mudiay did his American hoops sabbatical in China. Jennings went on to become a lottery pick, make a lot of money from Under Armour, sign a big contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and, eventually, fade back into basketball obscurity; he’s 26 years old and started a total of seven games for the Pistons and the Magic last season.

Mudiay is also doing well for himself. He was the seventh pick in the draft after an uninspiring season in China, but bounced back to averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists as a rookie.

Put it all together, and this has the makings of a trend, doesn’t it?

There’s another trend here as well. Jennings and Mudiay both made the decision to head overseas while facing questions about their college eligibility. Jennings had his standardized test scores flagged. Mudiay went to Prime Prep Academy, a “high school” that didn’t exactly pass the smell test. What’s more, Ferguson’s high school — Advanced Preparatory Insititute — is essentially the remnants of Prime Prep, and the rumor that Ferguson would never get cleared to play in college has been around ever since he opted not to transfer out of that program.

Then throw in the fact that Arizona accepted Ferguson’s commitment despite their glut of talented wings — Rawle Alkins (who is facing his own eligibility question marks), Ray Smith, Allonzo Trier, Kobi Simmons — and the pieces start falling into place.

Assuming Meyer’s report is correct, Ferguson isn’t making a mad-dash to capitalize monetarily on his basketball ability.

He’s being forced to the second-best option for a high school basketball star because there’s a very real chance that the NCAA won’t allow him to participate in the best option: Being a one-and-done superstar in college.

That’s the trend here.

Elite American basketball prospects have a better option than sitting out as partial qualifiers.

It’s nothing more than that.

Texas lands grad transfer from Arkansas-Little Rock

Texas head coach Shaka Smart calls a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
2 Comments

Texas added another piece to their roster for the 2016-17 season as the program announced that Mariek Isom will enroll for his graduate transfer season.

Isom is a 6-foot-9, 215 pound forward that went to high school in Austin.

“We’re very pleased to add Mo to our basketball program,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “He is a high-character person who understands what goes into winning and will add significant outside shooting ability to our team.”

Isom shot 39.6 percent from beyond the arc as a junior with Arkansas-Little Rock. He averaged 5.9 points in 19 minute for the Trojans, who beat Purdue in the NCAA tournament this past season. Isom’s ability to shoot as a front court player will be valuable considering how good Connor Lammert, who has since graduated, was for the Longhorns this past season.

Texas also landed five-star, in-state recruits Jarrett Allen and Andrew Jones as well as James Banks and Jacob Young. Tulane transfer Dylan Osetkowski is also joining the program.