Sunday, May 08, 2011

Transfers Out: Demetri Goodson, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Ryan Harrow, Chris Jones

I've been combining all of these Draft/transfer/recruiting stories into aggregate posts, and this one will be about players transferring out:

Demetri Goodson is leaving Gonzaga. In some sense, Demetri Goodson was a big disappointment at Gonzaga. He came in as a freshman as a spark plug off the bench: 11.3 points per 40 minutes played, a 54.0 FG% and 55.2 eFG%. I was a big fan. But with expanded minutes as a sophomore he hit only 47% from the field (a 48.2 eFG%), and this past season as a junior he scored only 9.2 points per 40 minutes played on 40.9% from the field, with a 43.1 eFG%. But while he's become less efficient, I think he may just have been one of those players who is better in small portions. We see guys like this all the time in the NBA, who are great off the bench but struggle when asked to start. Goodson's high-energy style probably just wasn't suited to playing 25-30 minutes per game.

The loss of Goodson won't affect Gonzaga dramatically. David Stockton and Marquise Carter, both freshmen, played really well late in the 2010-11 season and will be a perfectly capable backcourt. Stockton is a steady ball handler, and Carter is an explosive scorer. Throw in two blue chip backcourt 2011 recruits (Gary Bell and Kevin Pangos) and several other returners from their bench and the Zags will still have a very strong backcourt. The bigger concern for Gonzaga, honestly, is Kelly Olynyk. While Olynyk underperformed in his sophomore season he's still a 6'11" force in the paint who forms, along with Robert Sacre and Sam Dower, a formidable frontcourt. Rumors of Olynyk possibly leaving should be more concerning to Gonzaga fans. For now, Gonzaga remains the WCC favorite and a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will drop off a couple of seed lines if Olynyk leaves.

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel is leaving UConn. He says it's about playing time, though his adventures with the law are actually probably the real reason. Coombs-McDaniel was a regular (5.6 points in 15.6 minutes per game) but not a star, and his minutes can easily go to other wings like Roscoe Smith and Niels Giffey. But losing him does hurt the team's depth. With him gone, the team now returns six players that earned meaningful minutes last season (Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb, Roscoe Smith, Niels Giffey, Tyler Olander and Alex Oriakhi), along with Enosch Wolf (who barely played as a true freshman in 2010-11) and Michael Bradley (who redshirted in 2010-11 and has four years of eligibility remaining). Throwing in 2011 recruit Ryan Boatright and, as far as I can tell, UConn has only nine players under scholarship. They're still in the mix for at least one more 2011 recruit, although it's worth noting that UConn might not be allowed their full share of scholarships next year anyway because of NCAA restrictions.

I already thought that UConn was overrated for next season. The biggest mistake that prognosticators make is that they look at players gained and lost and then add those to a team's final record or NCAA Tournament performance, when their record or NCAA Tournament performance is not really the best indicator of how good a team was. UConn was a borderline Top Ten team this past season, and simply had a magical NCAA Tournament run. And that's great for them - the big trophy is all that matters after all. But when we're projecting next year we have to begin with the real starting point, and that's why I picked them to finish fourth in the Big East, and with a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If they don't add another recruit I could see myself dropping them as far down as a 6 seed.

Ryan Harrow is leaving NC State. Teams with coaching transitions always have a risk of this happening. And this is an unfortunate loss for them. As a freshman he was probably the best and most efficient point guard on the team, and with the graduation of Javier Gonzalez, they don't have a true point guard left (Lorenzo Brown will likely start at the point, though he's naturally a shooting guard). And despite the coaching transition, this is an NC State team capable of making the NCAA Tournament, particularly since CJ Leslie is returning for another season. I picked NC State to finish sixth in the ACC, and to be one of the first teams out of the Field of 68. The loss of Harrow puts a lot of pressure on Leslie to really take a leap and become a star if NC State is going to get back to the Big Dance.

Chris Jones has been let free of his letter of intent to play at Tennessee. Technically that's not a "transfer", but I wanted to throw this news into the bottom of this post. Bruce Pearl was a great recruiter and was beloved by his kids, and despite the fact that the Vols got a solid hire in Cuonzo Martin, it was natural that he wouldn't be able to keep the entire team is place. They were probably going to lose Tobias Harris to the NBA Draft no matter what, but I don't think there's any way that they wouldn't have had Scotty Hopson go pro if Pearl was still the head coach. Jones isn't the first recruit to get out of his letter of intent either (Kevin Ware was the other). And while Tennessee still has three 2011 recruits signed, Jones was the jewel of the class, particularly since he was expected to take over the point immediately with the graduation of Melvin Goins. I had picked Tennessee to finish fifth in the SEC East, but with the current news I think I'll push Georgia ahead of them as well. The Vols won't be the worst team in the SEC (the SEC West will have a few teams that will be worse), but just getting back to the NCAA Tournament in the 2011-12 season would be a tremendous feat for Cuonzo Martin.

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