Ideal Landing Spots for Top Available Transfers in the 2014 CBB Offseason

Kerry MillerCollege Basketball National AnalystApril 22, 2014

Ideal Landing Spots for Top Available Transfers in the 2014 CBB Offseason

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    Andrew Ferguson

    The list of college basketball players transferring this offseason is nearing 400 and will probably eclipse 500 by the end of the summer, but who are the 10 best available players and where are they likely to end up playing next?

    For the most part, the list of remaining "free agents" is cluttered with players who barely even saw the court this past season and are looking to downgrade to a school where they'll actually get to play. But there are quite a few gems still out there looking for a place to land.

    Eron Harris, formerly of West Virginia, is the cream of the remaining crop. Harris averaged 17.2 points per game last season, including a 27-point effort against Wisconsin and a 28-point game against Kansas. Even though he'll need to sit out the upcoming season, there are a lot of coaches who would kill to land Harris for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

    Should a team fail to get him, there are quite a few other quality shooting guards not far behind him on this list.

    The following slides are ranked in order of how capable each player is of carrying his yet-to-be-determined team to the next level. Years of eligibility remaining were also taken strongly into consideration, as a player with three college years left is inherently more valuable than the vast majority of seniors.

10. Ian Chiles

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Name: Ian Chiles

    Position: 6'1" shooting guard

    Previous school: IUPUI

    Remaining years of eligibility: One

    2013-14 stats: 15.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Louisville

    Chiles is one of those good players from a bad team who may or may not amount to anything at a quality program.

    IUPUI went 6-26 last season, and three of those wins came against D-II schools. By virtually every KenPom metric, the Jaguars were one of the worst 50 teams in the country.

    But they did have a shooting guard who attempted better than 14 field goals per game, making them with a fair degree of regularity (41.9 percent) despite being one of the only real scoring threats on the team.

    Chiles is from Louisville, and he will be immediately eligible to play wherever he decides to go, as he is graduating.

    Speaking of Louisville, Russ Smith's 13 field-goal attempts per game will no longer be on the court for the Cardinals and Kevin Ware has transferred to Georgia State.

    It's incredibly unlikely that he would start ahead of Chris Jones or Terry Rozier, but Chiles would provide some quality depth in the backcourt for a team that could be a backup shooting guard away from competing for another title.

9. Ronnie Johnson

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Name: Ronnie Johnson

    Position: 6'0" point guard

    Previous school: Purdue

    Remaining years of eligibility: Two

    2013-14 stats: 10.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.7 APG

    Projected decision: Return to Purdue

    When Johnson committed to Purdue, he thought he was going to go play with his brother at a winning program. The Boilermakers had been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 64 consecutive weeks and had advanced to the Sweet 16 in two of the previous three seasons.

    But since he signed his letter of intent in May of 2011, Purdue has not been ranked for one second. The Boilermakers have finished below .500 in each of Johnson's two seasons. And now that his brother is graduating, it's hard to blame him for wanting to leave West Lafayettedespite having a starting job at a Big Ten program.

    Purdue's loss will very likely be a gain for either Houston or Xavier, as those are listed as the two schools Johnson is considering.

    Each of those programs is dealing with a ton of unexpected turnover this offseason.

    For the Musketeers, top scorer Semaj Christon left for the NBA and second-leading scorer Justin Martin has announced his decision to transfer (just missing this top-10 list). They do have Indiana-transfer Remy Abell entering the fold this season, but they've still got a lot of holes to fill in order to compete in the Big East.

    Meanwhile, Houston is losing two of its three leading scorers from last season in Danuel House and TaShawn Thomasthe latter of which would absolutely be on this list if not for the weird circumstances surrounding his ability to transfer.

    Forced to choose between the two, Xavier seems to be the more logical fit. Houston lost some great forwards, but both of its primary guards were sophomores this season. Why would Johnson want to leave a starting job with a struggling Purdue team to potentially have to fight for a starting spot for a Houston team that is even further from national relevance?

    My guess/suggestion is that Johnson ultimately decides to return to Purdue. It has been a rough two years, but if he leaves he likely won't be guaranteed a winning season or a starting joband would have to sit out a year, too.

8. Matt Carlino

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Name: Matt Carlino

    Position: 6'2" shooting guard

    Previous school: BYU

    Remaining years of eligibility: One

    2013-14 stats: 13.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.7 SPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Marquette

    Wouldn't it just be fitting if Steve Wojciechowski landed a scrappy player like Carlino with his first major move as the new head coach at Marquette?

    Carlino led BYU in steals in each of the past two years. He led the Cougars in assists during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and this year he finished just five assists behind team-leader Kyle Collinsworth who played nearly 200 more minutes.

    He's definitely more of a scorer than Wojo ever was, but he seems like he would be a great fit for what figures to be an extremely young Marquette team.

    Before skipping town, Buzz Williams gave the Golden Eagles quite a haul of recruits over the past two signing periods. Their incoming class was rated in the top 20 last year and is back up there this year, as well.

    With six of the team's seven leading scorers graduating either this summer or next, Carlino could provide the leadership Marquette needs to get back to the NCAA tournament after this past season's hiatus.

7. Stevie Clark

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    Name: Stevie Clark

    Position: 5'11" point guard

    Previous school: Oklahoma State

    Remaining years of eligibility: Three

    2013-14 stats: 5.3 PPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Wichita State

    Clark can clearly play, but can he keep his head on straight?

    In his first four games as a freshman, Clark played 74 minutes, scoring 39 points and recording 20 assists. Granted, that was mostly garbage time in blowouts against weak teams, but he showed an undeniable ability to lead the team on the court.

    Off the court is another matter.

    In a span of less than three months, he was suspended from Oklahoma State for "violation of team rules" and arrested twice.

    He needs to find a coach who will keep him in line, and Wichita State's Gregg Marshall might be the man for the job.

    As far as the years of eligibility are concerned, it would be an incredible match. Clark would get to spend a year on the bench watching Tekele Cotton, Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker before spending his sophomore year as the first guard off the bench behind seniors VanVleet and Baker (should they stay four years). In Clark's last two years in school, it would be his show to run.

    And if any above-average program might be willing to take a risk on Clark, doesn't Wichita State make the most sense?

    Even after the 2013 Final Four run and the 35-0 start to the 2013-14 season, marquee recruits aren't exactly busting down the doors to play for the Shockers. According to, the only top-100 2015 recruit with Wichita State even listed as a school of interest is No. 77 Tevin Mack.

    Transfers are about the only pipeline for the future that the Shockers have right now, and Clark is the type of talent they could conceivably build around for the future.

6. Byron Wesley

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    Name: Byron Wesley

    Position: 6'5" small forward

    Previous school: USC

    Remaining years of eligibility: One

    2013-14 stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.9 SPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Michigan State

    In Wesley's three years at USC, the Trojans failed to win so much as 15 games in a season. Clearly, he wants to go play for a team that is actually still playing for something by the end of December.

    Considering Michigan State hasn't had a sub-.500 season since before he was born and is losing both its starting point guard (Keith Appling, graduating) and shooting guard (Gary Harris, early NBA draft entrant) this offseason, the Spartans seem like a logical place for Wesley to play his final collegiate season.

    He isn't much of a traditional shooting guardWesley only made 24 three-pointers all of last seasonbut having him and Branden Dawson on the court as guard/forward combos at the same time would be intriguing to say the least.

    The way things stand today, Michigan State is likely to have Matt Costello and Kenny Kaminski in the starting lineup with either Russell Byrd or Alvin Ellis III serving as the first player off the bench.

    No offense to any of those guys, but if the Spartans can immediately add a player like Wesley to their rotation for one seasonhe is graduating and will thus be able to play this coming seasonthey'd be stupid not to do it.

5. Ryan Anderson

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Name: Ryan Anderson

    Position: 6'8" power forward

    Previous school: Boston College

    Remaining years of eligibility: One

    2013-14 stats: 14.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.4 APG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Iowa State

    Anderson figures to be a hot commodity as the only player in the top 10 who is taller than 6'5". However, he has only one year of eligibility remaining, and he's having shoulder surgery while sitting out next season after transferring.

    Considering the high-scoring backcourt transfers who are available for multiple seasons, it's hard to rationalize putting Anderson any higher on this list.

    As seems to be the case with most marquee transfers, Iowa State is one of the favorites to land his services for the 2015-16 season.

    By then, the Cyclones' stable of forwards will mostly be gone. If Georges Niang leaves for the NBA after next season and if Abdel Nader never touches the court for Iowa State after a recent OWI charge, Jameel McKaywho has yet to play a D-I gamewould be the only current Cyclone taller than 6'4" still on the roster in 18 months.

    They'll undoubtedly add a couple more big men via transfer, but it's at least reasonably foreseeable that Anderson would be the focal point of Iowa State's frontcourt two years from now.

    Is there any other winning program for which that's the case? (Emphasis on "winning," because he would just stay at Boston College if he wasn't interested in making the NCAA tournament.)

4. Jarvis Haywood

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    Name: Jarvis Haywood

    Position: 6'4" shooting guard

    Previous school: Jacksonville

    Remaining years of eligibility: Two

    2013-14 stats: 16.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 SPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Cincinnati

    There's a good chance that you don't know who Haywood is.

    There's a better chance that you'll know him by the end of the 2015-16 season.

    Haywood didn't quite make it into the top 100 nationally in scoring this past year, but he did shoot better than 50 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from three-point range. There are only a handful of players in the country who did that while averaging better than 16 points per game.

    According to ESPN's transfer tracker, the four schools he is considering are Cincinnati, North Carolina State, Richmond and Temple.

    Cincinnati seems like a perfect fit for Haywood. With Sean Kilpatrick graduating this season, Ge'Lawn Guyn leaving next year and nothing but big guys in this year's recruiting class, Troy Caupain figures to be the only in-house option to play shooting guard two years from nowand he was neither heavily recruited last summer nor lights out this past season.

    If given enough minutes on a team where he isn't the only viable scoring option, Haywood could really be something special. We'll probably never mistake him for Kilpatrick, but if he ends up in Cincinnati, he could be as integral to the Bearcats' offense as SK2K was for these past few years.

3. Tevon Saddler

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Name: Tevon Saddler

    Position: 6'4" small forward

    Previous school: UNC-Greensboro

    Remaining years of eligibility: Three

    2013-14 stats: 12.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.3 SPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Butler

    Butler has evolved into something of a train station for transfers over the past two years.

    Last summer, three players left Butler. This summer, four more are leaving while two others (Tyler Lewis and Austin Etherington) have already committed to helping Butler figure out how to reload. The Bulldogs are also effectively getting a transfer as Roosevelt Jones will be back after missing the entire 2013-14 season due to injury.

    It was a season to forget for Butler. Over the previous eight seasons, the Bulldogs had won 75.7 percent of their games. Last year, they only won 45.2 percent.

    It shouldn't be long before they're back, though, and adding Saddler would be a huge boost.

    By the time Saddler is eligible to play in 2015-16, both Jones and Kellen Dunham will be seniors, and Etherington will have a year of play under his belt. Current point guard, Alex Barlow, will have just graduated, leaving Lewis as the de facto starter in his first year at the program.

    Saddler wouldn't help remedy Butler's lack of size, but he would be a great scoring threat as a sophomore and a potential team leader in his final two years of college.

2. Kareem Canty

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Name: Kareem Canty

    Position: 6'1" combo guard

    Previous school: Marshall

    Remaining years of eligibility: Three

    2013-14 stats: 16.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.2 RPG

    Projected decision: Transfer to South Florida

    From the sound of things, Canty is currently deciding between either Auburn or South Florida. Restricted to those two options, South Florida seems like the most logical landing spot for his services.

    The Bulls currently have a lot of guards on their roster, but the good ones will have graduated by the time Canty is eligible. They also have a good number of young, quality big men who would help give the team a solid inside-outside game for a few years.

    In an ideal world, though, I would have Canty transferring to Arizona State. The Sun Devils are going to be a hot mess in the upcoming season. Between graduations and Jahii Carson leaving for the NBA, they're losing their top four scorers and virtually everyone who was capable of grabbing a rebound.

    Canty could go in there and immediately become as much of a catalyst as Carson has been over the last two seasons.

    Wherever he ends up, it had better be with a coach who is either patient or can teach him a little more patience on the court. Canty averaged 15.2 field-goal attempts per game, and his points-per-shot ratio (1.07) was the worst among all players who attempted 420 or more field goals last year. Canty was also fourth in the nation in turnovers committed, averaging 3.7 per game.

    Granted, he was pretty much the beginning and the end of Marshall's offense once Elijah Pittman was dismissed from the team in December. If he becomes a better decision-maker once he is on a better team, he could end up being the best transfer of the summer.

1. Eron Harris

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Name: Eron Harris

    Position: 6'3" shooting guard

    Previous school: West Virginia

    Remaining years of eligibility: Two

    2013-14 stats: 17.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.6 APG

    Projected decision: Transfer to Purdue

    When Harris announced his intention to transfer, he mentioned wanting to be closer to home (Indianapolis), which rather limits our options in projecting his decision.

    Still, there are a lot of quality candidates.

    Though I'm projecting Butler to get Tevon Saddler, the Bulldogs would no doubt be thrilled to get Harris instead. They definitely need a shooting guard in the near future, and will be looking to add one on the open market.

    Another school relatively close to home for Harris is Cincinnati, which has already been mentioned here as a potential landing spot for another transferring shooting guard, Jarvis Haywood. Should the Bearcats whiff on Haywood, it's likely they would turn their attention to Harris.

    Indiana would be a great option if the Hoosiers weren't already reloading at shooting guard with incoming freshmen James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson.

    Of all of Harris' options, though, Purdue seems to make the most sense.

    Freshman Kendall Stephens led the Boilermakers in three-point shooting this past season, but the small forward is the only returning player who averaged better than 1.1 three-point attempts per gameunless Ronnie Johnson decides to come back (17-of-56 last year).

    Harris averaged 6.4 three-point attempts per game last season and made 42.2 percent of them.

    With Terone Johnson graduating and no clear-cut heir apparent to the starting shooting guard position, the job is Harris' for the taking. Should he accept, Purdue would be a serious threat in the B1G two years from now.


    Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.