Saturday, December 27, 2014

Alarming’ trend: Number of college basketball transfers on the rise

The Kansas University basketball players who have transferred to other schools in the Bill Self era are, top row from left: David Padgett, Omar Wilkes, Alex Galindo, Nick Bahe (non-scholarship player); middle row, from left: Micah Downs, Quintrell Thomas, Royce Woolridge, Merv Lindsay; and bottom row from left, Andrew White III, Zach Peters (first gave up basketball, then elected to play again and has since retired again), Rio Adams and Conner Frankamp. Not pictured: Milton Doyle, who never played a game for KU.

The Kansas University basketball players who have transferred to other schools in the Bill Self era are, top row from left: David Padgett, Omar Wilkes, Alex Galindo, Nick Bahe (non-scholarship player); middle row, from left: Micah Downs, Quintrell Thomas, Royce Woolridge, Merv Lindsay; and bottom row from left, Andrew White III, Zach Peters (first gave up basketball, then elected to play again and has since retired again), Rio Adams and Conner Frankamp. Not pictured: Milton Doyle, who never played a game for KU.



Journal-World File Photos

The Kansas University basketball players who have transferred to other schools in the Bill Self era are, top row from left: David Padgett, Omar Wilkes, Alex Galindo, Nick Bahe (non-scholarship player); middle row, from left: Micah Downs, Quintrell Thomas, Royce Woolridge, Merv Lindsay; and bottom row from left, Andrew White III, Zach Peters (first gave up basketball, then elected to play again and has since retired again), Rio Adams and Conner Frankamp. Not pictured: Milton Doyle, who never played a game for KU.

KU transfers

Here’s a list of KU players who have transferred to other schools in the Bill Self era: David Padgett, Omar Wilkes, Alex Galindo, Nick Bahe (non-scholarship player), Micah Downs, Quintrell Thomas, Royce Woolridge, Merv Lindsay, Andrew White III, Zach Peters (first gave up basketball, then elected to play again and has since retired again), Rio Adams and Conner Frankamp. Also: Milton Doyle, who never played a game for KU.

The players who have transferred to KU during Self’s reign: Rodrick Stewart, Jeff Withey, Justin Wesley, Kevin Young, Tarik Black, Hunter Mickelson.’s Jeff Goodman, who tracks transfers, reports that a record 625 college basketball players left their schools for perceived greener pastures — or were encouraged by their coaches to perhaps move on in search of playing time — last offseason.

That’s an upward trend from 291 players in 2011 and 450 in 2013.

Whatever the reasons, players are on the move each and every offseason, sometimes during the season. KU lost sophomore Conner Frankamp to transfer (Wichita State) as the Jayhawks were preparing for the first exhibition game of the 2014-15 campaign.

“Kids are transferring at alarming rates,” KU coach Bill Self said recently of the number of transfers in general. He stressed he was not speaking of any one individual but the situation as a whole. “People want to put blame on coaches or programs or whatever that there are more transfers than there ever have been. It’s a societal change. It’s the same thing if kids are not working out great at one high school, parents move them to different high schools.

“It’s amazing how many kids we recruited attend three to four high schools for those reasons. The way it is set up as far as a society deal is, when it gets kind of hard, we take a different path, direction instead of fighting through it.

“I’m not speaking of Conner at all,” he stressed, adding, “people want instant gratification. It’s that way in recruiting. We used to recruit, and kids would pick schools because ‘I want to be part of Kansas or Oklahoma State or Texas.’ Now it’s, ‘I want to be part of that, but am I going to be able to play as a freshman, start as a freshman?’ The way it’s set up, kids feel they haven’t accomplished anything or semi-failed if they haven’t gotten that done early in their career.”

One controversial rule that KU took advantage of during the 2013-14 season in signing Memphis senior Tarik Black is one that allows players who have graduated to transfer and not have to sit out a season.

An underclassman who transfers must sit out a year in accordance with NCAA rules.

“Nobody is opposed to transferring. What people are opposed to is having kids graduate and get an exemption where they are immediately eligible,” Self said. “Tarik is somebody we benefited from the rule. When he left Memphis, he was open recruitment because he graduated from Memphis.”

Despite the fact Black was a rotation player who helped KU greatly and used his season as a springboard to the NBA — where he was a contributor before being waived by the Houston Rockets — Self remains convinced even graduate transfers should sit a season.

“If a young man were to red-shirt and develop at a mid-major and after his fourth year of college has one year left, he’s open-market,” Self said. “That to us (in coaching fraternity) is not good when you are recruiting kids off other kids’ campuses.

“We are talking to be able to transfer and have the waiver to be eligible immediately. Kids like Tarik ... if they were to transfer, sit a year and play a year. Two years gives them a closer opportunity to (obtaining) a masters degree. The immediate eligibility is an issue with coaches. I think it brings a lot of things into our game negative more than positive.”

Colorado coach/former KU player Tad Boyle agrees with Self regarding immediate eligibility of grad-student transfers.

“The intent of the rule is a good one. The execution is a farce. It’s a black eye on our game,” Boyle told the Denver Post.

If the graduate transfer had to sit a year like other transfers, “It would make kids think hard about it and it would make schools who are bringing those kids in think hard about it,” Boyle added to the Post.

ESPN’s Dick Vitale has chimed in, writing that “college basketball has been plagued by the transfer bug. It is turning into an epidemic. ... Look, I get it. A coach leaves, he goes to a new school and gets a financial boost plus all the goodies — a beautiful new car, a country club membership. And the kid wants the same option. As it stands right now, if a kid wants out, he has to get a release or he has to sit out a year. I have my own feelings on that.

“If a school grants a kid a release because the coach sees the player isn’t going to play for him and it would be best for him to go elsewhere, that kid should be able to play right away,” Vitale adds. “Now, if a coach feels a kid is vital to a team and doesn’t want to lose him, I think he should have to sit. I know several coaches are upset with what is going on now. I have heard mid-major coaches scream when some high-major programs were poaching the players the mid-major had developed. I wish this wasn’t an issue plaguing the sport I love.”

The NCAA is looking into the transfer matter. President Mark Emmert formed a subcommittee to study the issue, about which most big-time coaches have an opinion.

“There are a lot of reasons for it: Some could be (the right) fits, style or whatever. A lot of it could also be, ‘I’m not playing as much as I want to play. I want to go somewhere the grass is greener, so to speak.’ The national averages are, somebody is going to leave,” Self said.

“I don’t think there are people out there trying to coax players out of programs. The antennas do go up with this rule that guys are transferring entering their senior year. ‘Will he be eligible, this or that?’ Guys (coaches) are looking for immediate help,” Self added.

“In the springtime, programs are scrambling. Maybe they didn’t get who they wanted in the early period. Transferring is fine. I think the transfer should sit. If we are concerned about academics, why wouldn’t you want to get two years out of it instead of one?”

Noted Michigan State’s Tom Izzo to “It’s a vicious circle, and it’s one of the things I’m very disappointed in our game about to be blunt and honest with you. I think we’ve got to find a solution. You wonder why it’s harder to discipline kids nowadays, they’ve got 20 people telling them ‘Well if you don’t like it just leave.’

“These guys have done something where they just feel like the smaller programs, if you play well there you’re going to move up or definitely as a fifth-year guy you’re going to leave.”


Hank Cross 5 years, 5 months ago

If coaches are allowed to force players out, I see no reason why players can't transfer and play immediately.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 5 months ago

I've got to disagree with Self and the other coaches regarding the graduate transfer situation. If a guy has earned his degree and fulfilled multiple years toward a school, he has earned his right to make a choice what and where he wants to commence his "graduate studies". However, I would LOVE to have Black on this year's team, which has zero leadership.

The coaches should concentrate with the NBA to the OAD rule. Baseball provides a great example of a workable solution.

Houston taking Josh Smith over Black is a mind numbing decision. I'd love to see Black go up to MN to re-team with Wiggins.

Robert Rauktis 5 years, 5 months ago

Agree. If they graduate, why can't they go to other opportunities? The rest of the student population can. That's what uni's are supposed to do.

Can't wait till Cal manipulates this. Is he a consiglieri to a NY family?

And Black will land standing. No worries.

Joe Joseph 5 years, 5 months ago

This team would benefit from having Tarick Black - no question. But I believe you're putting him on a bit of a pedestal that he may not quite deserve.

Benz Junque 5 years, 5 months ago

Last year's team didn't have much leadership, either and Black played on that team.

Steve Corder 5 years, 5 months ago

Okay, transfers are increasing. So what is alarming about choice of schools and potential playing time elsewhere for kids that what to up-grade?

It's time to pull the amateur vail off these institutions of higher finance and realize that college athletics is as much about business as education.

Excuse me, but some of these comments take on the tenor of some of the sentiments expressed by those Major League Baseball owners decrying free agency in the 70s.

Time for free agency in college athletics. Where's the next Curt Flood?

Competition anyone?

John Randall 5 years, 5 months ago

Vail, vale, veil – another set of homonyms with vastly different meanings. Vail isn't even a noun.

Benz Junque 5 years, 5 months ago

If you want to be the grammar police, "Vail" is a proper noun as it refers to a unique location.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

Two things I have felt for sometime, which is that players need to be in college for 2 years playing basketball because the OAD rule is a joke. You are asking a 19 year old kid to play among men and play well, but we all know typically that kid doesn't really start blossoming until he is around 22, which is about when he would have been a senior anyway. People will counter this argument kids that should be able to leave and make money when they want, which I get, but making sure that these kids will succeed in the next level should also be taken in account because their growth between their freshman and sophomore years is typically monumental. People who graduate with specific degrees have to be ready for the job world, well in this case the NBA etc would be making sure that players coming in are better prepared to succeed and that is fair to ask that they play for 2 years before coming to the NBA. Now, if they don't want to go to college then the NBA should develop the D League and these same high school seniors can be drafted, but must play in the D League for 2 years before they can go to the NBA if they really need money, but as we all know they wouldn't be getting paid like they will until they make it to the NBA.

Secondly, the transfer rule is a joke because coaches can leave without punishment so a way to fix this is let a kid transfer only once without punishment, i.e. he doesn't have to sit out a year, but a compromise could be he only sits out a semester. The graduates who transfer I don't see reason to change this rule though.

Joe Joseph 5 years, 5 months ago

These kids are legally adults and adults should be able to make the decision to establish themselves financially. If an 18-year-old straight out of high school wants to play in the NBA and enter the draft he should be allowed to. However, if he doesn't hire an agent, and doesn't get drafted in the 1st round (guaranteed money), he should be allowed the option to attend the school of his choosing.

I also believe that those who commit to a university need to honor that commitment. Forget two years. If you commit to a university you should be there for at least 3.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

I can agree with the 3 years, but not getting drafted in June and trying to go to a major college is going to create new issues because some schools such as Kentucky lol, will find a way to get kids out of school to bring in a top talent in June. Basically, the late signing period would become a nightmare.

This is why I like the idea of letting high school kids getting drafted, but having to play at the D league for 2 years or in your case 3 before they can play in the NBA. This would give credence to the D League and give another option to kids financially since that is what the major issue is. Either way this is a sticky issue and the NCAA needs to understand that student/athletes are not what they were years ago.

Benz Junque 5 years, 5 months ago

And the owners of NBA franchises should be able to determine the requirements necessary for entry into their organization. If I WANT to work for a hospital as a surgeon, should I be allowed to? Even if I have the physical capabilities to perform all of the tasks involved in being a surgeon?

Joe Joseph 5 years, 5 months ago

NBA execs do determine the requirements necessary for entry to their respective organizations. They choose whether to draft an athlete or not draft an athlete. They're not going to sign anyone they don't feel is going to benefit their program. If they don't want to take a risk on a teenager, they won't sign one.

And yes, Benz, if you have the credentials to work as a surgeon you should be allowed to work as a surgeon. However, any hospital has the right not to hire you...... Not sure your analogy really works.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

I think what Benz means is making sure athletes are ready to succeed at the next level once they leave college. By making a player stay in college for 2 years rather than 1 the NBA is saying that college players will be better prepared for the NBA. Just like the NBA can decide whether to draft someone a hospital can decide whether to hire a potential surgeon. Are we talking apples and oranges here? Absolutely, but better preparing an athlete still has its merits. Football players stay 3 years before they can decide to declare, and me personally, basketball players should have to stay 2 years, even though 3 would be even better.

Larry Jackson 5 years, 5 months ago

Almost every KU transfer ended up in oblivion never to be heard from again. The only 1 I was truly sorry to see leave was Alex Galindo. He appeared to have a tremendous upside. Does anyone happen to know whatever became of him?

Joe Joseph 5 years, 5 months ago

He finished his collegiate career at Florida International. According to statsheet, he averaged about 14 ppg and shot about 35% from three his last 3 seasons of eligibility.

Wikipedia says he's playing for a pro team in Puerto Rico as well as playing for the Puerto Rican national team.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 5 months ago

I'll put my Bill Self fanboy credentials up against anyone's, but on this I just think he's wrong. The transfer rule that affected Tarik Black is something Coach and Tad Boyle dislike not because it's hurting the game or hurting the kid, they dislike it because it's hurting THEM. Which I totally understand. I want things in my job that maybe benefit only me but aren't necessarily good for anyone else. But here, when a, what the NCAA fetishistically calls a "student-athlete," fulfills his responsibility as an actual STUDENT, the coach is a good deal more concerned with his responsibilities as a PLAYER.

Again, I get it. But this is about coaches being in control of the players they helped develop for the longest period of time possible for the greatest benefit of the coach and his program. How on earth would it have benefitted Tarik Black to have made him either go back to Memphis for grad school or to have made him sit out a year before attending grad school at KU? It wouldn't have, of course. Not in the least. Black played basketball at Memphis long enough to earn his degree and now, despite having fulfilled his end of the bargain, coaches want to squeeze more service out of him but only for "his benefit," of course. Sorry to make you go back to a school that maybe you've outgrown or to keep you from playing at a new one that might help in your development, but we promise that this is for your own good.

Are there too many other transfers like Frankamp? I dunno, maybe. It's all fine and good for a coach lime Izzo to say that it's harder to discipline a kid when all he has to do is leave, but, again, it seems that the coach is responsible for making the player understand why he needs to do things a certain way. You know, maybe COACH him a little bit?

I also agree that the OAD rule is ridiculous, but the fact is that the NBA is gonna do what it thinks is best for itself. They do not have to cooperate with the NCAA. But what a lot of people fail to grasp is that the NCAA doesn't have to cooperate with the NBA either, and the NBA is dependent on the NCAA as it's primary labor source. So what the NCAA should do is change the rule and allow a kid back into school if they still have eligibility left and aren't selected in a place they like or by a team for which they want to play. And if the school doesn't have a place for him, he can transfer out. Do you think the NBA would take so many chances on kids knowing that the kid could just go back to school? What if KU could have (if they wanted, and maybe they wouldn't have) had another year with Josh Selby after he fell as far as he did? You don't think that would be a little leverage to use back against the NCAA? I certainly do.

Robert Brock 5 years, 5 months ago

Transfers should never be granted immediate eligibility. They should have to sit out a year no matter what the reason for their transfer. That would slow down the volume of transfers and MIGHT make students (and their parents) be a bit more selective to begin with.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 5 months ago

IMO college basketball has lost its amateur status and I would be opposed to any rule that eliminates an incentive for athletes to graduate. Making a player sit out a season after graduating seems counter intuitive to me.

John Randall 5 years, 5 months ago

You are adding to the confusion about which rules come from where. OAD is purely of/for/by the NBA. The transfer rules for coaches are contractual. Player transfers are governed by NCAA requirements, conference regulations, school policies. Allowing schools to drop players from scholarship without cause is simply immoral. Restricting a transfer's choice of destination is little better, as is barring them from competition for longer than the current season. Placing the burden for legal challenges to these policies solely on student-athletes shouldn't be necessary either. The NCAA, conferences and individual universities by and large are no better than the teenagers at honoring their responsibilities – in some cases, 'what can I get away with' trumps 'what should be done'. Welcome to the real world.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately, it hasn't slowed down transfers. On the other hand if a coach leaves then players should be able to also. There are many variables here to consider and no one will be happy. It is the nature of the beast, and the NCAA doesn't always look at what is fair, but its pocket book.

Maurice E. King III 5 years, 5 months ago

I totally disagree with Bill Self and Tom Izzo. If a player has done the work to graduate and has eligibility remaining he absolutely has earned the right to move on without penalty. Additionally, it is the head coaches job to communicate with each player to develop him and let him know his value and role on the team. Bill Self failed to play Frankamp enough in the 2013-2014 regular season then panicked in the post season when it was lose and go home and was forced to play him (Frankamp). Recruits at the top level do not plan on being in college 4 years, so playing 5-10 minutes per game is not what they are looking for. Calipari knows this....results speak for themselves.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 5 months ago

What great comments on both sides of a difficult set of issues. You all have obviously given this considerable thought. I enjoy reading top notch debate because we all learn something from it.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

This is not an easy topic to digest because if there is a change to the rule then I would not be surprised if a new set of issues is opened that no one will see coming.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 5 months ago

Fans may not like the OAD rule but both the NBA and colleges are profiting from it. The NBA is the beneficiary of a free farm system courtesy of college basketball. Most of these kids are not ready to play in the NBA so any additional development at the college level is beneficial to the league. Most are drafted because of their potential. If there was an MLB type farm system most of these kids would be playing minor league ball before playing in the NBA. The colleges are benefitting from it as well. Even if fans would like to see their high school phenom play more than a season at the college level, whatever school he goes to will generate interest, sell tickets, get his team televised and take them to the tournament. It’s a win win.

Robert Brock 5 years, 5 months ago

What? OAD has basically ruined college basketball.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree, it has ruined the game for the fans but the NBA and colleges have not been hurt by it.

Bert White 5 years, 5 months ago

Don't know if it's because he never did 'transfer' and instead opted to go pro, but Naadir Tharpe could be added to the list of people whom transferred from KU under the Coach Self era since he initially said he had planned on transferring when he left before finally going pro (oddly enough much further away from his daughter (unless he took her with him) and being closer to her was his "reason" for wanting to transfer).

Mike Riches 5 years, 5 months ago

I had the same thought about CJ Giles. I guess since he was dismissed before transferring, he wasn't included...

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 5 months ago

The rise in transfers is because kids want instant gratification and want playing time handed to them. They don't want to earn it. The vast majority of kids have to sit out a season anyway so that's clearly not a deterrent standing in the way of transferring.

I also agree with Self that graduate transfers should sit a year as well. Most of the graduate transfers don't have an NBA future and because masters programs are typically 2 year programs, the vast majority will leave their new school with a masters degree. They will also have opportunities in the real world because they will have a second set of boosters that can hook them up post graduation.

There's no easy fix to this issue because it's a societal issue more than anything else.

Brian Skelly 5 years, 5 months ago

The concept that kids shouldnt have more leeway after graduating as joke. They've (bleeping) graduated!!! Isnt that what we want?

It should be a free for all after they have graduated. Isnt that what happened to those of us who did? Why shouldnt it be for them as well?

The reality to what has happened is that coaches have also found out that transfers, even from lesser schools or lower ranked prospects tend to be more polished -- sometimes exponentially -- than kids coming out of H.S. For all the coach speak of 'hating' this, there doesnt seem to be enough of an movement to change it. At least not yet.

Making kids sit a year (or two semesters) is fine for those who are still undergrads. I dont see why folks are so up in arms about them leaving after they graduated. That sounds like ivory tower talk there.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

Graduating student athletes from college? That is crazy talk Brian.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 5 months ago

I think the schools have very little control over this, neither does the NCAA with the guidelines that are set for the players. The two main elements that will keep players on your roster are can you get them to their next goal as a student and or a player, and can you provide the environment to do that.

That could be an education which could be combined with a professional career anywhere in the world, or drafted by the NBA.

The environment at KU, with the new apartments, will be as good or better than anyone else. The education offering, assistance, strength development, arena, practice facility and overall program perspective from the country are all in place.

I think if you want to keep and attack top talent KU could do two things.

A) Add a few quality, skill specific coaches. I am not aware of any restrictions on how many coaches you can have on your staff. If we can I would add a known (NBA Pro who wants to coach college) guard development coach with a history of getting players to the pros. Someone who can attrack top guards because of what they can offer from a player development level. Secondly I would add a Post Coach with the same elements as the guard coach. Someone known like Danny was, who has been there done that and can help with recruiting players. Use these top level coaches for specific skill set development. It would cost you but it might be worth it if they can always be a draw for the top talent where we our lacking currently. I do not have any specific issues with our current assistants but did any of them play for a long time in the NBA? Even if a player was not getting a lot of PT they would be getting NBA development work to help them get to their goals.
B) I do not think our coach can change his system, which is obviously successful why would he, so we need to change our philosophy so we become a destination visit for guards and big men who want to play professionally. We need to be able offer NBA and International Scouts some events that would sit us apart from the rest of the teams. I was not a big fan of the KY combine, but it worked. A few things over and above what we do now so players would want to stick around, or specifically come here due to what we offer. Something on the International level could give those players without a lot of PT a place to showcase themselves.

Just a couple of ideas, this is a difficult subject but at least this would be different.

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