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A Look at the College Transfer Big Man Market

Three East Coast guys looking for greener pastures could help bolster N. C. State's front line in 2014-15, when depth once again looks to be an issue.

Jacob Lawson gets up to throw down.
Jacob Lawson gets up to throw down.

Barring something unforeseen, the commitment of Oak Hill power forward Lennard Freeman probably completes the N. C. State roster for the 2013-14 season. Previously, BTP kicked the tires on three graduate transfer possibilities that could play immediately, but David Pellom has already stated his intention to play out his final season of eligibility at Memphis, Josh Davis appears intent on not playing the role of prodigal son, and to get Tarik Black the Pack will have to beat out offers from Duke and Kansas.

Still, the hunt for big men needs to continue. T.J. Warren is likely to take his talents to the NBA after his sophomore season and Jordan Vandenberg will exhaust his eligibility after the coming season, leaving the Pack with three scholarship bigs in 2014-15. And with some 400 college players transferring annually, not to mention the lure of professional opportunities, it would be unwise to count on all three class of 2013 post players-Beejay Anya, Kyle Washington, and Freeman-to all return for their sophomore seasons.

There are several intriguing transfer options who cannot play immediately but could provide depth in 2014-15, starting with Purdue's Jacob Lawson, a 6-8, 220-pound power forward who chose the Boilermakers over Georgetown and ACC programs Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Lawson has been a lightly used (12% career usage rate) role player for Purdue, where he has averaged 11.1 minutes per game in his two-year career. His rebounding rate (10.6 TRB%) leaves a lot to be desired and he is careless with the basketball (19.6 TOV%), but he has been an efficient scorer (55.9 TS%; 56.6 eFG%) and able shot botherer (6.1 BLK%).

Lawson was slowed by an Achilles injury at Purdue and could improve on his past performance if fully healthy. His decision to transfer seems less about minutes and more about being closer to his parents. Since Lawson is a native of Reidsville, a return to tobacco road would certainly put his home games in easy driving distance for mom and dad. If he is content in a reserve role and is not transferring to be "the guy," he could certainly add quality depth to what will again be a thin frontcourt for the Pack in 2014-15.

Another transfer with North Carolina ties is UNC-Charlotte power forward Darion Clark, who was on the receiving end of some nasty oopage (see below) at Oak Hill Academy, where he teamed with current Wolfpacker Tyler Lewis. Clark is an undersized power forward at 6-6, but he is thick and strong like another Georgia native, Richard Howell, and could probably use that strength to hold his own in the paint in the ACC. Clark was not highly recruited by Oak Hill standards, choosing Charlotte over offers from Mississippi, Nebraska, and Rhode Island, but he acquitted himself well for a freshman in the tough A-10.

2 Nasty Alley-Oops - Tyler Lewis to Darion Clark Oak Hill vs. Miller Grove (via ESPN)

In 18 minutes per game, Clark averaged 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds, including impressive true shooting percentage (52.7) and effective field goal percentage (54.2) marks. He also rebounded at a decent rate (14.9 TRB%). His greatest weakness, which is typical of a freshman post, was a high turnover rate (21.4%), but that may be a weakness he can address with experience. If Mark Gottfried is interested in adding Clark, hopefully Teen Wolf is in his ear.

Philly native Jaylen Bond chose Texas over offers from Pittsburgh and West Virginia, among others, and enjoyed a solid freshman season for Rick Barnes before taking a step backwards (much like the Texas program as a whole) in an injury-riddled 2012-13 campaign. During his freshman year, the 6-7, 225-pound Bond was third in the Big 12 in total rebounding percentage (17.3%) and offensive rebounding percentage (13.3), pulling down almost five boards in 15 minutes of action per night. He took good care of the ball for a freshman post and managed to shoot 51% from the floor despite his size limitations. It looks like Bond is taking a hard look at Penn State, which would certainly put him closer to his Philly roots, but someone should inform him that a flight from RDU to Philly takes about half the time as the drive from Philly to State College.

Gottfried's first priority is (and should be) to add talent from the class of 2014 to bolster depth for 2014 and beyond, and he has already offered five-star power forwards Kevon Looney and Leron Black. Local product Gary Clark is also on the Pack's radar, as are center prospects Andre Walker and Chinanu Onuaku. But, as we have seen with Julius Randle, sometimes you swing and miss. Picking up any of the above gentlemen as transfers would cover the Pack in case Gott and staff don't hit the homerun again this time, and it would also serve as insurance should someone already on the roster surprise and pull a Purvis.