College basketball’s free agent market is in full swing right now. Have a hole in your roster and need an immediate impact player? No problem. There’s probably a senior transfer out there available for a quick fix.
The rule that allows seniors to transfer and not sit out if they earn their undergrad degree first has some high-profile players on the market. These are the best available and where they could land.
Tarik Black, former Memphis power forward
Considering: Oregon, Duke and Kansas (according to Zagsblog.com)
Where Black Fits: All three teams have a need for an experienced big man.
This one season for Black is like a tryout for the NBA, as he’s always been an intriguing prospect who hasn’t quite proven himself. The main reason to consider Kansas would be Bill Self’s ability to develop big men.
The drawback at KU is competition. Bill Self has plenty of talent in the frontcourt, but it’s all pretty green. Perry Ellis is a lock to start at the 4 spot, and Black would have to compete with incoming freshman Joel Embiid and sophomore-to-be Jamari Traylor for the other starting spot.
According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Kansas could be in the lead.
Gary Parrish @GaryParrishCBS
For what it's worth, when I ask sources about Tarik Black now I'm hearing Kansas more often as a likely destination.5/20/2013, 5:51:05 PM
If it’s guaranteed playing time that Black wants, the better options would be Duke or Oregon.
Black would likely be the starter next to transfer Rodney Hood at Duke. Mike Krzyzewski returns two post players who were part of the rotation last year—Josh Hairston and Amile Jefferson—and both are probably better suited coming off the bench.
The school that would guarantee Black the most playing time is Oregon, where Dana Altman has already begun rebuilding his frontcourt with UNLV transfer Mike Moser.
Altman had success last year with Arsalan Kazemi, another one-and-done transfer big man. That shows that he's more than willing to put Moser and Black in his starting lineup right away. The Ducks return a talented backcourt, but they didn’t have much coming back up front.
Considering the impact Black could make, Oregon seems to make the most sense. But if he's looking for one solid year of development at a big man-friendly program, Kansas is a solid choice.
Antonio Barton, former Memphis guard
Considering: Maryland and Tennessee (according to the Baltimore Sun)
Where Barton Fits: Both schools were bubble teams last season that need a guard because of their own guys transferring out.
At Maryland, Barton would compete with incoming freshman point guard Roddy Peters, who is ranked as the 10th-best point guard in the 2013 class by Rivals.com.
At Tennessee, Barton could take the place of starting point guard Trae Golden, whose unexpected transfer is on the fishy side if this report by Jimmy Hyams of the "Sports Animal" in Knoxville is the reason why Golden departed.
Both teams have some intriguing talent on their roster, but the Vols could be the team that’s one player away from making some noise in their league. Tennessee returns three all-league guys in Jordan McRae, Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon. Maymon had to sit out last season because of a knee injury.
Since Golden’s transfer kind of came out of nowhere, the best spot for Barton to guarantee himself playing time and the chance to play for a contender is at Tennessee.
Michael Dixon, Missouri
Considering: East Carolina, Baylor, Colorado and Loyola Marymount (according to Jason King of ESPN.com)
Where Dixon Fits: It’s not a given that Dixon would be allowed to play right away.
Dixon missed last season after he was kicked off the team when an MU student accused him of rape, which, as recently reported by the Columbia Tribune, the police decided not to press charges.
Dixon, who has one year of eligibility remaining, has yet to complete his undergraduate coursework. But he's still hoping to receive a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play immediately at his new school.
If Dixon wants to go to a team where he can be the star and put up a lot of points, East Carolina and Loyola Marymount make sense. ECU graduates its two leading scorers. Loyola Marymount went 1-15 in the WCC last year.
What makes more sense for Dixon if he wants to be back in the spotlight is to go to Baylor or Colorado.
The Buffs already have a talented backcourt with Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker. Dixon could start alongside those two, moving Dinwiddie to the 3 spot, and allowing the Buffs to play fast, which is the pace best-suited for all three guards.
Dixon can also play point guard, and that’s where he could fit in at Baylor. Scott Drew has a lot of talent returning, but his team will be unproven at point guard. Dixon could fill that role or slide over to the 2 if JUCO transfer point guard Kenny Cherry turns out to be a talent similar to Pierre Jackson, who was also a JUCO transfer.
Drew has a lot to sell, but it could be wise for Dixon to stay away from the Big 12—opposing fan bases are plenty familiar with his story. Colorado seems like a good fit.