Edit: Have added additional names to the list as grad transfers are announced
Transfer season has become an integral part of college basketball with several hundred transfers occurring each and every offseason. It has become much more common than it ever was, particularly the graduate transfer route.
It goes both ways. Players from larger programs who want to transfer to smaller schools where they’ll have opportunities for more playing time. Players from smaller programs who have had great success in their first three years and want to contribute to a larger program at a higher stage. O
Minnesota has 3 available scholarships currently, the third coming after Jamir Harris announced he will be transferring. Likely the biggest need currently on the roster is in the backcourt, particularly point guard. The smart money is on Richard Pitino using one of these available scholarships on a graduate transfer point guard. The other scholarships may also be used on a traditional transfer or could be used on a late signing incoming freshman.
Below are a handful of names that either would be good fits (as in, I have no information if there is any interest from either party but they are point guards with some ability) or names that have actually been linked to the Gophers, even if just a little bit.
These are the guys who can play right away but will only have 1 year to play. This is perfect for the Gophers who need just a little more depth in the backcourt for 2018-19. A point guard to share time with Isaiah Washington is needed next year. Here are a few names of points who have announced their intent to transfer as graduates.
- Justin Coleman - Samford
Former 4-star PG who went to Alabama for two years, transferred to Samford this past season and now is set to graduate and transfer for one more year. Coleman was not offered by the Gophers out of high school, but he would make a great fit for them in his final year. As a junior for Samford, Coleman averaged 13.5 point per game and 6.6 assists while shooting 37.3% from three. As a sophomore, his final year at Alabama, he averaged 7.8 points and 3.3 assists.
- Aaron Calixte - Maine
5’11” point who lead the Black Bears in scoring last year with 16.9 ppg to go with 3.2 assists. High turnovers is a concern, but an experienced point who will certainly be looking to move up for his final year of eligibility.
- Matt Mooney - South Dakota State
Now we are talking about a very good scoring guard who can play both the point and off-guard. Mooney has been given his grad transfer release and would be a fantastic fit here. He is tough defensively, scores with the best of them in the Summit League and rebounds. His versatility would be an added bonus. Imagine him coming off the bench as a shooter who can facilitate the offense. 18.7 points, 3.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and shooting 35.2% from three. According to Ryan James of Gopher Illustrated, Mooney is hearing from a ton of schools and it appears as though Minnesota is not in the running.
- Zaynah Robinson - Norfolk State
As a junior, Robinson was 2nd team All-MEAC averaging 13.5 points and 4.5 assists. The problem here is that Robinson did not play this past season due to a chronic back issue that flared up and kept him out for the season. He may not be able to go even after transferring, but that’s for the staff to figure out. Robinson is a case where he is truly transferring to pursue a graduate degree not offered at his current institution. But he’d make a fine point guard in the maroon and gold for one year.
- Nick Norton - UAB
Not a scoring point but a guy who brings a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio. Norton spent all three years as a Blazer and has been given his grad transfer release. He averaged 5 assists and 7.5 points per game this past year.
UPDATE: Norton is planning to visit Minnesota in May (hopefully it won’t still be winter here)
- Zach Johnson - Florida Gulf Coast
While I’ve been stressing the need for a point guard, Johnson is going to be more of a shooting guard. But at 16.1 points per game and shooting 39% from three (while still contributing over 3 assists per game), I’d take him. He has heard from schools, Minnesota has not been reported as one of them.
- Joseph Chartouny - Forham
Averaging right around 11-12 points in all three of his years with the Rams, Chartouny also brings 4.6 assists and 5.6 rebounds to the table. Not a great shooter but he was on the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive team as well as All-Academic. Chourtney would be a valuable asset on both ends of the floor.
- Mike Green - Longwood / Northern Arizona
Green began his career as a Northern Arizona Lumberjack where he played for two seasons. He then transferred to Longwood and sat out the past season. He is now eligible as a graduate transfer and conceivably (I have not verified) could have 2 years of eligibility remaining. In the 2016-17 season Green averaged 10.4 ppg and 2.5 assists (with nearly 3 turnovers).
- Tarin Smith - Duquesne
A former Tim Miles recruit at Nebraska, Smith transferred after his freshman season. Smith went to Duquesne for his SO and JR season, most recently averaging 12.5 points and 3.2 assists per game. Would he come in and be willing to compete for the starting PG job? Would he be OK coming off the bench in his final year?
These are kids who are transferring and have been linked to Minnesota in some way. These guys would have to sit out the 2018-19 season but might be rather valuable in subsequent seasons.
- Marcus Carr - Pitt
Former top-100 guard who is actually hearing from Minnesota, according to multiple reports. Carr would have to sit out a year but would then have 3 years of eligibility remaining. Carr will have plenty of options, the Gophers are making a push here.
- Brandon Cyrus - DePaul
Another name tied to the Gopher’s search for help in the backcourt is Cyrus. According to Ryan James of Gopher Illustrated, Cryus has been contacted by the Gophers. He averated 7.2 points and 1.6 assists as a combo guard.
If I had my choice, I’d say here are the guys I want the Gophers to land...in order. Again, there is no reason to believe that the Gophers are in the mix for any of these names (other than Carr) and this is just pure speculation.
- Marcus Carr - though doesn’t solve the immediate need
- Justin Coleman
- Matt Mooney - seems highly unlikely
- Joseph Chartouny - solid defender and consistent on offense
- Zach Johnson - scoring helps