Friday, June 10, 2011

New Schools For Ryan Harrow, Luke Hancock And DeAndre Daniels

Ryan Harrow will transfer from NC State to Kentucky - It's been known for some time that Ryan Harrow would be transferring. He'll have to sit out the 2011-12 season, so this transfer won't affect the coming year, but it could mean a lot for Kentucky in 2012-13. It's always hard to project Kentucky's lineup more than one year ahead because John Calipari has such a high NBA defection rate every year, but if there's one thing that his young teams have tended to lack it's a true point guard. They had one this past season in Brandon Knight, but it's rare for a true freshman to be able to really play the point (John Wall played a lot of point and was obviously a great player, but he was never really a true point guard and was more of a true scorer). Harrow is an excellent distributor who will help provide experience and calm on offense.

Luke Hancock will transfer to Louisville - This is a big decision for both teams. Hancock was, in my opinion, the second best player on a very good George Mason team this past season. He's an efficient shooter, a very good passer, and has NBA length. He also has two years of eligibility remaining, which presumably will begin with the 2012-13 season for Louisville. Like with Kentucky, Louisville is a bit hard to project more than one year away, and we'll have to see how their 2011 recruiting class develops, and who Rick Pitino can put together for his 2012 recruiting class, but I have no doubt that Hancock will play a big role for that team as soon as he is eligible. For George Mason this is a big blow. This was a team primed to run away with the Colonial and to be (in my opinion) a Top 25 team. But losing Jim Larranaga and getting Paul Hewitt is (in my opinion) a downgrade. And while Hewitt did grab Erik Copes, he's still a downgrade from Hancock, who is leaving. George Mason will still be a good team that will be at least bubble quality, but the CAA is now up for grabs, with Drexel, VCU and perhaps even Old Dominion having a real chance to grab the title.

UConn lands DeAndre Daniels: I've talked a couple of times recently about the major depth problems that UConn has for next season (see here for an example). Things got tighter with the school being knocked down to ten scholarships by poor academic performance. Jim Calhoun has now filled that tenth spot with a very good recruit in Daniels, a very athletic 6'8" forward who can run the floor like a guard. UConn has a lot of size returning (Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith, Tyler Olander, Niels Giffey, Enosch Wolff and Michael Bradley), but only Smith has any speed. The rest are just big bodies. Daniels can play small forward, and will compliment their explosive backcourt scorers (Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb and Ryan Boatright).

UConn could definitely use a fourth guard for depth purposes, and while they haven't been closely linked with one, don't be shocked if they find one. Jim Calhoun has never been a coach to hesitate to cut one of his own guys loose, and one of those bigs will find their scholarships pulled if Calhoun can find a little bit more depth. But unless he does find one, then even with Daniels I find UConn very overrated heading into next season. The Huskies will get Final Four hype coming into the new season, but I see them still as the fourth best team in the Big East, and even with Daniels I see them ending up with something in the 4 or 5 seed range.

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