Top Ten Transfers Still on the Board

By Kevin Sweeney

Preparations for the 2018-19 college basketball season are well underway, with many teams on campus taking classes and working out as they build towards a title. However, many rosters are still not finalized, with one or two scholarships still available to add a piece that could impact this season or future years. And while most of the top transfers are already off the board, there are still several top talents out there.

Here are my top ten transfers whose recruitments are still open:

#1. Geno Crandall (North Dakota)

  • Grad transfer with one year of eligibility remaining
  • Stats: 16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, .503/.417/.728

A late add to the grad transfer market who didn’t announce his intentions to depart North Dakota until June, Crandall immediately became the best player on the board. A guard with good size who can play either the 1 or the 2 and score at all 3 levels, the Minnesota native would be a plug-and-play starter for nearly every team in the country. He’s efficient, shoots the 3 extremely well, and also defends at a high level. Crandall is reportedly considering Xavier, Gonzaga, Minnesota, Colorado State, and New Mexico State and would be a season-changing pickup for any of those programs.

Update 7/5: Crandall has announced his commitment to Gonzaga.

#2. Ehab Amin (Texas A&M-CC)

  • Grad transfer with one year of eligibility remaining
  • Stats (2016-17): 16.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, .462/.289/.716, 3.4 spg

Amin originally committed to Eric Musselman and Nevada, but chose to decommit once the Martin twins returned to school for their senior seasons. Now, he has taken visits to Rutgers, Boston College, and Oregon in addition to the visit he took to Wichita State before signing with Nevada. When healthy, Amin is a dynamic two-way player, a defensive catalyst who led the country in steals as a junior and a creative offensive player proficient at getting to the rim. However, there may be some lingering effects of the hip injury that costed Amin his 2017-18 season that may hamper his effectiveness in his senior campaign.

UPDATE (6/29): Amin has committed to Oregon, per his Twitter page.

#3. Zane Martin (Towson)

  • Sit 1, play 2
  • Stats: 19.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, .458/.380/.696

One of the biggest breakout stars in college basketball this season, Martin elected to leave Towson for greener pastures this offseason. His ascension began with several massive performances during his team’s international trip to Canada this past summer, and that strong play continued into the 2017-18 season. That big season earned him a spot on the All-CAA Second Team and interest from college basketball’s elite.

Despite earning official visits, it appears that Maryland and Ole Miss are no longer in contention for Martin.

#4. Demontrae Jefferson (Texas Southern)

  • Sit 1, play 2
  • Stats: 23.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.6 apg, .420/.394/.823

The newest high-profile addition to the transfer market, Jefferson departs Texas Southern in the wake of his head coach Mike Davis heading to Detroit. A dynamic lead guard despite standing just 5-7, Jefferson never backs down from a challenge. He opened the season by playing in 40 or more minutes in 4 straight games, and consistently gave Texas Southern a fighting change against higher-level competition. It will be extremely interesting to see where Jefferson lands to complete his college career, as he is one of the most fun players to watch in the entire country.

#5. Bryson Williams (Fresno State)

  • Sit 1, play 2
  • Stats: 13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, .596/.250/.602

Williams’ recruitment has been long, but there hasn’t been much information about where he’ll land. He has taken visits to UTEP, Arizona, and Oregon, and new Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson is still working to convince Williams to return for his junior and senior seasons. On the floor, Williams is a strong, 6-8 forward with excellent skill in the post who could use a potential redshirt year to develop as a shooter. However, a return to Fresno State would form an outstanding pick-and-roll pairing in Williams and Deshon Taylor.

#6. Stone Gettings (Cornell)

  • Sit 1***, play 1
  • Stats: 16.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, .487/.368/.825

Gettings is a non-traditional graduate transfer. He announced earlier this offseason his intent to sit out the 2018-19 season at Cornell to finish his degree, then graduate and transfer for his final season of eligibility. The timetable for a commitment is unclear, but given the historical precedent that former Ivy Leaguers Evan Boudreaux and Makai Mason have set, it seems like Gettings will commit at some point this summer. A native of Malibu, CA, Gettings is a unique big man with excellent passing ability and a smooth jumper. He’d be a solid piece for a high-major in his final season of college basketball.

#7. Justin Roberts (DePaul)

  • Sit 1, play 3
  • Stats: 4.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, .383/.324/.714

Roberts showed promise during his freshman campaign at DePaul, but elected to transfer for the rest of his college career. DePaul fans clamored for more playing time for Roberts throughout the season, but Dave Leitao consistently lamented some “freshman mistakes” and kept his youngster on the bench. I’m a big believer in Roberts’ upside, and believe he’d be a steal for a lot of programs at this point in the process.

#8. Adonis De La Rosa (Kent State)

  • Grad transfer with one year of eligibility remaining
  • Stats: 11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, .564/.000/.785

De La Rosa’s journey through the college basketball world will take one final twist, as the 7-footer who began his career at St. John’s before transferring to a junior college and resurfacing at Kent State will use the grad transfer option. He’s a polarizing prospect, a turnover-prone true big man who will be 24 years of age before the 2018 season gets underway and is coming off a torn ACL, but his ability to score in bunches in the post is valuable. Given that a school would get De La Rosa’s scholarship back for 2019 anyway, he seems well worth the gamble as the piece that could put a team over the top.

Update 7/2: De La Rosa has signed with Illinois, per multiple media reports.

#9. Schadrac Casimir (Iona)

  • Grad transfer with one year of eligibility remaining
  • Stats: 10.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, .442/.458/.823

Casimir is the perfect piece to add to your rotation. While several hip surgeries have diminished him into almost entirely a spot-up shooter, Casimir is an elite catch-and-shoot guy and a winner. Those around the Iona program have raved about him since the first day he arrived on campus, and the diminutive guard has been a part of 3 NCAA Tournament teams. Reportedly considering Arizona State, Rutgers, FGCU, and Southern Utah, Casimir visited Florida Gulf Coast 2 weeks ago. I’m sure almost any team would gladly welcome a guy who shot 46% from 3 and has made the NCAA Tournament 3 years in a row into their program.

UPDATE 7/1: Casimir has committed to Florida Gulf Coast, per multiple media reports.

#10. Najja Hunter (Rice)

  • Sit 1, play 3
  • Stats: 6.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, .433/.310/.590

Hunter’s numbers from his rookie campaign don’t jump out at you, but a closer look makes me think he could be the steal of this year’s transfer class. A well-regarded prospect coming out of St. Benedict’s Prep in NJ, Hunter exploded onto the scene late in the season, averaging more than 19 points and 5 rebounds per game over his final four games. A wing with excellent size and scoring ability, Hunter could be a all-conference player at his next stop with an added year of development.

Other names to watch: Jonah Antonio (Mount St Mary’s), Josh Ayeni (St Bonaventure), Pedro Bradshaw (Eastern Kentucky), Jeremy Combs (LSU), John Dewey III (Sam Houston State), Tyrik Dixon (MTSU), Greg Eboigbodin (Illinois), Troy Holston Jr (South Florida), Jermaine Jackson Jr (Detroit), Antwain Johnson (MTSU), Mustafa Lawrence (Missouri State), Tyler Maye (VCU), Jalyn Patterson (LSU), Marcell Pettway (Nevada), Isaiah Ross (UMKC), Matz Stockman (Minnesota), Quatarrius Wilson (McNeese State).

NBA Live Mock Draft Podcast Results

With the NBA Draft less than 48 hours away, Kevin and Brad invited special guest Patrick Wong on to do a live mock draft. The guys went through all 60 picks switching off pick-by-pick to project what many have called the best draft class in more than a decade. Picks were made based on what WE would have done, NOT what we think the teams will necessarily do.

Here are our picks: (K = Kevin, P = Patrick, B = Brad)

Round 1:

  1. Phoenix (K)– DeAndre Ayton (Arizona)
  2. Sacramento (P)– Luka Doncic (Real Madrid)
  3. Atlanta (B)– Jaren Jackson Jr (Michigan State)
  4. Memphis (K)– Marvin Bagley (Duke)
  5. Dallas (P)– Mo Bamba (Texas)
  6. Orlando (B)– Trae Young (Oklahoma)
  7. Chicago (K)– Michael Porter Jr (Missouri)
  8. Cleveland (P)– Wendell Carter Jr (Duke)
  9. New York (B)– Mikal Bridges (Villanova)
  10. Philadelphia (K)– Miles Bridges (Michigan State)
  11. Charlotte (P)– Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky)
  12. LA Clippers (B)– Robert Williams (Texas A&M)
  13. LA Clippers (K)– Collin Sexton (Alabama)
  14. Denver (P)– Kevin Knox (Kentucky)
  15. Washington (B)– Lonnie Walker (Miami)
  16. Phoenix (K)– Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech)
  17. Milwaukee (P)– Aaron Holiday (UCLA)
  18. San Antonio (B)– Khyri Thomas (Creighton)
  19. Atlanta (K)– Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova)
  20. Minnesota (P)– Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State)
  21. Utah (B)– Kevin Huerter (Maryland)
  22. Chicago (K)– Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky)
  23. Indiana (P)– Elie Okobo (Pau-Lacq-Orthez)
  24. Portland (B)– Jacob Evans (Cincinnati)
  25. LA Lakers (K)– Chandler Hutchison (Boise State)
  26. Philadelphia (P)– Moritz Wagner (Michigan)
  27. Boston (B)– Jevon Carter (West Virginia)
  28. Golden State (K)– Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech)
  29. Brooklyn (P)– Grayson Allen (Duke)
  30. Atlanta (B)– Melvin Frazier (Tulane)

Round 2:

  1. Phoenix (K)– Jalen Brunson (Villanova)
  2. Memphis (P)– Troy Brown (Oregon)
  3. Dallas (B)– Gary Trent Jr (Duke)
  4. Atlanta (K)– Issuf Sanon (Petrol Olimpija)
  5. Orlando (P)– Dzanan Musa (Cedevita)
  6. New York (B)– Omari Spellman (Villanova)
  7. Sacramento (K)– Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky)
  8. Philadelphia (P)– Bruce Brown (Miami)
  9. Philadelphia (B)– Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy)
  10. Brooklyn (K)– Kevin Hervey (UT-Arlington)
  11. Orlando (P)– Chimezie Metu (USC)
  12. Detroit (B)– Vincent Edwards (Purdue)
  13. Denver (K)– Shake Milton (SMU)
  14. Washington (P)– De’Anthony Melton (USC)
  15. Brooklyn (B)– Jerome Robinson (Boston College)
  16. Houston (K)– Kenrich Williams (TCU)
  17. LA Lakers (P)– Justin Jackson (Maryland)
  18. Minnesota (B)– Rawle Alkins (Arizona)
  19. San Antonio (K)– Isaac Bonga (Frankfurt Skyliners)
  20. Indiana (P)– Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky)
  21. New Orleans (B)– Wenyen Gabriel (Kentucky)
  22. Utah (K)– Landry Shamet (Wichita State)
  23. Oklahoma City (P)– Alonzo Trier (Arizona)
  24. Dallas (B)– Alize Johnson (Missouri State)
  25. Charlotte (K)– Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton)
  26. Philadelphia (P)– Rodions Kurucs (FC Barcelona)
  27. Oklahoma City (B)– Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot (Levallois Metropolitans)
  28. Denver (K)– Arnoldas Kulboka (Brose Bamberg)
  29. Phoenix (P)– Trevon Duval (Duke)
  30. Philadelphia (B)– Donte Grantham (Clemson)

Notable Players Undrafted: Devonte Graham (Kansas), Tony Carr (Penn State), Devon Hall (Virginia), Malik Newman (Kansas), Svi Mykhailiuk (Kansas), Theo Pinson (North Carolina), Billy Preston (Kansas), Ray Spalding (Louisville), Brandon McCoy (UNLV), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall)

With Hot Recruiting Start, Rodney Terry Positioning UTEP for Long-Term Success

By Kevin Sweeney

In the days following UTEP’s hire of Rodney Terry to replace Tim Floyd as head basketball coach, I graded the hire a B+.

I’m already regretting not going much higher.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a first-year coach with more early momentum than Terry. Since departing Fresno State this March in a move that surprised many, Terry has laid a groundwork for winning for years to come while reinvigorating a fanbase that had long been frustrated with Floyd’s inability to bring the consistent success they had come to expect during the Don Haskins era.

Terry entered a near-impossible position from a roster standpoint. 3 key senior talents graduating, younger players transferring, and the rest of the old staff’s recruiting class departing for other collegiate homes. In front of him was 9 open scholarships late in the 2018 recruiting process, with the team in need of a talent injection for both the coming season and beyond.

Yet Terry has managed the roster masterfully, with the help of a strong staff with a rolodex of recruiting contacts throughout not just Texas but the entire country (and beyond). Former San Diego head coach Lamont Smith is the biggest name on staff, a experienced recruiter who had begun a big turnaround with the Toreros before off-court trouble led to his departure this Spring. Terry also brought over assistants Nick Matson and Brian Burton with him from Fresno State, with Burton bringing strong Texas recruiting connections and Matson providing experience from his work across the country. That staff has allowed the Miners to hit the ground running on the recruiting trail.

The first domino to fall was physical big man Efe Odigie, a Houston native who elected to follow Terry from Fresno State, where he had signed originally. Next was Nigel Hawkins, a scoring guard with multiple high-major offers who committed shortly after visiting in late April. Terry then landed Deon Stroud, a former 2019 prospect with several Mountain West offers who elected to reclassify to 2018 and #JoinTheMovement a year early. The most recent prep prospect to pop for Terry and company was high-upside Canadian big man Kaosi Ezeagu, who held offers from Butler and South Carolina but chose the Miners instead. The only miss by Terry’s new staff was Rivals top 150 recruit Isaac Likekele, a former Fresno State commit who elected to head to Oklahoma State instead.

And while Terry’s ability to put together a strong freshman class in such a short amount of time deserves credit, the work he has put in on the transfer market is even more impressive. He’s earned a pair of pledges in NJIT transfer wing Anthony Tarke (15 points, 6 rebounds per game) and former San Francisco guard Souley Boum (10 points per game, WCC All-Freshman selection), and had Fresno State transfer big man Bryson Williams (13 points, 6 rebounds per game) on campus for a visit this weekend. With 3 scholarships still available, Terry still has plenty of room to add talent to the roster for this year and beyond.

One key reason for Terry’s early success and momentum has been his ability to excite and connect with the strong UTEP fanbase, one that averaged well over 6,000 fans per game in the 2016-17 season (most recent NCAA Attendance Report available). The Miners have used Twitter as their friend, with Miners fans and coaches constantly tweeting with hashtags like #BlueCollarMentality, #JoinTheMovement, and #NewEraUTEP.

Social media is a huge area that more teams need to focus on exploiting, and UTEP is the perfect example of this. Twitter is a great way to connect fans and get them excited about the upcoming season, and I expect to see a lot of massive crowds filling the Don Haskins Center for years to come. If the recruiting momentum continues, it won’t be long before UTEP establishes itself as a perennial contender for Conference USA titles and NCAA Tournament berths.

Sorry about the lack of content on the site recently, I’ve been super busy. Will be ramping things up for the summer soon!

Nevada Showing Top-To-Bottom Effort Necessary to Become Elite

By Kevin Sweeney

When UT-Arlington fired head coach Scott Cross in stunning fashion earlier this Spring, I went on a rant (to put it kindly) blasting their decision. UTA Athletic Director Jim Baker reportedly had clashed with Cross on multiple occasions about Cross’s inability to turn the Maverick program into “The Next Gonzaga”. My criticism was simple– becoming the next Gonzaga, Xavier, Butler, or Wichita State takes more than simply an elite coach. Obviously, those programs needed their Mark Few, Pete Gillen, Brad Stevens (or Barry Collier) or Gregg Marshall to ascend to the level that they are at now, but it takes a top-to-bottom effort, from the president of the school all the way down to the fans, to build a program and a culture with staying power at the elite level of college basketball.

Nevada has found their elite coach. Now, can they establish themselves as the next elite mid-major program? Yesterday, in the aftermath of the Jordan Brown commitment, I saw yet another reason why I believe they will.

The hashtag #RiseAndShinePack was all over my Twitter feed yesterday morning, as coaches and their wives shared videos of themselves celebrating landing the McDonald’s All-American Brown.

It was a fun, humorous way to celebrate the news, while also engaging the entire fanbase to tweet out how they celebrated the news. It was the latest great marketing play by the Wolf Pack as they become the new “sexy” name in college basketball.

From the embrace of Twitter to their wide variety of jerseys to the big raise and contract extension Musselman received after last season, Nevada is doing everything right on the path to continued success. Between the fun brand of basketball that the Wolf Pack play and the variety of efforts to connect with the fanbase, ticket sales have spiked, as have donations to the program. Those increases in revenue without a doubt play a big role in Nevada’s ability to pay Musselman, who received a raise from his $400k salary to over $1 million after winning the Mountain West title in 2017.

Obviously, Musselman’s time in Reno may not last forever. UCLA head coach Steve Alford has struggled to live up to the program’s lofty expectations, and a program with the facilities, money, and pedigree like UCLA may prove enough to draw Musselman away from Reno should that job open up. Without a doubt, his name will be mentioned in connection with every major job opening for as long as he remains the Pack’s head coach. However, Nevada is positioned to capitalize on this run of success in a way that other programs that have flirted with national prominence (including this very same Nevada program just 10 years ago).

The biggest factor in college basketball remains money, and Nevada still needs work in that area. Not only do they lag far behind the powers I mentioned before, but they lag behind much of the Mountain West in basketball spending as well (though that number doesn’t factor in the significant raise for Musselman).

 

$$$

All data in the chart is per ESPN college basketball analyst Mark Adams’ Facebook post (data from 2016–17 year. 

That said, with ticket sales rising drastically and potential for significant NCAA Tournament revenue coming down the road, the time seems right for the Wolf Pack administration to ramp up spending. They’ve already invested in a brand-new practice facility, thanks in no small part to a $1 million gift from Pack alum Ramon Sessions. Still, that top-to-bottom commitment from everyone from the biggest figures atop the university to boosters to even the Wolf Pack fans who follow me on Twitter.

Potentially replacing Musselman is possible– Nevada AD Doug Knuth has made strong hires in football, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball all in his relatively short tenure in Reno. Butler and Xavier have consistently lost their coaches to bigger programs but have a culture of hiring great coaches and not missing a beat.

The one hurdle that can’t be overcome long-term is money. If Nevada hopes to be the next Gonzaga, they must avoid the same mistakes that countless other programs have made.

Breaking: Siena to Hire Jamion Christian?

By Kevin Sweeney

The biggest remaining domino in the 2018 coaching carousel has fallen, maybe?

Siena has hired Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian to be their next head coach, per Rodger Wyland of WNYT in Albany. Wyland reports that a press conference is hoped for on Friday.

UPDATE: Jon Rothstein now is reporting that the hire has yet to be finalized, but that Christian is a leading candidate. A spokesperson for Siena says no offer has been made.

UPDATE 5/1: Marisa Jacques of Spectrum News in Albany is reporting that Siena will name Christian their next head coach after all.

Christian replaces Jimmy Patsos, who resigned earlier this month amidst allegations of verbal abuse against players and managers following an 8-24 season.

The 36-year-old Christian, a Shaka Smart disciple, heads to Loudonville after an impressive 6-year run at Mount St. Mary’s, where he took the Mountaineers to 2 NCAA Tournaments and never finished below .500 in conference play. Christian consistently recruited extremely well to “The Mount”, bringing in talents like Elijah Long and Miles Wilson into the program. However, just like most of the NEC, his rosters were consistently set back by transfers, as Long headed to Texas, Wilson to Miami, and Mawdo Sallah to Kansas State after last season’s NCAA Tournament berth. At Siena, with much better facilities and a bigger conference, Christian has a chance to keep those types of talents for 4 years, something Siena fans should be excited about.

However, Christian inherits a difficult situation at Siena, as the Saints are coming off a brutal season and have seen several key players announce their intent to transfer. Freshmen Prince Oduro, Roman Penn, and Jordan Horn have all requested releases to transfer, and Nico Clareth, who left the program midseason, is currently on the market as a sit 1, play 1 transfer. Penn and Horn look like decent bets to return, but Oduro appears to be gone, with multiple high-major programs already expressing interest. Clareth has received interest from several mid- and high-major programs, but would be a sit 1, play 1 transfer. Christian’s first job will be to re-recruit those 4 players, and from there, he’ll have to get to work recruiting late in the cycle to add talent.

To me, this is about as good a hire as Siena could have realistically made. The brief flirtations with Rick Pitino were quite fun to watch, but it would have been an extremely risky hire with all the negative publicity and potential show-cause penalty to come. Getting an up-and-coming coach who plays a fun style and recruits well will indubitably be welcomed by Siena fans, as they look to get back to the heights of the Fran McCaffery era.

As for Mount St. Mary’s, the program is left in a bit of a lurch. Making a hire in May is very difficult, and it doesn’t seem likely that the Mountaineers will be able to hire from within, as the staff there is inexperienced. The new coach will inherit a talented young core, but will face roster balance issues (no rising juniors or seniors on the current roster) as well as could set into motion a mass transfer exodus from the program– something that is all too familiar for their NEC foes.

“Testing The Waters” Has Gone Too Far

By Kevin Sweeney

Scroll through the Twitter feeds of any national college basketball media source, and you’ll see tweet after tweet of players declaring for the NBA Draft. Most of those will come with the caveat that the player won’t sign with an agent.

As of 3pm today, there were 140 players who had entered the draft, with 80 not having hired an agent (those numbers are per NBADraft.net). Some of the names on that list, like Marvin Bagley, Trae Young, and DeAndre Ayton, are recognizable to even the most common of college basketball fan: collegiate superstars at big-time programs who were long expected to be NBA lottery picks. Others, however, are much less well-known.

How much Matt Morgan tape did you watch this season? What about Fred Sims or Takal Molson? Did you scout Tramaine Isabell or Elijah Minnie?

These are 5 excellent college basketball players. Isabell (Drexel), and Morgan (Cornell) all averaged more than 20 points per game for their respective teams, while Molson won Freshman of the Year in the MAAC and Minnie was 3rd-team all-conference in the MAC this season. They will all make money playing professional basketball, and if they are lucky, a lot of it.

Their chances of being drafted by an NBA team this year? About the same as my odds of winning the lottery.

The rule change in 2016 to allow players to work out with NBA teams and get better feedback about their draft prospects was almost universally well-regarded. Players get more flexibility and feedback during a process that is cloudy at best. Colleges get to keep players who may have otherwise made ill-advised decisions. And NBA teams get to evaluate more players for both the current draft but potentially for future ones as well.

Yet in just 3 draft classes, things have gotten out of hand. The punchline “you might as well tweet out the list of players that AREN’T declaring for the draft” gets thrown around a lot.

To be clear, I’m not advocating revoking the rule. This freedom is without a doubt a good thing and an improvement from the previous system.

What I’m advocating for is an even more wide-open system: one in which every player who is draft-eligible may be contacted by college and professional scouts, coaches, and front office personnel? Remember John Calipari’s publicity stunt in the first year of the current system of having every single player (including walk-ons) enter the draft without an agent? Well, just like that.

Take our earlier example. Molson is just a freshman and far from a professional basketball player at this point. I’d bet anything he’s on a collegiate roster next season, whether that be at Canisius or at a different school. With the current rules in place, Molson is using one of his two opportunities to “test the waters” before being forced to leave school on his 3rd time declaring for the draft. Why not simply allow him to reach out to NBA teams and other pro clubs (let’s be honest, the odds of a 6-5 shooting guard from the MAAC making an NBA roster are slim to non) and hear what he needs to work on each year. If teams want to work him out, go ahead and work out. If teams want to guarantee they will draft him or sign him if he goes pro, let them do that. Give the players all the freedom in the world, without all the media attention that really tells us nothing.

The benefit of the current system is that it gets players’ names out there via the national media. The thought process is that if nothing else, just being on the list might get a few extra NBA eyes. While this line of thinking is valid, the vast majority of college coaches (even at low-major schools) have contacts in the NBA world, and would have no issue helping players connect with teams and get their names out there. AAU and high school coaches also may have useful contacts at their disposal. Besides, NBA scouts are a presence at high school and AAU events and do extensive college scouting, having info on all the players that are even conceivably draft material. Of course, the NCAA could also just allow players to have agents while still in college, but we all know that’s unlikely.

Let’s just simplify the process. Let every player get contacted by pro teams. 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine, players would have to either sign with an agent or officially return to school.

If the NCAA is dead set against letting any agent interaction into the college game, at least cut out the completely unnecessary middle step in the NBA Draft process.

 

Column: Just Pay Your Coaches if You Don’t Want Them Anymore

By Kevin Sweeney

Last night’s big story in college basketball came out of Loudonville, NY, when reports of verbal abuse against embattled Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos surfaced. Among the allegations are Patsos calling a student manager with OCD “the next Unabomber”, along with kicking managers off the team bus and making them walk to a game.

This allegations… suck. They suck bad. As someone who grew up a fan and season ticket holder for Siena basketball, my heart dropped when I read these allegations. There’s simply no place in college basketball for this type of stuff.

All that said, there’s a reason this came out now, and it’s the latest example of a growing trend in college basketball that no one should like.

When things go south on the court, athletic directors and other administrators begin looking for dirt.

We saw this earlier this offseason with both UConn and Pitt firing their coaches for cause (Stallings later accepted a settlement). Before that, Larry Eustachy’s name was ramrodded in the media for verbally abusing players before he took a settlement (about 25% of his buyout). The timing of all 3 (and the seemingly impending 4th) line up with when a team’s on-court performance went downhill.

Eustachy, coming off winning Coach of the Year in the Mountain West and a 24-win campaign, got off to a slow start this season. Most believed he wasn’t the guy at Colorado State long-term, but a $3 million buyout stood in the way. In February, verbal abuse allegations surfaced, and Eustachy was placed on administrative leave and eventually resigned with a settlement of $750,000.

With Patsos, it’s hard not to see the connection between when this comes out and Siena’s recent struggles. After an underwhelming 17-17 mark in 2016-17, the Saints fell flat on their face with an 8-24 mark in 2017-18. Fans of the program were ready for a change, but a hefty buyout reportedly between $750k and $1.2 million stood in the way, especially for a school in not the best shape financially.

And now, a month after the season ended and days after rumors around the college basketball landscape of Pat Beilein being next in line at Siena began to surface, this report is released. Something smell fishy to you?

Siena and everyone who knows college basketball knew who they were hiring when they did this search. After all, they played against him for several years. Patsos is certainly old-school, a guy who was known to yell at kids. In short, if Siena was worried about a guy who would yell and scream at players because he might cross a line, Patsos was never the right candidate for the job. That’s not to say he wasn’t hireable, as he had done admirably at Loyola (MD) and is also known for the most part as a good guy who was well-liked by his players. But Siena clearly had no problem with taking on a guy who they knew would bring some antics along with him.

Yet now, when the school desperately wants out of a contract that they extended twice in Patsos’ first 3 seasons, this info leaks?

Siena made its own bed with this contract, as did UConn, Pitt, and Colorado State before them with big buyouts they couldn’t afford. If you didn’t want him there any more, pay him his buyout and go get Pat Beilein or whoever else you choose to hire. Don’t spend a month bargaining with him while you gather evidence of something that had been going on far before this season, then destroy his reputation and make him virtually unemployable by any Division 1 program.

Ask yourself this: would this story be out there if Siena went 24-8 this season? Or would there have been a quiet, behind-the-scenes reprimand, maybe a fine, and a story kept out of the spotlight?

Siena is better than this, and college basketball is better than this. In all 4 circumstances, the only cause these coaches are being fired for is not winning enough games.