Albany grad transfer and KU target Joe Cremo commits to Villanova
After five visits to some of the best programs in college basketball, University of Albany shooting guard Joe Cremo on Tuesday morning announced that the opportunity to join the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats was too good to pass up.
The 6-foot-4 Cremo, who shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range during his three seasons at Albany, announced his commitment to Villanova via Twitter, saying, "After thinking it over and talking to my family and friends, I've decided that I'm going to be committing to the University of Villanova for the last year of my career. ... I want to thank all the coaches that recruited me throughout this process and invested their time in me. I truly appreciate it."
Cremo's decision to stay close to his Scotia, N.Y., home — Villanova's campus is about four hours away while KU's is about 19 hours away — leaves the Jayhawks with one remaining scholarship to hand out to fill out its roster for the 2018-19 season.
KU coach Bill Self has said throughout the early stages of this offseason that he would like to add another shooter to the roster to help offset the loss of the team's top four 3-point shooters from last season, who accounted for 94.4 percent of KU's 3-point makes during the 2017-18 team's run to the Final Four.
Adding such a piece could be tricky, however, because the Jayhawks, outside of 3-point shooting, have quality depth in their backcourt despite the loss of four starting guards from last season's team.
Five-star freshmen Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes appear ready to start right away and sophomore Marcus Garrett, who started seven games and played in all 39 as a true freshman, will be joined by Cal transfer Charlie Moore, under-the-radar freshman Ochai Agbaji and former Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe.
Finding playing time on a team that likely will play more three-guard/two-big sets than it has in the past two seasons could be tough for a late addition and likely played a role in Cremo's decision.
The Albany guard said in early April that he wanted to go somewhere he deemed to be a good fit, where he could compete for serious playing time. Cremo picked Villanova over Kansas, Texas, Gonzaga and Creighton.
While it seems likely that Self and company will continue to mine the graduate transfer pool in an attempt to fill that final spot, there are a handful of unsigned players still available in the 2018 recruiting class, three sitting in the Rivals150 rankings.
However, none of those three — No. 11 Jordan Brown (6-10, 220 PF), No. 123 Emmitt Matthews (6-7, 180, SF) and No. 148 Isaac Likekele (6-5, 195 SG) — fit the profile of what Kansas is looking for.
With the KU roster set up well in terms of numbers — potentially six deep in the backcourt and six deep up front if Udoka Azubuike returns and you count K.J. Lawson as a forward — the remaining scholarship could be used in a variety of ways.
They could find a grad transfer like Cremo. Matt Mooney, of the University of South Dakota, and Brock Stull, of Milwaukee, are two names to keep an eye on there.
They could give it to a red-shirt transfer like they did with Malik Newman, the Lawson brothers and Charlie Moore. Remember, transfer numbers are way up these days and continuing to rise. The big center from Florida State (Ike Obiagu) is one of the most intriguing options on that front.
They also could give it to a late 2018 project type of player. They could hold onto it in case the need for it pops up down the road. (Think a 2019 prospect reclassifying or something like that). Or they could go searching for a diamond in the rough and gamble on a player who has not yet received the kind of pub and hype that most KU recruits come with.
The options are plenty. We just now know that Joe Cremo is not one of them.