Assessing transfer season's early decisions

May, 9, 2013
5/09/13
12:05
PM ET
Today, my colleague Jason King told you everything you need to know about this spring's horde of transfers still deciding where their individual college hoops odysseys will take them next. There are quality players available of both the traditional, wait-a-year-to-play and the graduate student players who could have a huge impact on their new teams as early as next season.

But those aren't the only guys you should know. There is a swath of slightly more decisive guys who have already picked their next destination -- a handful of players we already know enough about to know how big their roles can be for their new programs somewhere down the line. Here's a quick look at said players.

Eli Carter, 6-2, G, Soph.
From: Rutgers
To: Florida

For now, Carter is in the "won't play until 2014-15" group, but there's a chance he could be available as early as this season. Carter left Rutgers in the wake of the Mike Rice debacle and, if the NCAA considers that whole mess to be within its hardship waiver transfer exemptions (which are typically reserved for financial struggles or family illness, but are occasionally flexible) Carter could be ready to play right away. Either way, Billy Donovan -- who also got Rutgers guard Mike Rosario two summers ago -- is adding a clearly talented young guard to his program, though Carter still has much to improve, namely his negative assist-to-turnover percentages and ugly effective field goal percentage of 45.0. (Carter shot 87 percent from the free throw line last season, which portends well for some field goal improvement with better shot selection on a better team. He can shoot.)

Aaron Cosby, 6-2, G, Soph.
From: Seton Hall
To: Illinois

Look out, Big Ten. John Groce is building a really solid group at Illinois. Cosby went largely unnoticed on the national scene this past season, a fact not helped by Seton Hall's rebuilding project, but he has some really intriguing abilities, not least of which is the fact that he shot 165 3s to just 124 2s in 2012-13, hitting 40 percent from beyond the arc. If Groce keeps last season's debut style -- which effectively featured a spread floor, lots of ball screens and tons of 3s -- Cosby might end up being the perfect addition in 2014, when a solid 2013 recruiting class ought to be rounding into form. And don't forget, the Illini also added MAC freshman of the year Darius Paul, reigning MAC freshman of the year at Western Michigan and the brother of departed guard Brandon Paul. Big additions in Champaign.

Ryan Harrow, 6-0, PG, RS Soph.
From: Kentucky
To: Georgia State

Poor Ryan Harrow. First, the former five-star prospect saw the coach who recruited him to NC State fired after his freshman season. Then, after sitting during Kentucky's 2011-12 title run, Harrow was handed the keys to the most exotic metaphorical automobile college hoops has to offer -- the John Calipari point guard position -- only to find out he didn't have what it takes. Calipari pushed and prodded, but Harrow struggled for most of the early part of the season. His father suffered a stroke early in the year, which eventually prompted this transfer, but his chances of ever turning things around at UK were nonexistent by the end of the season.

The good news? He could be the most talented (or at least most feted) get in the history of Georgia State basketball. Ron Hunter is a great coach, Harrow will get a chance to take a starring role, and his dad will get to come to the games. It isn't the UK-to-NBA fast track, but it's something like a happy ending.

Jabarie Hinds, 5-11, G, Soph.
From: West Virginia
To: UMass

It wasn't just a disappointing season at West Virginia; it was impossible to watch. The Mountaineers ranked 294th in the country in eFG%, 167th in turnover rate and 235th in tempo, which is a series of numerical expressions synonymous with "avert your eyes." Hinds hardly deserves all the blame -- there was a ton of bad offense to go around -- but he was among the chief offenders. Hinds shot 39 percent from 2 and 28 percent from 3, turned it over on 21 percent of his possessions and posted an offensive rating of 85.5 which is, well … let's just say it's not very good. Hinds will have to improve on all of these fronts in his transfer year if he is to turn things around in Amherst.

Pe'Shon Howard, 6-3, G, Jr.
From: Maryland
To: USC

Speaking of not-so-great offense, the best thing you can say about Howard's performance at Maryland is this: At least he didn't shoot that often. Howard's low usage and shot percentages are the only thing that kept him from being a legitimate addition-by-subtraction candidate in this year's transfer pool. That seems harsh, but when you shoot 34 percent from 2 and 24 percent from 3 with a turnover rate of 32.0 (!!!), some harshness is probably required. Fortunately for Howard, he will have a year to attend school and work on his game in Southern California, so his life is already way better than yours or mine, followed by a chance to see if he can morph into Brett Comer.

DeAndre Kane, 6-4, G, Sr. (can play immediately)
From: Marshall
To: Pittsburgh

Marshall was supposed to compete for the C-USA title last season, but instead the Thundering Herd fell all the way off the face of the Earth, finishing a baffling 13-19 after 2011-12's solid campaign. Whatever happened to the Herd -- and DeAndre Kane may have been culpable for a portion of it, as he was essentially dismissed by Marshall coach Tom Herrion this spring* -- it's a nice pickup for Pitt along the way. Kane has never been a particularly good shooter, but is tough and hard-nosed and rebounds well for his position, and last season he dropped a dime on 42.0 percent of his possession, ninth-best in the country. All in all, it seems to be a good fit, though guards with sub-100 offensive ratings don't typically see the floor at Pitt.

*An earlier version of this post insinuated that Kane left mostly of his own volition. My apologies for the confusion.

Hunter Mickelson, 6-10, F, Soph.
From: Arkansas
To: Kansas

Instead of repeating what I've already written about this move (in short, I think it's a total win-win), I'll let you read it in full here.

Mike Moser, 6-8, F, Sr. (can play immediately)
From: UNLV
To: Oregon

Likewise, here's what I wrote on Moser. I still believe he's a more-than-viable frontcourt force at the collegiate level. I know what I saw!

Abdel Nader, 6-7, F, Soph.
From: Northern Illinois
To: Iowa State

No program in the country has made better use of transfers in the past two seasons than Iowa State. Nader was the best player on a really bad Northern Illinois team. Iowa State is losing a wave of seniors and needs a forward to pair with Georges Niang. It all sounds great, right? Just one problem: It's hard to tell if Nader is a diamond in the rough or merely the best player on an atrocious team. To wit, Nader's offensive rating in 2012-13 was 80.4; even Hinds thinks that's inefficient. Then again, some inefficiency is to be expected when you -- get this -- lead the nation in both usage rate (36.9 percent) and shot rate (42.1) on a team that finishes the season 5-25. I have no idea how this is going to go, but it's one to watch.

David Pellom, 6-8, F, Sr., (can play immediately)
From: George Washington
To: Memphis

For all of the glimmering frontcourt talent Josh Pastner has brought to Memphis in recent seasons, one thing the Tigers have lacked is a workmanlike, blue-collar forward, a guy who rebounds and protects the rim and doesn't need or want to do much else. Pellom might just be that guy. He sat out all of 2012-13 with a wrist injury, but he led GW in rebounding the season prior and shot 70 percent on his 173 2-point field goal attempts. He should plug in nicely as a supporting piece in a lineup that lost Tarik Black, D.J. Stephens and Adonis Thomas in one fell swoop this spring.

Rodney Purvis, 6-2, SG, Fr.
From: NC State
To: UConn

Purvis is almost certainly the most talented player on this list. He was a big-time five-star recruit a year ago, and showed plenty of flashes during his freshman year, but he was stuck on a team that had its share of visible personality issues. (Not that Purvis shouldn't be accountable for some of that stuff, too. He should.) In any case, UConn coach Kevin Ollie landed a major Huskies-level talent in Purvis, who will have at least two more years on a college campus to refine that smooth perimeter game.

Ollie also deserves credit for being the first man in the past five years to convince someone to move from the ACC to the (old) Big East, and not the other way around. Zing.

Angel Rodriguez, 5-11, G, Soph.
From: Kansas State
To: Miami

You can get a bit more detail on the Rodriguez transfer -- and his hope of playing right away, since his move was motivated by his desire to be closer to his mother and brothers (who live in Puerto Rico) -- here. In short, it's a perfect fit in just about every way. Next season will be a bit of a transition year whether Rodriguez can get his waiver or not, but after an ACC title, Jim Larranaga isn't going to go quietly.

Jerome Seagears, 6-1, G, Soph.
From: Rutgers
To: Auburn

At this point, Auburn coach Tony Barbee is taking any and all talent willing to join him in his noble quest to make Tigers basketball relevant, and when Seagears became the fourth player to transfer away from Rutgers in the wake of the Rice scandal, Barbee happily brought the sophomore guard into the fold. Seagears needs to become more efficient, particularly as a ball handler and facilitator, but there's definite talent there.

Ricky Tarrant, 6-2, G, Soph.
From: Tulane
To: Alabama

Time was, players transferred down. Players would arrive on high-major campuses only to find they weren't getting the sort of playing time they'd been promised, so they'd move to a smaller school where they could shine. In the past few years, that trend has reversed — what SI's Luke Winn dubbed "up-transfers," or players who move from the mid-majors to the big boys, have spiked. Tarrant is an example of exactly that trend, and his transfer was a blow to Ed Conroy's steadily improving Tulane program and a boost to Alabama.

Trey Zeigler, 6-5, SG, Jr.
From: Pittsburgh
To: TCU

Speaking of up-and-down transfers, Zeigler's career has touched all the bases. One of the top 35 recruits in the Class of 2010, Zeigler began his career at Central Michigan, where he played two mostly unsuccessful seasons for his dad, Ernie Zeigler, before the latter was dismissed by the school last spring. Zeigler became one of the most desired talents on the open transfer market, and he eventually ended up at Pittsburgh, where it was assumed he would shine in a backcourt that needed a little scoring punch. But the 6-foot-5 guard couldn't get off the bench for Jamie Dixon, and he certainly couldn't dominate the ball the way he was used to at CMU. So he's transferring again, this time to TCU, which isn't technically a down-transfer but still sort of feels like it. And honestly, it's probably a good move. Zeigler will be going to a team and a coach that just moved to the Big 12 and desperately need some Big 12-caliber talent, and he will have plenty of opportunity to flash his scoring chops in big minutes against a high-major league. Win-win.

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