Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Will college basketball suffer from the transfer portal? Is it a good thing or are there so many moving parts something has to fail?
Table of contents
- Players changing schools
- Mac McClung: NCAA’s first journeyman
- What about the fans?
- made Roy Williams retire
- Thought process of the NCAA
Players changing schools
Will College Basketball suffer from the transfer portal allowing players to leave one program and resume play the following fall at a new and different school. Many people think this rule is currently in effect. It actually isn’t but it will be passed on April 15, 2021.
Some readers might be questioning what I just said, thinking “what are you talking about, I’ve witnessed it happening the last couple of seasons”.
It does seem that college basketball players could transfer the last couple of years and they have, but to do so they have had to receive a special waiver to play immediately from the NCAA.
This waiver in effect leads to the same outcome as the transfer portal but the actual portal will bring about much greater change and turn over to the college basketball landscape. The NCAA just needs to make it official.
What the actual Rule is supposed to be
The actual rule is that all NCAA athletes can transfer at least once. There is some kind of stipulation, basically as long as you spell your name right entering the transfer portal and do this in the allotted time, the NCAA will give the green light.
Collegiate athletes can already do this in all sports except football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey.
Fall and winter sports, e.g., football and college basketball have until May 1 to submit notification of transfer to be eligible the following fall at a new school, unless there is a head coaching change at the end-of-the-season or the players scholarship isn’t renewed. In these cases the player will have until July 1.
If a player decides to enter the transfer portal he can return to his current school if he chooses to, unless the school decides to give his scholarship away. Once a player is in the transfer portal the school doesn’t have to accept him back.
The Baylor Bears cut down the nets and were just crowned NCAA college basketball champions. A week later according to The Wall Street Journal, there are over 4,500 active division 1 men’s college basketball players currently under scholarship.
28% of these players have either already entered the transfer portal or are very seriously considering doing so. That’s 1,296 players. UMMM, so yeah, ok, yeah. I feel like much should be said about that but I’m shocked and speechless.
In theory allowing college basketball players the use of the transfer portal and move on without having to sit a year seems like it’s not a horrible idea.
In practical practice it is going to help to further destroy and manipulate the sport. These collegiate athletes are by law adults but they’re still just kids. You will have players transferring because the coach yelled at them or because they didn’t like the minutes they received as freshman.
Many ex-NCAA players going back decades, if they could leave a school without having to sit out, they would have. Many of these players would tell you today that they would have made a huge mistake too. Looks like it will be this generation telling some of these stories in 25 years.
mistake and regret
Many of these players will leave a university and in 20 years will regret their decisions. How many players swear their love for a tough coach like Bobby Knight? When he was tearing them down to build them back up, they felt differently.
What of the players who talk about the hard times that they overcame, when they felt no one was on their side and they would never achieve anything. Then they go on to talk about those tough times making them tough in mind, body, and soul.
They speak about the work they put in and how much they love the coach that kicked their ass with tough love. That they didn’t understand it then but are better for it today.
Well those kids are just leaving now and many will regret it down the road.
There will be kids who enter the portal and don’t get picked up by another university. Then their current schools will use the right to rescind their scholarships. Not everyone is going to play professional basketball in the NBA or overseas. Many of these kids will regret these choices. Choices that WILL be made by teenagers.
Established NCAA stars getting together and making plans to form super teams will likely happen too. These kids might not even know what school that they will team up together at but still make plans the year prior like LeBron’s banana boat team.
This wouldn’t be much different than high school kids like Michigan’s Fab 5 deciding to play together but it would be altering to the fabric of the sports landscape.
A programs coach and its fans won’t know what the next season will bring. The young team who everyone says is going to be good next season, might not remain together. This won’t make college basketball better. Not with the one-and-done turnaround that already exists.
Mac McClung: NCAA’s first journeyman
Mac McClung spent two seasons with the Georgetown Hoyas and was a Big-East All-Freshman team selection. The star guard then took his talents to Texas Tech for the 2020-21 season, where he was 2nd-Team All-Big 12.
McClung will test the NBA waters but if he comes back to school, it won’t be at Texas Tech. He will be entered in the college basketball transfer portal and he will play for a third NCAA team. I wonder which one will be his alma mater?
Another one I can’t make sense of is Georgetown center Qudus Wahab. He was named All-Big East tournament 1st Team after the Hoyas shocking tournament victory. Wahab was an integral part of what some see as the re-emergence of Georgetown under head coach Patrick Ewing.
Patrick Ewing spent his post NBA playing days teaching post moves to NBA stars. Wahab, a post player on a team that is thought to be trending upwards, leaving for Maryland is a strange move.
He received playing time and the ball in the post. He’s not going to learn more at Maryland than he would have from Patrick Ewing. Championship teams are always revered in a school history but so are the teams that bring a program back to prominence. Sometimes even more so.
Like the Noles
One example of this is Bobby Bowden, he won two national championships at Florida State University in 1993 and 1999. His recruiting class of 1985 led by Deion Sanders is just as celebrated. They are known as the players that made the Seminoles an elite football program. They were very good before 1985 but this class put them on the map as elite.
I don’t know if Georgetown is facing one of those Seminole moment in its history like when they brought in Patrick Ewing as a player but Wahab is a post player who just finished strong, on a team trending upwards with a 5-star guard coming in to help out in 2022. Very strange.
The one-and-done players are already realizing that they don’t actually have to go to school between high-school and the NBA Draft.
There had been some pause for players as it might create an out of sight, out of mind scenario that could hurt a players draft stock.
Players like LaMelo Ball have soothed this anxiety somewhat. Making some money and still being a top NBA draft pick.
European players like Dirk Nowitzki or Luka Doncic have been going this route for years. I expect more top prospects to not go to a university at all for a semester of semantics.
I think players who don’t want to be in college should try their luck in the NBA Draft. Teams full of freshman never win championships.
Anthony Davis is the only player who has since the one-and-done started. Before that Carmelo Anthony won with Syracuse back in 2003 but that wasn’t the same thing. It wasn’t domination like A.D was.
Kentucky with Davis was the best team in the country and completely dominated the competition. Syracuse got hot, lucky, and won as an underdog with only two freshman really contributing, unlike the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats squad.
The reason teams led by freshman don’t win is because they lose to veteran upperclassmen teams that have developed chemistry and have experience. Look at the 2017 North Carolina Tar Heels, after losing the national championship game on a buzzer beater, they brought back most of their core.
This team wasn’t a cinderella team either. The Tar Hells were heavily favored in 2016 to cut down the nets but were ranked 8th in pre-season polls entering 2017. The teams with the top incoming freshman talent were ranked above them.
The Tar Heels won the title pretty easily, even though they didn’t play their best in the 2017 NCAA tournament. They were seconds away from overtime in the national championship game the year prior.
March Madness wasn’t something that was too big and it wasn’t going to phase them. Those freshman phenoms were in HIGH SCHOOL WHEN THESE PLAYERS WERE PLAYING FOR AN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP.
I don’t care how good you are at anything, the first time you experience something like March Madness, you’re not prepared for it.
They didn’t know what to expect from March Madness and couldn’t possibly have the needed chemistry with their teammates to be champions.
This will be an issue with all these college basketball players switching teams through the transfer portal. They will have as much familiarity as a fantasy team. I’m not even getting into chemistry.
What about the fans?
What about what the college basketball transfer portal does to the fans. There is a lot of turnover in any NCAA sport. Since the one-and-done, many fans don’t really know their teams from year-to-year now.
Especially many of the blue blood schools like Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke. If this 28% of all players moving around turns into the norm then no one is going to know their teams or what to expect.
This is going to be huge and may hurt college basketball in the next decade. Fans like to know what they’re looking forward to and who they’re rooting for. It’s hard enough now.
Many fans may not even consciously know now that this will be an issue but the NCAA should be prepared. Some schools deal with constant turnover now like Kentucky and it’s becoming less and less successful. It’s the same chemistry and experience issue again.
Give me seven juniors who will play in the NBA but will never be stars over three freshman, who are future NBA stars. Almost every time I’m taking the experience because the history shows that’s what wins in March.
made Roy Williams retire
Everyone was shocked on April 1, 2021, when hall-of-fame North Carolina head coach Roy Williams retired from his alma mater. Williams was 70-years-old and amongst the greatest coaches in college basketball history. He came back to Chapel Hill before the 2003-04 season after 15 years as head coach at Kansas.
Roy Williams won three national championships as the head basketball coach at UNC. Since he returned to North Carolina no other school or head coach won as many titles as Williams has won.
Unlike some of the top programs in America, North Carolina under Roy Williams didn’t focus on getting the one-and-done players. Instead he recruited NBA talented players that stayed in school for 3-4 years.
His three championships were in 2005, 2009, and 2017. The teams nucleus was made up of mostly juniors and seniors. Players like Tyler Hansbrough Joel Berry, Ty Lawson, and Ray Felton. These teams were 10-12 players deep. This is how Coach Roy constructed his teams.
They were coached up with elite, smart, and fast point guards, depth and size in the frontcourt and skilled shooters on the perimeter. Roy Williams understood what I’m explaining about how to win a national championship.
Experience vs Phenom
Give Roy Williams 3-4 years and he would have a juggernaut. It takes recruiting the right players. The ones who are top college prospects and are going to stick around campus for a while.
Why year-after-year do some coaches collect as many top freshman as possible, who leave immediately for the draft. Then they do it over and again. Kansas and Duke used to do what the Tar Heels did and won national championships the same way. Both programs have gone the one-and-done route and haven’t won since.
No player Roy Williams coached at North Carolina has ever made an NBA all-star team. Even his players that didn’t play in the NBA were damn close to having NBA caliber skills.
Last Couple Years
The last couple years, Williams had players like Coby White. I think Roy thought Coby would stay a couple years in Chapel Hill, but he entered the NBA Draft after one season.
Carolina also has had players transfer. The fans were on social media wondering what was going on.
Was it something Williams was doing? Has time passed him by?
Roy Williams retired because after weaving his way and masterfully constructing champions in the one-and-done era, having college basketball players now leaving via the transfer portal was just too much of an obstacle to maneuver through and still construct a veteran team with talent, depth, and chemistry.
It sounds good in theory but in practical practice it will fail on the surface and tear underneath the lining of the fragile fabric of the game. The only thing that will be left holding it together is the uniqueness of March Madness. How long will that last for?
Thought process of the NCAA
The NCAA must think we do this in the other sports so it’s the same thing, It’s not. Most fans of college football and basketball can’t name a player in another collegiate sport. If ESPN covers any other sport on SportsCenter it’s about a 15 second highlight.
The college World Series gets shown on T.V but most sports fans don’t tune in. If the college World Series is running it’s normal schedule this season, it’s going to run into the NBA. Let’s see what the ratings are or if the games are still televised during the NBA Playoffs.
Not the same animal
My point is the rules of the other sports can’t be the same for basketball and football. They aren’t the same animal. Many of these kids will make choices that they will wind up regretting as they get older and college basketball and the transfer portal are long behind them.
Some students will not receive the education they will need or want later in life. One that was gifted to them and then taken away because the NCAA let them act recklessly without proper guidance. The NCAA allowing and wanting this is in itself a reckless move. These are kids that will make impulsive decisions if given the opportunity.
It is the people who have been out in the world and have gained knowledge and wisdom through life, whose responsibility it is to see that these kids don’t ruin their futures.
NCAA, you don’t by rule let these kids, who make you millions of dollars, have much at all, don’t take away their futures too. Most won’t go on to be professional athletes.
If when they are free-agents, if they don’t get their contracts renewed, then they are dropped from the higher learning team altogether?
28% of all of college basketball division 1 players are in or about to enter the transfer portal, which means their scholarship can be terminated and if they don’t find a team. COMPLETELY RECKLESS BEHAVIOR.