Adding graduate transfers might seem like a bad idea, especially when you have to release another player. However, I say it’s the way to recruit in the future.
Within the next five years, we will no longer have one-and-dones playing college basketball. The NBA is looking to adjust their age limit for players entering the draft. Guys like R.J. Hampton and LeMelo Ball recently signed deals with overseas leagues to avoid the college game, maybe more to come.
That brings up the question, is finding graduate transfers one of the best ways to build a team?
Ideally, Tennessee basketball fans would take several Grant Williams or Admiral Schofield type of players.
Williams became the first player to earn back-to-back SEC honors in nearly twenty seasons. While Schofield never accomplished SEC Player of the Year, you could argue he meant just as much as Williams to the basketball program.
Do you know another player that meant a lot to Tennessee? James Daniel III.
That’s right; Daniel III played a significant role in taking a team that was projected 13th in the SEC preseason standings all the way to a share of the regular season SEC title.
No, he didn’t lead the Vols in scoring. And, no, he wasn’t the best player on the team. However, his role can’t be undervalued.
Jordan Bone wasn’t the Bone we saw last season. He had several games where he was flat out awful. Daniel III, as a grad transfer, came right in to help carry the scoring load.
In four season with Howard, Daniel III averaged 21.5 points per game while shooting 36.6 percent from the floor. He didn’t show that level of production with the Vols, but they didn’t need him too.
However, he did have a few games where he went off.
In back-to-back wins against Iowa State and LSU, Daniell III scored 16 and 17 points on 8-of-14 from the three-point line. Earlier that season, Daniell put together back-to-back games against Lipscomb and North Carolina where he scored 26 points on 8-of-15 from deep.
Remember last season Reid Travis was a big-time get for Kentucky and would a considerable part of what made them a tough bunch down in the post. Some of Big Blue Nation even argues Travis not being 100 percent as the reason Tennessee took two games against them this past season.
Now there is Kerry Blackshear Jr. from Virginia Tech. There are a lot of interested schools, and why not? Blackshear was an All-ACC Second Team member and averaged roughly 15 points per game.
We’ve talked about it, but the Vols would be a completely different team if Blackshear decided to join Tennessee. And, it would be smart to get him.
Will Tennessee always be able to bring in a grad transfer that will make an impact? No.
However, I think they should try. After next season, any team in America would love to have Jordan Bowden join their squad as a grad transfer, even if it’s just for one season.
With the uncertainty of one-and-dones and players being able to leave your program at a moments notice. Give me proven grad transfers every season.