Non-Vertically-Challenged Graduate Transfers Who Can Play Immediately

Gregory Shamus

We want you. We need you.

Assuming BeeJay Anya and Kyle Washington avoid alien abduction and qualify academically, and there have been zero in terms of rumorage to suggest that either would not, and Jordan Vandenberg (he of the oft DNP, coach's decision) returns as a fifth-year senior, that trio will serve as N. C. State's three-headed post monster next season.

Anya and Washington are highly regarded recruits but nonetheless freshpersons, and Vandy is, well, tall. The long-term prospects of the prospects is bright but not enough to inspire total confidence for the coming campaign.

T.J. Warren is not a small man at 6-8, 233, but he fancies himself as more of a wing than an interior player and has the rebounding rate (8.8 TRB%) to prove it, though he can play the four in a pinch. Über-athletic walk-on Jevoni Robinson is a project but could emerge as someone capable of playing serviceable minutes in the post.

But the bottom line is that the Wolfpack desperately need either another commitment from a class of 2013 big person and/or the services of a one-year rental in the form of a graduate transfer. Much has been written and rumored about the possible return of former fan favorite Josh Davis to the Pack, but two more non-vertically-challenged college free agents deserve our scrutiny (and perhaps also warrant the crossing of fingers).

The most well known is Tarik Black, who earned his degree from Memphis in a scant three seasons. A consensus top-50 recruit out of high school, Black never quite developed into a star for the Tigers, but he is definitely an effective scorer around the basket and lacks nothing in terms of size at a formidable 6-9, 262 pounds. After a solid sophomore season, Black was a preseason first team all-Conference USA selection this year but slumped to 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. His block rate was just half that of what he registered in his sophomore season and, as has been the case during his entire career, he was constantly hampered by foul trouble. He has fouled out of 21 games in three seasons.

One wonders what kind of player Black might be if he could undergo a Richard Howell-like body reshaping and play at around 250 while also learning, as Howell finally did as a senior, to stay out of foul trouble. He might also benefit from a bit of practice at the charity stripe, where he shot just 44.8% a season ago. Regardless of his shortcomings, Black is reportedly being chased hard by the Duke Blue Devils. I think he would look much better in red.

A much lesser known free agent, but one with North Carolina ties, is former New Hanover standout David Pellom. Due to multiple wrist surgeries, Pellom sat out what would have been his senior season at George Washington in 2012-13, but the 6-8, 220-pounder is healthy now and his phone keeps ringing. Pellom was a remarkably efficient scorer in his junior season, is regarded as an excellent passing big man (something that would play well in the UCLA offense), and was playing his best basketball before injuries derailed his progress. Pellom scored in double figures in his last eight games with GW and recorded five double-doubles during that stretch while shooting a blistering 73.1% from the floor. However, like Black, Pellom is no sure thing from the charity stripe, where he is a career 50.6% shooter.

The following charts show a number of metrics and statistics comparing the departed Howell and C.J. Leslie to the potential grad transfer targets. I used the 2011-12 numbers for Pellom since it was his last season and for Black, since it was his best season. Davis's numbers are from last season. Click here for a glossary on the stats if you require a primer.

TS%

eFG%

ORB%

DRB%

TRB%

AST%

STL%

Howell

58.7

57.0

14.6

24.0

19.6

10.1

1.9

Leslie

55.0

52.2

7.0

18.1

13.0

8.4

1.7

Davis

55.6

49.3

12.9

23.8

18.0

12.3

1.4

Black

67.3

68.9

10.7

12.0

11.4

1.3

1.5

Pellom

66.9

68.8

9.4

18.2

13.6

10.2

1.2

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

ORtg

DRtg

PpG

RpG

Howell

2.8

13.1

19.8

122.2

97.7

12.7

10.9

Leslie

3.7

17.9

25.8

103.0

100.6

15.1

7.4

Davis

2.8

14.2

26.4

114.8

99.6

17.6

10.7

Black

6.2

14.0

18.7

124.6

95.3

10.7

4.9

Pellom

2.7

16.0

18.1

121.1

104.5

10.4

6.1

Recoiling in horror from C.J.'s turnover percentage, one wonders if his early entry to the (developmental) league might turn into addition by subtraction. He was a ball stopper and the least efficient offensive player of the bunch by far. But replacing the efficient, ball sharing, rebounding beast that was Big Rich will be a big, big challenge. Black is a cavernous black hole from which the ball will not return (look at that assist rate!) and rebounds poorly on the defensive end for a man of his stature, Pellom is rusty and too turnover prone for a player of his usage level, and Davis is undersized for the post. All of them played against inferior competition than one would expect in the ACC. Still, looking at the numbers, it would not be hard to imagine that, collectively, one (or more) of these gentleman, teamed with the incoming crop of fresperson post players, could come close to replicating the production of our dearly departed CDB and the basketball bipolar CJ/Calvin.

The hard part of course is getting the commitment. Get the commitment, Gott!

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