"Of the top 100 recruits in the class of 2022, according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, only 17 are averaging double figures in scoring this season. Eleven of those 17 were top-25 prospects. Of the top 100 transfers in ESPN's transfer rankings last spring, a whopping 62 are averaging double figures" - ESPN
It's that time of year again. March - May is the time most players decide to transfer, declare, and get signed. Not only is it the post season - a time when college coaches' careers can be etched in the history books - it's also the time when coaches have to figure out who's in / who's out, and how they're going to replace the key missing parts. Incredible pressure on coaches. In 2022 Verbal Commits showed 1763 players in the portal (for scale, there are a potential of 4563 D1 scholarships), this year it could be over 2000. Lots of opportunities to potentially transform your team.
The Pack is one of many examples of the potential of the transfer portal. From a 11-21 team, most losses ever, to 23 (and counting) wins and we'll end up with the same number of losses (11) as we had wins last season. The Pack brought in Joiner and Clark last April, and Burns and Mahorcic in May. If you add the 2021 transfers Morsell and Gantt, plus one recruit - Terquavion Smith, that's our starters. Similarly, Pitt ended last season 13th in the league with the same record we had 11-21, and just won the play in game for the NCAAT after having added 5 transfers in the offseason. If you look at the currently ranked top 8 teams in the ACC, 4 of them brought in 4 or 5 transfers this season. The ACC in total added 35 transfers last offseason, averaging better than 2 per team. Miami - who reached the Elite 8 last season - only brought in 2, but they were Pack and Omier, who are two of their top four in minutes and points, plus Omier leads in rebounding and Pack in 3PT made. Huge impact. Nijel Pack made headlines last summer when he signed an $800,000 NIL deal. Marquette coach Shaka Smart said at the time, "That changed transfer recruiting forever."
It's impossible to predict which players will be at State in the fall, but we know a couple who won't. Terquavion Smith gave us an extra year and will take his shot at the NBA next season, and Jarkel Joiner has exhausted his eligibility. Dusan Mahorcic has exhausted his eligibility as well, but, if he chooses to do so, he meets the criteria to apply for a medical redshirt as long as he plays in no more games this season. No idea if he'd get it. Or if he wants it. The rest could return, although Morsell and Gantt will graduate and were recognized on senior night.
So, if we only had to replace Smith and Joiner ...(only???)
Mins per game: top two
Points: tied for 1st
Assists: top two
Steals: top two
Who do we have? / What do we need?
LJ Thomas is a great recruit, a PG, I expect great things from him, but as a sophomore I'm not sure if he's ready for this kind of burden. Breon Pass, a PG, is playing well, but has only made 14 shots all season. That does not earn a starting job. And, assuming he's here in the fall, Trey Parker, a SG, is a scorer. I'm sure he, and everyone else, sees him in Terquavion's role. But, like Terquavion, he's going to take time to learn how to play a complete game at the college level. Terquavion struggled on defense his freshman year. I think we have to bring in two upperclassmen (ideally grads) at the PG & SG guard positions to start, at least at the beginning of the season. I think LJ and hopefully Trey will contribute points and solid minutes next season, and Breon is a very solid backup at the point, so they don't absolutely have to be the scorers Smith and Joiner are, or play the minutes. However, the following year, (in theory) McNeil shows up at SG, with ideally LJ and Trey ready to be starting, and McNeil bringing points off the bench, that's a pretty solid foundation at guard. But, of course, looking that far into the future is insane in today's college basketball.
The 'comings and goings' over the next 60 days or so will be very interesting, we'll see if Keatts and company can do as well - or ideally better - in the portal this offseason.