It is easy to forget about transfers in the world of NCAA basketball. Due to NCAA rules, when a player transfers they are usually forced to sit out a year of playing. So the story goes from the jubilation of securing the transfer to playing out a year without him, to the realization that, oh yeah, the player is finally on the team.
This year, with the recruiting classes of Kansas, Duke and Kentucky generating most of the pre-season hype, it's once again easy to forget that there are some transfers who are primed to make big impacts on their new teams.
Let's take a look at some of the names that will be worth the wait this year (in no particular order).
T.J. McConnell (Duquesne to Arizona)
A lot has been made of Sean Miller's incoming freshman this year. Aaron Gordon is already generating comparisons to Derrick Williams, and Rondae Jefferson is one of the top defensive players in the class of 2013. Miller went with transfer point guard Mark Lyons last year and it worked out pretty well. T.J. McConnell, when added to the scoring abilities of the rest of the team, really has a chance to shine.
Lyons averaged 15.6 points a game last year for the Wildcats, but also took almost 12 shots a game. He was always a shoot-first guard and it showed in his 2.8 assists per game last year. McConnell averaged 5.5 assists in 2012, and that number should only go up with the caliber of scorers he has at his disposal.
McConnell also has a hot hand on defense, averaging 2.8 steals a game in both his college years. In 2010-2011 that was good for fourth in the nation, and third in his sophomore year. With Jefferson already harrying players all over the court, McConnell will probably be making big plays on both ends of the court late into March.
Rodney Hood (Mississippi State to Duke)
One of the more amazing Mike Krzyzewski stats is that during his 34 seasons as the Duke Blue Devils head coach, only four players have transferred to that school. Coach K. runs a tight ship, so you have to pretty much be the second coming of Seth Curry to land in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
For all the buzz that Jabari Parker is getting, a lot of people are saying Rodney Hood is just as good. At least that is what N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried told the News & Record.
"There's a lot of attention around Jabari Parker, but wait until you see Rodney Hood," Gottfried said. "He's that good. They're loaded."
Hood will pair up with his 6'8 teammate in Parker to make Duke one of the bigger match-up nightmares in all of college basketball. As a freshman at Mississippi State, Hood averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. He has a smooth jumper and stellar ball control, averging just 0.9 turnovers a game in close to 33 minutes of play.
He'll fit in perfectly at Duke, where the Blue Devils are known for just getting the job done without a whole lot of showmanship. As For Whom the Cowbell Tools wrote after Hood announced his transfer, his mindset is part of what makes him a rare basketball player, and exactly the personality Coach K. covets.
Rodney Hood was a kid with character. He was the rare combination of a player who was ultra talented, driven, and down to earth. He didn't seem to get the big head, he seemed to keep a level head about him and had a work man's mentality.
Gerard Coleman (Providence to Gonzaga)
Gerard Coleman goes directly into the starting five at Gonzaga at the wing. He'll compliment his team quite well next year, as Gonzaga will be changing its identity a bit after losing its frontcourt in Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk.
Coleman averaged 13.2 points and 5.0 rebounds a game for Providence and was known as a lanky player who could slash his way to the rim and finish when he got there. He'll fit in nicely with the backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell as the Bulldogs make the transition to a more guard-oriented approach this season.
One of Coleman's big knocks is his lack of perimeter shooting (he only made 5-of-21 three-point attempts his sophomore year), but he'll have Pangos and Bell to pick up that slack. That should leave Coleman to what he does best, somehow making his way to the rim through a net of defenders. He is also stellar on defense, quite possibly ending up as the best defender on the team, and the team won't lose much when he sits as Bell will fill in nicely on that end of the court.
Josh Davis (Tulane to San Diego State)
It isn't every day you have a player who averaged 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds a game knocking at your door, and that is exactly what Aztecs coach Steve Fisher got in Josh Davis. It was a big win for San Diego State, who after losing much of their perimeter last year were going to be a more frontcourt oriented team this year.
The Aztecs still have plenty of talent in the frontcourt, but Davis' impact will be felt now as well as in the near future.In Davis, the Aztecs have a legitimate top of the line scorer, rebounder and all around post-menace. In the long-term view, having Davis taking up minutes allows players like Skylar Spencer and Winston Shepard to develop at their own pace.
Davis is an efficient scorer under the rim, but utilizes his body in a way that draws a lot of contact there. He led the NCAA in free-throw attempts last season, and close to six of his 17.6 points a game came from the charity stripe. He also never gives up on his own shot and led the NCAA with 143 offensive rebounds, good for over four a game.
Mike Moser (UNLV to Oregon)
The thing with the Rebels transfer is that if Oregon gets the sophomore version of Moser that averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds a game while generating all kinds of draft buzz, then Ducks coach Dana Altman has the best transfer of the year. But if they are saddled with the junior year version that averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, then that narrative changes drastically.
Moser will be eligible right away since he is attending Oregon as a graduate student, and he should be able to slide perfectly into the Ducks' rotation. Oregon was already sitting nicely with Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, although they're going to sorely miss Arsalan Kazemi and his timely production. Moser, with a size similar to Kazemi, should fit into that role of garbage man underneath the rim, which always worked for him much more.
To have the best chance of success with Moser this season, Altman needs to convince him to go back to being a power forward. Moser transitioned more to a perimeter game last season because that is where he expects to play as a pro, but he doesn't yet have the outside shot to be a solid wing. It also takes away from his ability to crash the boards, which Moser does with the best of them.