Vermont landed a commitment from Alabama grad transfer Daniel Giddens, a source told NBC Sports, in what could end up being one of the more influential transfers of the 2019-20 season.
I say that because Giddens fills the one need that an already-very good Vermont team had: A big body to pair inside with Anthony Lamb.
Giddens is a former top 50 prospect that has spent the last four years underwhelming at Ohio State and Alabama. He averaged 4.2 points as a sophomore. He averaged 1.5 blocks as a freshman. He was just OK, but that was at the SEC and Big Ten level, where everyone was the same size as him. Now, he will be playing in the America East, where 6-foot-11, 247 pound posts don’t show up all that often.
Now, I’m not saying he’s going to walk in the door and be the America East Player of the Year. Hell, I’m not sure he’ll even end up being one of UVM’s three best players this season — like I said, they were going to be one of the very best mid-majors in college hoops without Giddens. But what he does is allow them to matchup with the size of the high-major opponents they play this year, and that is really, really important for two reasons: It will help Vermont in the NCAA tournament, where this group could end up getting overpowered by bigger teams, but, perhaps more importantly, it will allow UVM to have a better shot at picking off some of the high major programs they face in the non-conference. Landing a couple of wins over big names — they play the likes of Virginia, St. John’s, George Washington and St. Bonaventure — could end up being the difference between locking up an at-large bid as a mid-major and finding themselves as a high seed in the NIT after losing in the America East tournament.
Like I said, this addition will matter quite a bit, even if it is a bit off of the national radar.