The NCAA is Developing a Free Agent Market… Potentially

Transfers May Not Have to be Sidelined Much Longer

Earlier this week, it was announced that the NCAA was making serious strides towards allowing transfers to be eligible to play for their new programs immediately. This is obviously still a rough idea that comes with many stipulations, but I, for  one, still love it. Let’s be honest, we are not exactly at a point in professional sports where team loyalty is at an all time high, especially for basketball. The move perfectly coincides with the nature of the game today, and whether you like it or not, it will give us more headlines and more stories to talk about.

This is a move that makes coaches across the country cringe, but the reality is that every player’s goal is to play at the highest level possible. For some it’s the NBA. Others are just trying to compete at the highest collegiate level they can before attempting an overseas career or leaving the game behind. In order to do so, transfers must happen sometimes.

NCAA athletes transferring is not necessarily a common practice for big time players, however a development like this may make it so. Let’s look at someone like Michael Porter for a second. Everyone knows Michael Porter deserves to play for a team far better than a below average SEC team. However, what if at the end of the season, Porter is faced with the option of choosing between the NBA, or another solid NCAA program like Duke or Kentucky?  This would allow the number one recruit to actually compete for something meaningful at the collegiate level instead of just counting down the days until he can hear the Brooklyn Nets or some other abysmal pro team call his name on draft day.

Porter is an NBA ready talent right now. He will not pass up the NBA to play another year in college, but that doesn’t apply to all five-star recruits. Malik Newman is another example of this. Only time will tell if Newman’s decision to transfer to Kansas, over going pro, benefited his career or not. If a professional athlete can rejuvenate his career with a new team, why can’t the same theory apply to a collegiate player?

This is the closest thing that the NCAA will ever develop to free agency, and where there are free agents, there is drama. With drama comes attention and attention brings interest. The transfer rate in the NCAA is out of control, but some players truly do need a change of scenery to help them reach their highest playing potential. This new development would undoubtedly create more buzz around college hoops, so if you’re a fan of the NCAA, you should be a fan of this idea.

Sidney Wilson to Transfer from St. John’s

 

Sidney Wilson had yet to play a game for the St. John’s Red Storm, and it appears he never will. It was reported today that the 6-6 wing from the Bronx will transfer from St. John’s before ever suiting up for the Johnnies. A four-star recruit with highlight making bounce, Wilson was a big get for Chris Mullin and staff when they convinced Wilson to stay home.

Per Scout, since Wilson enrolled at SJU this summer and took classes, he will have to wait a year before being eligible to play for whatever school he chooses. The same thing applied to Mitchell Robinson, who ended up returning to Western Kentucky this week instead of transferring. Wilson chose St. John’s over UConn, UMass, Syracuse and Texas.

Wilson transferred from St. Ray’s in NY to Brewster Academy for his last year in high school. I would not be surprised if he chose Connecticut over New York again for college and chose to commit to the Huskies. Anything can happen though, so stay tuned.

Taurean Thompson to Transfer, Eyes Seton Hall

During the summer, the College Basketball transfer market is one of the busiest periods. With hundreds of players switching schools all over the country, coaching staffs are always busy trying to add to their current team. However, even with schools across the nation starting classes this week, additions are still being made to rosters. Such is the case for Kevin Willard and the Seton Hall Pirates.

Coming into this year, Seton Hall is a consensus Top 25 team in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. Returning four starters, including three 1,000 point scorers in Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, and Desi Rodriguez, the Pirates look poised to make a run in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Aside from their three-headed monster, the Pirates also return two-year starter and defensive stalwart Ish Sanogo, sharpshooter Myles Powell, and aggressive big man Michael Nzei. The Pirates also bring in a recruiting class that features Top 100 player Myles Cale, Point Guard Jordan Walker, and big man Sandro Mamukelashvili, the Pirates have a deep roster.

Recent news has come out however regarding a former Seton Hall target, former Top 100 Forward Taurean Thompson. The big man who averaged 9.2 points with 3.8 rebounds on a very solid 55 percent shooting from the field showed a lot of promise for the Syracuse Orange in his freshman campaign despite only playing 18 minutes a game.

On Monday morning, Donna Ditota of syracuse.com reported that Thompson had left Syracuse and is unlikely to return to the University.  “We have been informed that Taurean is taking a leave of absence from Syracuse University,” Head Coach Jim Boeheim said on the matter, “My understanding is he wants to go to school closer to home due to some family health issues.”  Thompson was expected to be a big piece for Boeheim and the Orange this year.

Since Thompson announcing his decision to leave, all signs have pointed to him transferring to the Hall.

Now what does this mean for the Pirates?

Seton Hall would be adding a valuable piece to an already loaded roster. With former 2017 commit Darnell Brodie electing to take a Post Graduate year at Montverde Academy, Seton Hall is left with an open scholarship for this year. Adding Thompson would not only fill the scholarship, but be a good piece for the future as it is more than likely he will have to sit out this year due to NCAA transfer rules. The Pirates landed transfer Quincy McKnight earlier in the summer. Both he and Thompson would be great pieces to add, once eligible for play.

Thompson only being a sophomore sets the Pirates up to have a good foundation after the inevitable graduation of the four seniors and the possibility of loosing Nzei to a graduate transfer. A Thompson commitment gives the Pirates a future front line of Thompson, Mamukelashvili, and current JUCO transfer and 7 footer Romaro Gill, who is expected to red shirt this year. That would be a good core for Willard to work with.

Follow Matt on Twitter – @PignataroMatt