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The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 The Morning Dish No Comments

College basketball’s free agency period is starting, as we receive news of transfers daily. Sometimes the news isn’t even of transferring, but just players considering transferring who could still return.

Ugh. It’s one of the most unsavory parts of college basketball right now. A real part of the sport, but one that would just as soon hide under a pillow while is going on.

Transfers happen, and that’s a fact known by anyone who is involved in higher education (and yes, contrary to what cynics might say, college basketball does still fall in that category). Far more than not, they are not a good thing, as anyone who understands the term “student mobility” and research of it will attest.

Of course, this is a complex issue-for one, there’s the not-so-small matter of coaches running players off; for another, this is far more than just a college thing, and in a number of cases is rooted in behaviors at the AAU and high school levels-but it’s one the sport and colleges should continue working to address.

Reducing transfer rates would do far more for “student-athlete well-being” than any stipend handout that conferences approve. The NCAA made one good move when it approved last year and reiterated last week that there will be no more transfer waivers starting in 2015-16, but there’s far more to be done. (Chief among them: somehow ensuring those who take advantage of the graduate transfer waiver are actually doing it for some semblance of an academic reason).

There were so many transfers reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and others on Tuesday that it’s impossible to list them all. Among them:

  • Providence forward Tyler Harris will not be returning to the Friars for his senior year. Harris averaged 9.9 points and 4.0 rebounds this past season. He is on track to graduate in the spring and will be eligible to play next season for his third team, after coming to PC after one year at N.C. State.
  • Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon also will be on his third school after announcing his intention to transfer after graduation this spring. A one-time Western Kentucky transfer, Gordon averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds this past season.
  • Southern Illinois guard Jalen Pendleton is on his way out, the third player to transfer from that program since the Salukis’ season ended. According to the Daily Egyptian, SIU’s student newspaper, Pendleton-who averaged 6.6 points per game this past season-“told (the coaches) I wanted to play a lot. I guess we couldn’t make an agreement.” Playing time is now an “agreement?”
  • Kansas State guard Jevon Thomas is planning to transfer. Thomas averaged 4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this year but was off the team at the end of the season. He is not the only Wildcat leaving, though, as leading scorer Marcus Foster and guard Tre Harris also have both been dismissed from the team. Said coach Bruce Weber in the article by the Kansas City Star: “Marcus and Tre have been unable to live up to the standards that we expect of our players. It is a privilege to represent Kansas State University and there are consequences when players don’t live up to those expectations. Hopefully, they will learn from this experience and make the necessary progress to continue their basketball careers elsewhere.”

Side Dishes:

  • Miami (Fla.) and Stanford are the first two teams in the NIT semifinals. The Hurricanes came back from an 18-point deficit to defeat Richmond 63-61. A terrific job by Jim Larranaga’s team of staying with it, while for the Spiders this is a bad, bad case of letting one get away that should’ve been safe. In the other game, Stanford held off Vanderbilt 78-75, and this one got ugly when both teams engaged in some elbow swinging midway through the second half, including one that dazed Vandy’s Luke Kornet and sent him to the sideline for the rest of the game.
  • Ben Howland is officially back in college coaching, as he was officially announced as Mississippi State’s coach on Tuesday. It is always intriguing to see how a coach changes, if at all, after a couple years away. Also, Howland is going to a program where it has been done before. Richard Williams took the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1996, though that was the last time MSU advanced past the second round.
  • Herb Sendek is out as head coach at Arizona State after nine years. Sendek went 159-137 at ASU in nine years, with two NCAA Tournament trips and four NIT visits, including a second-round exit on Sunday in overtime at Richmond. The money is there to possibly do better at ASU, but the history most definitely is not. Sendek did a nice job with the Sun Devils this year, and considering he just took them to the NCAA Tournament last year deserved another year.
  • Alcorn State announced that it will not renew the expiring contract of coach Luther Riley. The school announced in the same release that it is not extending the contract of women’s coach Tonya Edwards. In four years at Alcorn, Riley had a 38-91 record, including a 6-26 mark this year.

Tonight’s Menu:

  • The last two NIT quarterfinals take place with Murray State at Old Dominion (7 p.m. EST, ESPN2) and Louisiana Tech at Temple for a late tip in the East (9 p.m. EST, ESPN2).
  • The CBI plays its semifinal games. Vermont is at Louisiana-Monroe, while Seattle looks to continue bringing some credibility to the WAC when it goes to Loyola (Ill.). The winners advance to a best-of-three championship series.
  • The CIT is down to its final eight teams, and the first quarterfinal is an OVC matchup as Tennessee-Martin goes to Eastern Kentucky.

Enjoy your Wednesday.

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