The nature of college sports is always evolving, and one of the ways in which that’s most directly apparent is the flood of transfers in the sport. The reality of transfers is a constant, but the level of urgency attached to the need for transfers is constantly rising. When coaches whiff on a recruiting class or don’t get that recruit they need to form a complete roster, they have to work the transfer market to fill gaps. The best coaches generally get the transfers they need to improve their programs. This is how Mark Few turned Gonzaga from a solid program into a Final Four program. Transfers helped him to take Gonzaga to the next level. With all of this in mind, where are the best current transfers in college basketball going?
Transferring To: Arizona State Sun Devils
The news of Bragg’s transfer from Kansas to Arizona State came down on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a big get for Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, who is trying to turn the Sun Devils into a Pac-12 contender and a legitimate NCAA Tournament team. Hurley knew when he took the job that this would not be a quick fix, but he needed to supplement his recruiting with a big-fish transfer, and Bragg – who struggled to develop under Bill Self at Kansas – might get the fresh start his own basketball career needs. This is also a sign that Arizona State has enough stature to compete for transfers with other more nationally known programs. It might have caught some people off guard, but it could enable Hurley to land even more transfers in future college basketball seasons.
K.J. and Dedric Lawson
Transferring To: Kansas Jayhawks
While Bill Self lost Carlton Bragg, he pulled in the Lawson brothers from Memphis after their ugly divorce from head coach Tubby Smith. When Smith came aboard as Memphis coach a year ago, he did not submit to the demands of Keelon Lawson – the father of his basketball-playing stars – to make him an assistant coach. Smith kept Keelon Lawson on staff, but in a support-staff-level position and not on the bench as a primary assistant. This was the arrangement Keelon Lawson had with previous Memphis coach Josh Pastner, but when Smith did not go along with the plan, Keelon Lawson plainly did not like it, and neither did his sons, who seemed to become less interested and less focused as the past season wound toward its conclusion. Kansas will benefit from the Lawsons’ transfer; Self should get players hungry to play well after their bitter college basketball experience in Memphis.
Transferring To: North Carolina State Wolfpack
When Freeman of Baylor announced his intent to transfer, schools across the country perked up. Freeman is a physically developed player who just needs to refine his skills. He is someone who can readily contribute to just about any roster. North Carolina State’s new head coach, Kevin Keatts, pounced on the opportunity and scored a very big coup in the early stages of his new career after joining the Wolfpack. Keatts had been the coach at UNC-Wilmington.
The Wolfpack were one of the worst teams in college basketball last year. Taking a look at the standings, the Wolfpack were just 15-17 overall and 4-14 in the conference. Only one team had a worse conference record last year, which was the Boston College Eagles at 2-16.
Transferring To: Iowa State Cyclones
When Shayok delivered another productive season for Tony Bennett and the Virginia Cavaliers this past winter, few could have known what was coming just around the bend. This decision to transfer in itself was a surprise. The equally jarring decision to go to Iowa State gives coach Steve Prohm needed help after the graduation of a number of core starters, especially point guard Monte Morris.
The Cyclones won 24 games last season, which was good for fourth in the Big 12. They had a record of 24-11 overall but were just 12-6 in the Big 12. That conference record tied them with West Virginia and Baylor.
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