Since the NCAA quietly announced this week it will consider giving transfers immediate eligibility, a chorus of concern has arisen from college basketball coaches.
Including Arizona’s Sean Miller.
“If that rule passed, college basketball and college sports would change in such a drastic way that the new model would be unrecognizable to fans, coaches, universities, student-athletes and eventually the TV networks,” Miller told the Star. “I hope it never happens for all those who care about college sports.”
While the NCAA’s study into relaxing transfer rules appears aimed at benefiting athletes, who would need to meet an as-yet-unspecified academic measure to qualify, coaches say there are consequences with current rosters and in a recruiting world that is already increasingly fluid.
“It would turn into one of the dirtiest recruiting periods that you’ve ever seen,” Indiana coach Archie Miller told Scout.com. “You’ll have guys talking to your players when they are in your gym. Coaches will recruit players right after games ... it would cripple teams and programs.”
Over 700 players transferred from the 351 Division I schools already this year, and the count could climb higher with more liberal rules. Currently, only players who graduate and still have eligibility remaining can play at other schools the following season.
“I understand that people argue coaches can leave anytime, so why not players?” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle told the Star. “I’m not naïve about that but it’s causing a lot of issues. There’s people being poached off other teams’ roster. But I know the discussion we’re having is healthy.”
College basketball analyst Jay Bilas has been vocal in support for the change, noting on ESPN.com that because the athletes are being considered unpaid students, not employees, they should be free to leave and be eligible the next season.
“If it is true, that we are talking about students being treated like any other students, the NCAA’s transfer policy should be quite simple,” Bilas wrote. “Any athlete should be allowed to transfer at any time and accept all allowable aid from any school that will have him or her.”
Sean Miller has said over the past few years that having the required redshirt year can help a player learn the UA system, thus making him more prepared upon becoming. Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson redshirted at the UA before playing in 2015-16, and was one of the team’s best players.
Arizona guard Dylan Smith is eligible this season after transferring from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Duke transfer Chase Jeter is practicing but sitting out with the Wildcats this season.
Miller’s former assistant, Xavier coach Chris Mack, said he benefited as a player by sitting out a year between two seasons at Evansville and two at Xavier.
“There’s a constant narrative on social media about the mass exodus of kids and how it’s appalling so many kids opt to transfer,” Xavier coach Mack told Scout.com. “So now we want to make it easier to transfer? I don’t see any logic in that line of thinking. Doesn’t surprise me, but it’s a step in the wrong direction in my opinion.
“I transferred years ago and I sat out a year. Did me a world of good. It’s not the negative people make it out to be.”
Ex-Cat Geary back in Tucson
Former Arizona player and assistant coach Reggie Geary has left Japan after a six-year run as a professional head coach and will live in Tucson this fall.
Geary, one of the coaches on hand for this weekend’s Lute Olson Fantasy Camp, said he opted to leave in part because he and his wife wanted to have their kids, ages 13 and 10, spend their high school years in the United States.
“I never thought I was going to be there six years, but I was fortunate to get in with good organizations and live in good cities, so it was a fantastic experience,” Geary said.
“But we just felt for our children it was a good time to give them the opportunity to be here in the States.”
Geary said he is hoping to find an role as a scout, coach or front-office executive in the NBA or college basketball, either this season or next.
Geary was joined at the Olson camp by former Wildcats such as Craig McMillan, Ben Davis and Joe Turner and Matt Brase. The camp continues through Sunday.
McConnell getting married
Miller and his wife, Amy, are scheduled to join several other UA staffers and former players Saturday at the wedding of former guard T.J. McConnell in Pittsburgh.
McConnell, now a guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, is marrying Valerie Guiliani, who said on their wedding website that they have been friends since age 5.
“I guess high school sweethearts do exist!” she wrote.
Former UA players Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kaleb Tarczewski, Nick Johnson and Stanley Johnson are scheduled to attend, along with UA staffers Ryan Reynolds, Brian Brigger and Justin Kokoskie.
- Five-star New Jersey forward Naz Reid did not schedule a visit to Arizona, and is expected to commit to LSU. Reid, a close friend of UA commit Jahvon Quinerly,
- tweeted last month that LSU and UA were his final two choices but 95 percent of analysts on 24/7 Sports’ Crystal Ball say he’ll pick the Tigers.
- UA target Nassir Little of Orlando posted on Twitter that he is taking an official recruiting visit to North Carolina this weekend. Little is expected to visit UA on Oct. 20 during the Red-Blue Game weekend.
- San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said he is working to resume the dormant UA-SDSU series, a nearly annual affair under former Aztecs coach Steve Fisher. The teams might schedule a game as early as 2019-20, since they are both already playing in the 2018-19 Maui Invitational and could meet during that event.