On The Move: Transfer Carousal Leaks Into JUCO Scene

High School

Posted On: 05/29/18 5:15 PM

The astonishing, unprecedented rate of transfers continues as spring leaks into summer.

As of last week, the list of NCAA transfers reached 700.  How do you even explain that?

More and more kids are seeking better opportunities, hell-bent on wiping the slate clean to start anew.

A percentage of these transfers are simply disgruntled with their current role and lack of playing time.

Another percentage of them are shouldering the “anywhere but here” mentality, rather than applying the mental fortitude to stick it out. And then, a smaller percentage of them recognizes there’s a better situation awaiting them and are seizing it.

They get the message and acknowledge it simply isn’t going to work out with a particular coaching staff.

Rarely is a departure mutual. Rarely are both sides not somewhat bitter about it, even if they won’t outright express it. You can read up on the softball, Public Relations/spin doctor-esque statements regarding these amicable departures all you want. That doesn’t mean you should believe them.

Sadly, today’s flawed hoops culture shapes today’s high school and collegiate athlete to make a quick-triggered decision. Loyalty is so hard to come by, especially with the uber-aggressive recruiting tactics at nearly every level of play these days.

Today’s student-athlete becomes so enamored with the notion that there are greener pastures elsewhere, they fail to think it through or weigh the positive draws of staying put. These kids have a quicker trigger than ever today. And they tend to embrace the spotlight and fanfare that comes with it, especially with the way a transfer decision becomes glorified on social media.

Make no mistake about it, this is “respect my decision” season we are experiencing.

This mentality has resulted in a nomadic lifestyle of many highly rated recruits, many of whom don’t see the risks associated with becoming well traveled. Not all transfers are forced decisions–many are career-altering and bettering. Yet the alarming numbers are quite telling. They show how today’s player has nary a tinge of hesitation when making the decision to transfer.

There’s more emphasis on making a big announcement, finding a new situation and bolting for the exit sign without even glancing into the rearview. Rather than focus on bouncing back from setbacks or slaying any adverse times from the previous season or coming back guns a blazing to make up for lost time…transferring seems to be the immediate answer. It eliminates any uncertainty, at least for the time being.

Let’s face it. The maniacal rate at which transfers fly from campus to campus is because it’s more accepted these days. It’s glorified. It’s appealing. Student-athletes think transferring will recharge the pulse and vault them back into relevance. That’s why they have nary the slightest morsel of hesitance when announcing they are leaving. It’s become all so routine. And sadly, all so accepted.

Hopefully the culture will change. Hopefully, better coaching will thwart the issue. Or better recruiting will lead to less uncertainties.

Or maybe, just maybe– less kids feeling themselves and romanticizing about a new beginning resuscitating their careers will do the trick.

Truthfully, there is no solution to the ship-jumping issue that creates an off-season sideshow every summer.

We can’t control this monstrous number that will continue to grow, grow, grow before the fall. What we can do is take a look at some of the moving pieces and where they currently stand.

Petar Skoknic, Eastern Wyoming

The 6-foot-2 West Oaks graduate is a sharpshooting lefty who has improved as a slasher and all-around defender. He’s got the natural vision to become a playmaking guard and make his teammates beneficiaries of his backcourt presence. A skilled perimeter shooter who averaged 15.7 points during his last JUCO season at Eastern Wyoming in Division-I south, Skoknic had several games of 5+ 3-pointers made. Skoknic is back on the recruiting market following a forgettable stay at Florida national.

Tyson Jolly, Trinity Valley

Once a highly-rated national recruit, the former Elev8 Prep (Delray Beach, Fla.) star has landed at Trinity Valley following a diminished role during his redshirt freshman season at Baylor. Jolly has freakish athletic ability and is as adept at getting to the rim as any JUCO talent in the country. He’s a two-way threat who has become more of a facilitator and ball handler, both aspects which he improved on during his post-grad stay at now defunct Elev8. If Jolly can open up his shot and expand on that compartment of his game, a first team JUCO All-American nod isn’t a far fetched projection.

David Nickelberry, Trinity Valley

The former Windermere Prep star, widely regarded as a veritable swiss army knife at 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, is another significant pickup for Trinity Valley. The Orlando product was a four star recruit coming out of high school, an electrifying scorer at all three levels. The first player to transfer following the hire of legendary former NBA star and homegrown Memphis product Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Nickelberry played just under 10 minutes a game as a freshman.

The JUCO season will give him the opportunity to return to prominence. He averaged 15.1 points, 8.1 boards, and 6.3 assists while playing virtually every position during his storied stay at Windermere.

Chier Maker, Palm Beach State

A late-season tear propelled Maker into one of the country’s late-blossoming recruits. Maker, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 14 points and 6 boards in conference play. His adjustment to the go-to source, however, enabled him to raise his profile on the Division-I market. Maker averaged 21.6 points during the season’s final games, turning his once inconsistent shooting to a robust 50 percent from the field. In embracing the alpha dog role, Maker worked relentlessly at finding methodical ways to stave off defenders and let his shot fly. In addition to finding his stroke from the perimeter, he became equally adept at scoring on the drive and turning a post-up into a quick bucket. The cousin of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Thon Maker, Chier will prolong his career at Idaho State.

Cameron Corcoran, FIU

The Orlando native will sit one year and play three, after transferring from Arkansas-Little Rock. Corcoran is a well-built two-guard with a scoring skill-set as an outsider shooter and crafty finisher. As he proved various times during a career that saw him attend Liberty Christian Prep as well as OCP (capped off by a post-graduate season at The Conrad School), Corcoran has the ability to pile up points in a hurry. He’s fearless in his ability to penetrate and finish among bigger rim protectors up front, often shielding the ball with crafty in-lane shots. Corcoran, who played under Diane Neal with a Showtime Ballers program which also produced 2018 NBA draft prospect Corey Sanders and current Charlotte Hornets forward Dwayne Bacon, was part of the first recruiting class for newly-minted Florida International head coach Jeremy Ballard.

Levi Cook, Bossier Parish

The former Elev8 Prep product brings massive size and a presence on the boards at 6-foot-10 and 265 pounds. Cook, who played at Huntington Prep (W.V.) alongside Thomas Bryant (L.A. Lakers), is known for his interior presence. He’s able to block, influence, and alter the trajectory of shots. Cook, who has trimmed down by 40+ pounds since arriving to DePaul in August of 2016,  made strides to his offensive game over the years, adding a feathery mid-range game to supplement his hard barrels to the rim. Cook played sparingly at DePaul, a factor that led him to transfer directly before his sophomore year. Cook was offered by Bobby Huggins and Larry Harrison as a man-child high school freshman and initially committed.

The West Virginia schoolboy talent will play one year before re-emerging into the Division-I market.