Cyclical success is the easiest brand of achievement in college basketball, especially in the one-and-done era.
Unless you’re a true powerhouse, then downturns are an expected component with any program.
Jim Larranaga did enough with Miami last season to earn the Associated Press national coach of the year honors as the Hurricanes achieved and held a top-five ranking throughout the season with defensive prowess and experience.
But Shane Larkin’s decision to turn pro magnified the reality of Miami basketball as 2013-14 approaches. The squad that topped Duke and North Carolina to earn the ACC’s regular season and tournament titles will be a much different assembly next season.
Larranaga’s top six scorers from last season are gone.
So Miami has turned to the transfer market to rebuild.
Former Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez, who will seek a hardship waiver from the NCAA, hopes to be available for the Hurricanes next season.
And he’s not the only “free agent” (Read Jason King’s excellent story about transfer market) that Miami covets.
The Miami basketball program already has one high-profile transfer joining the program. The Hurricanes could land two more transfers with an eye on the 2014-15 season.
Alabama's Trevor Lacey and Texas' Sheldon McClellan both are weighing enrolling at Miami after announcing they are leaving their current schools. Unlike incoming guard Angel Rodriguez, Lacey and McClellan won't qualify for waivers granting them immediate eligibility and will have to sit out the upcoming season.
Rodriguez is leaving Kansas State and picked Miami to be closer to his family, potentially qualifying for a hardship waiver. He played at Miami's Krop High. There is no timeline for the NCAA decision on his waiver request.
Both of the other guards still considering the 'Canes have big-time basketball pedigrees.
There are obviously a variety of views on this tactic.
Transfers arrive with limited eligibility. Some leave their former schools for legitimate reasons. Others pose risks for the new programs because of red-flagged stops at their old homes.
Still, they give a coach experienced players who can help the program win now.
But sustained success often demands the development of young players who can learn the system and ultimately lead it throughout multiple seasons.
Larranaga, however, wouldn’t be the first coach to take this approach, if he essentially mines the transfer market for new talent.
Fred Hoiberg kicked off his tenure by luring a group of transfers who eventually led his team to the NCAA tournament two years ago. Wichita State reached the Final Four with the help of former Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead and multiple junior college prospects.
So recruiting and rebuilding aren’t one-size-fits-all methods. There will always be variation.
Winning is what matters. To do that, you need talent.
Miami did not sign a top-100 kid (RecruitingNation) in 2012 or 2013. So it appears as though the school will continue to seek transfers as it tries to evolve into a program that’s recognized for its continuity, not just one impressive run.