WHich transfers will impact the Acc race the most in 2020-21?
It has become commonplace in college basketball that players will play for multiple programs during their collegiate career. Whether it be through traditional transfer or graduate transfer, very rarely does a player “commit” to a school and remain there for all four years.
Now, I am not here to tell you whether or not it is a good thing or a bad thing, just that it is indeed…a thing. It creates a certain amount of drama within the college basketball landscape knowing that in a sport where the coaches often swing their big dicks around, the players do possess some semblance of power.
Regardless of your thoughts on transfers, or the system, they are here and they have a massive impact on college basketball. While some, and arguably most, don’t work out when they arrive in the Atlantic Coast Conference, this season’s incoming upperclassmen may prove to be the exception instead of the rule. These five players will absolutely impact the final ACC standings in 2020-21
Carlik Jones-Guard-Louisville (via Radford)
Jones was the biggest addition to the ACC during the 2020 offseason as Louisville hit the transfer market with tremendous success again. Jones is a flat out stud of a player whom I’ve had the privilege of watching a few times at this point.
The 2-time All-Big South first team member was also player of the year in 2019-20 in his conference after averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists while shooting 41% from behind the three-point line.
You may thinking, “Yeah, he played in the Big South, so what.” Well, that may be true but Carlik has also played seven games against power six schools in his career and has performed pretty well. In those seven games, Jones has averaged 14.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists while shooting 10-17 from behind the arc. You should also note that he is not one dimensional like some players who “transfer up” seem to be, as he also finished in the top ten in the Big South in steals each of his three seasons and currently owns the 7th highest assist percentage in Big South history.
Jones’ presence should also provide some relief for David Johnson at the point guard position and ultimately some relief for Chris Mack’s potential heartburn. Johnson averaged nearly five turnovers per 40 minutes as a freshman while Jones had a usage rate of 30.7% last season and only averaged 2.8 turnovers per 40.
Sardaar Calhoun-Wing-FSU (via JUCO)
Last season, Virginia benefited from a high end JUCO transfer in Tomas Woldetensae. This season, the Seminoles welcome their own difference maker from the JUCO ranks in Calhoun. In two seasons with Missouri State West Plains, Calhoun averaged 18.2 points per game and drilled 183 triples in 414 attempts. That’s good for 44.2%.
Calhoun is a 6’6 205lb wing out of Blue Ridge Academy originally and should slide into a prominent bench role in Tallahassee. While he may be sitting behind M.J. Walker, Anthony Polite and Scottie Barnes, I expect him to get more run than RayQuan Evans and Nathaniel Jack.
Sardaar is wired to score (he put up 48 in a game at the JUCO level) and given the losses that Coach Leonard Hamilton suffered following the 2019-20 season, the ‘Noles will be looking for guys to put the ball in the basket.
Sam Hauser-forward-virginia (via Marquette)
Simply put, Hauser is the biggest impact transfer in the ACC this season. A 6’8 forward, Hauser was forced to sit out last season due to transfer regulations (eye-roll), but his addition makes Virginia the instant favorite in the league.
At Marquette, he was part of the one of the most high-powered offenses in college basketball during the 2018-19 season. The trio of Hauser, his brother Joey, and scoring machine Markus Howard combined to score 50 points per game and nearly 280 made triples on the season.
Sam is not just a threat from deep either, he snags 6 rpg over the course of his career with a couple of assists to go along with his 42% career three-point shooting and 88% free throw shooting. His addition along with an upperclassman Kihei Clark and sophomore breakout candidate Casey Morsell could mark the return of the efficient Virginia offense we saw for so many seasons leading up to the 2019-20 campaign.
Alan Griffin- Forward-Syracuse ( via Illinois)
This one teeters on an approved waiver by the NCAA. I think it will (or at least should) be approved. However, there is always the chance that the person at the NCAA who makes these decisions is a Louisiana-Monroe graduate whose program is on probation while he’s watching Kansas ice skate and pirouette through their allegations while remaining unscathed and he just snaps and rubber stamps denied.
Kansas is going to walk. Watch, it’s going to happen.
Anyways, on paper it may not look like Griffin is a big deal but he really is. You first need to remember that Illinois was a hell of a team last season with a legit star in Ayo Dosunmu and a behemoth big man in Kofi (Coburn) Cockburn, not to mention Trent Frazier and Andres Feliz. When this kid is your fifth leading scorer, you’re going to be ok.
Looking at Griffin’s per 40 numbers, he is ready to breakout in a way similar to Eli Hughes prior to the 2019-20 season when Hughes led the ACC in scoring. I am not completely sure that Griffin will lead the league in scoring but he is a better shooter than Hughes was at this point in his career and his offensive rating is miles better.
In the Jim Boeheim world of college basketball it’s more about Jimmys and Joes than X’s and O’s and your players play a ton of minutes. If Griffin is eligible he will almost certainly lead the Orange in scoring while being the answer to the biggest question for Syracuse heading into next season: Who replaces Eli Hughes’ production?
Nysier brooks-center-miami (fl) (VIA cincinatti)
What have we all been saying for years about the ‘Canes? They need a quality big man. Since Dewan Hernandez was deemed ineligible, Coach Jim Larranaga has had to patchwork a front court around one of the best scoring guards in the conference in Chris Lykes. Enter Nysier Brooks, a hard nosed 6’11, 240lb center from Philly who averaged 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks for Cincinnati in 2018-19.
Brooks sat out last season due to transfer rules but should provide the piece that Miami has been missing for years. Ebuka Izundu was great for the ‘Canes in 18-19 but there was nobody behind him. With Brooks, Larranaga has Rodney Miller, Deng Gak (if healthy, big if), Anthony Walker (breakout?) and Sam Waardenburg who adds a different dimension to the offense with his shooting ability.
Brooks made a big jump in his minutes per game for the Bearcats as a junior, more than doubling his average court time and playing 23 mpg. Putting him in the starting lineup and having Miller play 14-16 minutes instead of 24 makes this Miami team far more dangerous, especially on the defensive end.