#Transfers #changing #NCAA #Tournament #NIL #money #changing #sport #-
The one-and-done era has given way to the transfer portal and NIL age.
Don’t believe so? Just look at the men’s NCAA Tournament.
None of the teams in the Final Four have a freshman projected to go in the first round of the NBA Draft, according to the mock draft on nbadraft.net. Connecticut’s Jordan Hawkins and Creighton’s Trey Alexander are projected as late first-round picks, but they’re sophomores, not freshmen.
What those teams do have, though, are transfers, and plenty of them.
Of the 63 players on the four rosters, 16 are transfers. That’s 25 percent. And we’re not talking about bench-warmers here, but key contributors.
Of the 20 players who started for the regional final winners, eight were transfers. That’s 40 percent.
Darrion Trammell, the guy who hit the winning foul shot in San Diego State’s 57-56 victory over Creighton in the South Regional final, is a transfer from Seattle. He’s one of two starters and five transfers on the roster. Fellow transfer Matt Bradley, a 6-4 transfer from California, and Trammell are the top two scorers for the Aztecs. Trammell had 12 points in the win over the Bluejays Sunday.
Miami may be led by one-time Notre Dame High standout Isaiah Wong, but 6-7 senior forward Jordan Miller (George Mason), 6-0 sophomore guards Nijel Pack (Kansas State) and Norchad Omier (Arkansas State) all start and average between 13.3 and 15.4 points per game for the Hurricanes.
Miller came up huge in Miami’s 88-81 victory over second-seeded Texas in the Midwest Regional final Sunday. Miller scored a game-high 27 points and was 7-for-7 from the field and 13-for-13 from the free throw line. Pack added 15 points and Omier had 11 points and nine rebounds. Wong finished with 15 points to help the Hurricanes reach the Final Four for the first time in program history.
Florida Atlantic would not be in the Final Four for the first time in program history without the contributions of its four transfers, specifically center Vlad Goldin and guard Bryan Greenlee.
The 7-1 Goldin, who came from Texas Tech prior to the 2021-22 season, has given the Owls an inside presence. He had 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots in the Owls’ 79-76 victory over Kansas State in the regional final. He’s the only player who has started all 38 games for the Owls and leads the team in rebounding (6.6), blocked shots (4.7) and is third in scoring (10.3).
Guard Bryan Greenlee, a transfer from Minnesota, has started 33 of 36 games for the Owls. He’s third on the team in assists (2.7) and minutes (24.3) and sixth in scoring (7.4). The 6-0 junior had 15 points in FAU’s victory over Kansas State and is considered the team’s top perimeter defender.
UConn has benefited from the transfer portal, too. Tristen Newtown, a 6-5 guard from East Carolina, has started 36 of 37 games and leads the Huskies in assists (4.6) and is third in scoring (9.9). He had eight points, seven rebounds and one assist in UConn’s 82-54 romp over Gonzaga in the West Regional final. Guard Joey Calcaterra, a graduate transfer from the University of San Diego, has been a valuable contributor off the bench. He scored eight points off the bench against the Zags.
“I do not think that it’s going to change,” UConn coach Danny Hurley said Friday. “I think this is probably just the new normal and you can’t rest on your laurels as a university or as a basketball program because you have a rich history or tradition. This game has changed.”
The change began when the NCAA instituted the transfer portal in October of 2018, which is where players submit their name to let the rest of the college world know they’re available. The portal is not public. Only coaches and administrators have access to it.
The craziness really ramped up in April of 2021, when the NCAA rescinded the rule where a transfer has to sit out a year before playing for their new schools. First-time transfers are eligible to play right away. A second transfer still requires an athlete to sit out a year unless he or she receives a hardship waiver from the NCAA. In 2022, 1,649 Division 1 men players entered the transfer portal, down from 1,687 the year before, according to the NCAA. Of those 1,659 players, 1,123 transferred to another school and received financial aid.
And it’s not just the men’s game. In 2022, 1,276 Division I women’s players entered the portal with 939 getting aid from the school to which they transferred. Players have 60 days from the time the regular season/conference tournaments end to enter the transfer portal. It closes on May 11.
Then the NIL (that’s Name, Image, Likeness), where athletes can be paid for promotions and endorsements. Right now, there is no national rule governing the NIL. The NCAA introduced an interim policy in June of 2021 which basically puts the onus on the states in which the athletes’ schools are located. To win, an athletic can participate in those ventures if they’re “consistent with the law of the state where the school is located.”
Only 32 states have enacted NIL rules. Most are modeled after California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which was the first state to enact an NIL law.
When the policy was announced, former NCAA president Mark Emmert said the NCAA “will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level.” But the NIL has made the transfer portal rule murkier. Players aren’t just leaving for more playing time or because they don’t get along with the coach or the coach left, they’re leaving for the most lucrative NIL deal, too. The schools that can put together the best NIL collective are going to get the top transfers.
Get used to it. As Hurley said, it’s the new normal and why you have a Final Four with no blue bloods, but a four seed (UConn), two No. 5s (Miami and San Diego State) and a No. 9 (Florida Atlantic). Those who learn how to navigate this new landscape will be successful.
“The transfer portal has changed the game probably more than anything else,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said Saturday. “And, obviously, NIL. We’ll continue to see what happens with that as we move forward, what that does to the game and parity.”
Contact Terry Toohey at email@example.com; you can follow him on Twitter @TerryToohey.
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