College Hoops Previews: 2012-2013’s Impact Transfers

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Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.

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

While the sheer volume of this season’s transfer class may not indicate that we have a transferring epidemic on our hands, based on my rigorously scientific opinions, there is an incredible number of impact transfers at nationally relevant programs.

The evidence?

This list.

Here are the 15 programs that will see the biggest impact from incoming transfers, which is precisely half of the list of 30 programs that will be using a player in a significant role that began their career at a different Division I program. Of the 30 programs listed, 13 of them have more than one relevant transfer. Two of them have four incoming transfers.

(* = eligible in December):

Mark Lyons, Arizona: The importance of Lyons to the Wildcats has been widely written about. The Xavier transfer, who is eligible immediately under the graduate transfer rule, fills a gaping void at the point guard spot left by Josiah Turner’s departure. But is Lyons the facilitator that a talented Arizona team needs?

Alex Oriakhi, Jabari Brown*, Earnest Ross and Keion Bell, Missouri: Half of Missouri’s rotation will be transfers. Bell and Brown, when he’s eligible, will provide perimeter scoring and Ross will be a versatile forward off the bench. Oriakhi’s defensive presence, if he returns to his 2011 form, will be the key addition, however.

Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays, Kentucky: Kentucky didn’t have a point guard in their 2012 recruiting class, which was planned. Coach Cal brought in Harrow, a former top 40 recruit that started at NC State as a freshman, to fill that role. Mays may not see much court time.

Trent Lockett, Marquette: Lockett was a big-time scorer in his three seasons at Arizona State, and he’ll be eligible immediately at Marquette due to an illness in the family. Lockett’s a perfect fit for a Buzz Williams coached team: a big, athletic wing that can score in multiple ways.

Rotnei Clarke, Butler: Butler was one of the best defensive teams in the country a season ago, and should be again this year. What they were missing last season was perimeter shooting. And Clarke is the best shooter in the country, no “arguably” needed. His role is even more important with Chrishawn Hopkins’ departure.

Luke Hancock, Louisville: Hancock, when healthy, is a talented playmaker on the wing. The problem is that Hancock has had a myriad of shoulder issues that may limit his health and his preparedness for the season. At 100%, he’s a valuable weapon for the Cardinals.

James Johnson*, JJ O’Brien and Dwayne Polee, San Diego State: The Aztecs are loaded on the perimeter, but what they were missing last season was an interior presence. O’Brien and Polee are both technically front court players, but are better suited for the wing than the paint. Johnson, however, will provide some interior size when he gets eligible.

Khem Birch* and Bryce Jones, UNLV: Jones is an important addition for the Runnin’ Rebels because of his ability on the wing. UNLV doesn’t have an overload of talent on the wing. They do up front, however, and Birch is as talented as anyone. The former top ten recruit gives Dave Rice as much talent up front as anyone in the country.

Larry Drew, UCLA: It’s been almost two years since Drew played in a game, but he’ll join UCLA as the starting point guard on a team many think can be a Final Four contender.

Aaric Murray, Matt Humphrey and Juwan Staten, West Virginia: There’s a very real chance that all three of these guys start for the Mountaineers. Staten and Humphrey will be impact additions, but Murray, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 boards at La Salle as a sophomore, is a difference maker if he stays focused.

Trey Zeigler, Pitt: The Panthers caught a break when Zeigler was given immediate eligibility by the NCAA, because he is a talented off-guard that will fit nicely alongside Tray Woodall in the back court. He was a top 75 recruit in high school.

Will Clyburn and Korie Lucious, Iowa State: The Cyclones are once again building their team around an influx of transfers. Lucious was a starter at Michigan State before getting into off-the-court trouble, while Clyburn once averaged 17.1 points and 7.8 boards for Utah.

Wally Judge, Rutgers: Judge has all kinds of potential — there’s a reason the athletic, 6-foot-10 forward was a McDonald’s all-american — but was never able to play his way into Frank Martin’s good graces.

Keala King*, Edgar Garibay*, Dan Jennings and Tony Freeland*, Long Beach State: Part of the reason that LBSU is once again considered one of the best mid-majors in the country despite their losses is who they added this year. Jennings began his career at West Virginia and should help immediately, but the mid-year additions of King (a former top 25 recruit) and Freeland (a DePaul transfer) should be significant.

Eric Wise and JT Terrell, USC: It’s tough to know the immediate impact of Wise and Terrell given how much USC gets back from injuries this year. But the bottom line is that both will play a lot of important minutes, and Terrell has a chance to be a breakout player on the wing.

And here are 15 more schools who will see a major role filled for them by transfers:

  • Colton Iverson and Daniel Bejarano, Colorado State: The Rams bring back a lot of talent from last year’s tournament team, so while the impact may not be enormous, adding two players — from Minnesota and Arizona, respectively — of this caliber to a rotation can only be beneficial for Larry Eustachy.
  • Desmar Jackson, Southern Illinois: Jackson is a 6-foot-5 wing that averaged 14.6 points and 2.0 steals as a sophomore at Wyoming.
  • Malcolm Armstead, Wichita State: The Shockers graduate quite a bit of back court talent, but Armstead — who averaged more than four assists in two years at Oregon — will help offset that.
  • Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame: The Michigan State transfer will help provide Notre Dame with front court depth behind Jack Cooley.
  • Jared Swopshire and Nikola Cerina, Northwestern: Swopshire’s health is the key here. He was an important piece for Louisville has a sophomore before suffering a brutal groin injury.
  • Amath M’Baye, Oklahoma: As a sophomore at Wyoming, M’Baye averaged 12.0 points. He’ll give Lon Kruger some front court depth.
  • Brian Oliver, Gene Teague and Kyle Smith, Seton Hall: Oliver, who averaged double-figures at Georgia Tech, is the biggest name of this group, but Smith and Teague will play a role for the Pirates, who lost quite a bit to graduation.
  • Taran Buie and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Hofstra: The Pride were expected to improve this year based on the play of these two, but an early-season suspension isn’t a good sign.
  • Jerelle Benimon, Bilal Dixon and Mike Burwell, Towson: These three, and a talented incoming recruiting class, are the reason Towson is expected to be competitive after winning one game all of last season.
  • Sidiki Johnson*, Providence: Johnson was a top 100 recruit when he went to Arizona, but didn’t even last a semester there. His size will be valuable for the Friars.
  • RJ Evans, UConn: The Huskies will have quite a bit of perimeter talent next season, but Evans will have a role off the bench.
  • Evan Gordon, Arizona State: The younger brother of Eric Gordon was a big-time scorer at Liberty, but can he have the same kind of impact in the Pac-12?
  • Isaiah Philmore, Xavier: Philmore was a big-time producer at Towson, and he’ll be asked to play the same role for a depleted Xavier squad next season.
  • Devonta Abron, TCU: Abron was an impact freshman at Arkansas last year, averaging 5.7 points and 4.2 boards in 22 starts.
  • DeShawn Painter, Old Dominion: Painter was a key piece for NC State last year, but due to familial issues, he needed to transfer closer to home. He’s the perfect big man for Blaine Taylor’s club.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.