There are those that will tell you college basketball has a transfer problem, that too many players transfer too quickly after expecting to start from the moment they set foot on campus.
The thinking is that due to the deification of high school stars and the immediate success of talents like Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis, the kids no longer want to wait their turn. They feel they deserve to be given a spot in the starting lineup up and a spot in the rotation from day one. They believe that, as freshmen, they should be getting 15 shots a game and leading the team in scoring.
While my personal issues with transfers have much more to due with the way the process is handled than with the reasons for players making a move, there is some validity to that argument.
Enter Reggie Smith.
A former top 150 recruit out of Chicago, Smith decided to enroll at Marquette as a freshman. But after just eight games — five of which he started — Smith decided to leave. Why? “Because he wasn’t getting to play as much.”
Smith ended up enrolling at UNLV in January of 2011, meaning that he became eligible with 20 games left in the 2011-2012 season. Smith played in all 20 of those games, but averaged just 6.1 minutes and 2.5 points as he was stuck behind the likes of Oscar Bellfield, Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins. It seems like that just wouldn’t do, either, so Smith is once again on the move.
“I enjoyed my time at UNLV,” Smith said. “However, my grandmother is really sick and I have decided to find a school closer to home so I can be near her and my family.”
There are some underlying issues here. Smith has a sickness in the family and he’s a long way from his Chicago home. That’s a tough thing for a college kid — athlete or not — to deal with. But I’m sure that UNLV’s scholarship crunch (they now have two open, one of which appears to be earmarked for UConn transfer Roscoe Smith) and the fact that Dave Rice blatantly recruited over Reggie (Katin Reinhardt, anyone?) didn’t help matters.
The good news?
If Smith wants to play in Illinois, there are plenty of programs that could use a former top 150 recruit.