Soon – very soon – we’ll put together an article that doesn’t deal with transfers.
But not today.
The NEC continues to get crushed with transfers. Former St. Francis PA big man Josh Nebo just committed to Texas A&M. He’s one of several guys I would expect to land in a Power 5 conference.
Mount St. Mary’s Mawdo Sallah, a formidable shot blocker, received his release from the school on Friday. When you couple that with LIU’s Nura Zanna, St. Francis Brooklyn freshman Robert Montgomery and Nebo, the NEC has lost some very formidable shot blockers.
We’re already up to 387 transfers in Division I basketball, according to Verbal Commits. Last year, they tracked more than 800 transfers. I had 30 of those transfers coming from the NEC. Robert Morris (7) led the way, but LIU and Central Connecticut State both had four. The Blackbirds also lost sophomore guard Martin Hermannsson last offseason, as he opted to play pro ball overseas. St. Francis PA was the only team not affected.
Right now, I have the NEC at 17 transfers, with Robert Morris (4) and Mount St. Mary’s (3) getting hit the hardest.
And when it comes to power 5 guys, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Zanna and/or Isaiah Still land at a Power 5 school. I think a team will look at Zanna’s size and try and mold him strictly into a shot blocker and rebounder off the bench.
It should be noted that Zanna wasn’t ever really the shot blocker anyone expected him to be. His block percentage of 1.4 percent was not nationally ranked on KenPom. He finished 24th in shot blocking percentage in NEC play this year. But he certainly has the size and length, improved as a low-post scorer and was arguably the best rebounder in conference play.
I think I made my thoughts on Still pretty clear in this article. In my opinion, I’m not sure the talent level is there to be a starting guard at a Power 5 conference. But he’s young, has good size and is improving. Someone will look at that and take a chance on him. I’m just not sure who yet.
Bryant’s Nirse Zouzoua almost certainly will end up in a Power 5 conference, too.
I suggest you read this article from Chris Mueller on the Beaver County-Times, which goes very in-depth on the topic and shares some really interesting quotes from former Robert Morris guard Velton Jones and current athletic director Craig Coleman. This excerpt piqued my interest the most:
Coleman believes this generational shift has caused a majority of college basketball players at the mid-major level to believe they’re capable of making it to the NBA if seen by the right person at the right time. Philadelphia 76ers guard and Chartiers Valley High School graduate T.J. McConnell transferred from Duquesne to Pac-12 powerhouse Arizona for his final two seasons of eligibility. As an undersized guard at Duquesne, would he have been given the same NBA looks?
“If a kid like Isaiah or Marcquise or Rodney points to (McConnell) and says this transfer is his ticket to the NBA? OK, that’s one example,” said Coleman. “It will be interesting to see if the kids that have left us in the last three years make it to the NBA. We’ll find out, and then we can say to our kids, ‘They’re telling you have a better chance to make it (at a Power 5 school), but it hasn’t happened so far.’”
RMU also lost guard Lorenzen Wright Jr., who will be immediately eligible this season. Wright led the team in 3-point percentage at 35 percent but really didn’t bring a whole lot else to the table. Don’t take that as a knock on him. Some guys are just 3-point specialists and that should land him a nice gig somewhere. But the sky definitely isn’t falling.
Robert Morris has PG Jon Williams, SF Koby Thomas, SF Chris Coalmon and PF Charles Bain coming in as freshmen. Former Akron point guard Josh Williams, Jon’s brother, will have to sit out a year after transferring in.
With the four transfers and graduations of Kavon Stewart, Aaron Tate, Billy Giles and Conrad Stephens, Verbal Commits has RMU with three spots open and 14 open offers.
I touched on this before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if two of the three remaining spots were JUCO guys and attacked the backcourt. I love the returning backcourt guys but depth is a serious concern. With the transfer of Wright, the team could really use a knock-down shooter who spreads the floor.