Transfers to Make Most Impact on March Madness Futures
by Rick Bouch on
It’s an annual thing now. College basketball players, for a number of reasons, pack up their things at one school and transfer to another in the hopes of attaining some sort of glory.
It has happened again in 2020. The coronavirus may have taken away March Madness this year, but it will be back in 2021. A number of teams may have a better shot at reaching the Final Four and, ultimately, a national championship because of some impact transfers.
The Cardinals tied for second in the ACC last season and finished 24-7 overall. Head coach Chris Mack is building a national championship contender and he’ll be closer with the addition of two key transfers. Carlik Jones was the Big South Player of the Year last season after averaging 20.0 points, 5.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Jones probably won’t put up those numbers with the talented Cardinals, but he will be a suitable backcourt mate with David Johnson. San Francisco graduate transfer Charles Minlend averaged 14.4 points last season and gives Mack another scorer on the perimeter.
The addition of Jones and Minlend add to Louisville’s chances of success. The Cardinals are somewhat of a longshot at +3000, but Mack and Louisville are worth the risk.
Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard has done this before. A few years ago, it was transfers Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens that helped Texas Tech get to the national final. This year, it will be Georgetown transfer Mac McClung (15.7 ppg) and Wichita State’s Jamarius Burton (10.3 ppg).
Both McClung and Burton will need NCAA waivers to play immediately, but if granted the Red Raiders will challenge Kansas for Big 12 supremacy. If the waivers are not granted, there is still graduate transfer Marcus Santos-Silva who averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game at VCU last year.
Like Louisville, Texas Tech is given +3000 odds to win a national championship. With McClung and Burton in the lineup, he will have the ingredients.
The only West Coast Conference loss suffered by Gonzaga last season came at the hands of BYU. The Cougars finished second in the conference and 24-8 overall.
Head coach Mark Pope adds two impact graduate transfers – Matt Haarms and Brandon Averette. Haarms, who is 7-feet-3-inches tall, averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game at Purdue last year.
Averette averaged 12.8 points and 3.0 assists a game at Utah Valley. The Cougars are a longshot at +6000, but will play a schedule that will certainly put them in the thick of the national title race.
If there is a team to watch in the SEC, it’s the Razorbacks. Remember, head coach Eric Musselman built Nevada into a Mountain West power with the help of the transfer market. He’s doing the same at Arkansas.
Musselman brings in a very talented freshman class and also a trio of grad transfers that will likely start immediately.
Jalen Tate (13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.6 apg) comes from Northern Kentucky, Vance Jackson (11.1 ppg) has played for both UConn and New Mexico, and Justin Smith averaged 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds at Indiana.
Musselman guided Arkansas to a 20-12 record last season. The Razorbacks went 7-11 in SEC play. They beat LSU and played Auburn and Kentucky very close. This could be the year Musselman and Arkansas break out and at +3000 to win March Madness, it might be time to jump on the Arkansas wagon.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.