With the “free agent” period of college basketball in full swing, I felt it was a good time to identify who has prematurely left the NEC and what kind of impact it has on their former team. Here are the top nine transfers that decided to leave the conference. For Jeff Goodman’s complete list of 2013 basketball transfers, go here.
1) Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut
2012-13 Season Statistics: 21.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.4 spg
Destination: To be determined. Interest at URI, Buffalo, La Salle, Kent State, and Xavier.
Player Breakdown: Vinales was a transcendent talent at the NEC level, and had a reasonable shot to shatter several CCSU scoring records barring injury. The 6’1” shooting guard bypassed that opportunity though, illustrating his commitment to winning over individual accolades. Taking one more stab at a NEC title with Hunter alongside could have paid dividends, yet you can’t blame Vinales for leaving a low mid-major conference to seek out a better opportunity to play in the Big Dance.
Team Impact: Devastating. This is the kind of move that can set a program back a few years, and unfortunately for Blue Devil fans, they’ll find out if their team pays a long-term price. With Vinales, CCSU would have been a trendy sleeper pick in the NEC. Now, the Blue Devils could be lucky to make the playoffs in the 10-team league. And that’s assuming Matthew Hunter doesn’t follow his buddy’s lead and utilize his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
(Updated on May 26: Kyle Vinales has since decided to return to Central Connecticut for his final two seasons of eligibility, after testing the college basketball market for roughly a month. Therefore, ignore everything I wrote above. Central Connecticut is once again a team that could absolutely make some noise and bring home a NEC championship next season.)
2) Coron Williams, Robert Morris
2012-13 Season Statistics: 9.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 42.3% 3PT%
Destination: Wake Forest
Player Breakdown: The sharpshooting Williams is one of the latest players to jettison from the NEC, and it was quite a surprise. Due to NCAA rules, Williams is immediately eligible to play for the Demon Deacons as a soon to be fifth year senior who has already acquired his undergraduate degree. His situation is comparable to that of Maryland’s Logan Aronhalt last season. The 6’3” guard left Albany to serve as Maryland’s best perimeter shooter by a mile, as he drained 43.4% of his shots from behind the arc. Could Williams provide the same impact on an ACC squad that hit an uninspiring 34.5% of their three-pointers and just lost C.J. Harris? As long as Williams isn’t asked to create his own shot, we absolutely believe so.
Team Impact: Moderate. With Williams’ departure, the pressure falls squarely on Karvel Anderson, and his surgically repaired wrist. Andy Toole may have a talented group of freshmen coming in, led by Britton Lee and Kavon Stewart, but Anderson must serve as the veteran long-range threat in order to properly balance Robert Morris’ offense attack. The NEC will be crowded near the top, so the incoming class and Anderson’s performance becomes that much more important for the Colonials if they wish to win back to back NEC regular season titles.
3) Umar Shannon, St. Francis (PA)
2012-13 Season Statistics: 11.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 A/TO
Destination: To be determined.
Player Breakdown: The 2012-13 Red Flash was supposed to be Shannon’s team, and in a way it still was. The 5’11” junior led the team in points and assists per game, yet he never captured the potential and promise he had displayed before his knee injury. He appeared to be fine physically, but Shannon struggled clearing the mental hurdle of trusting his body. Now with one year remaining, a healthier Shannon will try his luck elsewhere. If he shows the promise he flashed sophomore year, a Division I team is going to have one heck of a combo guard on their hands.
Team Impact: Moderate. Obviously, losing your leading scorer and senior is a big blow, but let’s be brutally honest here. The Red Flash weren’t winning a NEC title next season, so perhaps it’s best that young bucks like Ben Millaud-Meunier, Greg Brown, and others will have more playing time in Loretto. The latest departure still stings however, because if everything went according to plan, the Red Flash would boast a veteran lineup of Chris Johnson, Scott Eatherton, and Umar Shannon for the upcoming season. Call me crazy, but that would probably be good enough for a top five NEC finish and a respectable run at a title. So much for that.
4) Adonis Burbage, Central Connecticut
2012-13 Season Statistics: 10.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 36.4% 3PT%
Destination: To be determined
Player Breakdown: Burbage appeared to be in a nice situation for someone of his skill set. As a player who made his living shooting threes, playing 30 to 34 minutes per game while sharing the court with playmaking slashers like Kyle Vinales, Matthew Hunter, and Malcolm McMillan seemed to be the perfect gig. But clearly it wasn’t meant to be, with the Orlando native deciding to use up his final two seasons of eligibility at Morehead State. Why he decided to leave is unknown, since he’s only 33% closer in terms of distance between his future college and hometown. I don’t see much of a difference between 800 and 1,200 miles.
Team Impact: Unknown. On a roster that was miserably thin to begin with, Burbage leaving New Britain hurt CCSU’s depth. It remains to be seen if his departure was the final straw that broke the camel’s back for Vinales leaving, but if it was, then Burbage’s decision was a cruel catalyst for Howie Dickenman.
(Updated on May 26: Since verbally committing to Morehead State, Burbage has backed off that. At the moment, the soon to be junior is still a free agent.)
5) Kelvin Parker, Mount St. Mary’s
2012-13 Season Statistics: 5.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.9 spg
Destination: To be determined.
Player Breakdown: Parker has intriguing athleticism, but he simply couldn’t garner it into consistent production on the floor. As a result, Parker was relegated to a bench role most of the time, which obviously led to his decision to transfer with two seasons remaining. For another low mid-major program, Parker is worth the gamble. Especially if he improves his focus and ball handling in his sit-out season.
Team Impact: Moderate. Parker leaving may not hurt much for the 2013-14 season with Rashad Whack, Sam Prescott, and Julian Norfleet each getting 25-30 minutes per game, yet he could have played a pivotal role in the Mount’s mayhem attack in his senior campaign if he grew under Jamion Christian’s tutelage. He didn’t, of course, and our guess is the Mountaineers will be just fine moving forward with the extra scholarship this offseason. If Christian’s second team suffers in the 2013-14 campaign though, we’ll know why.
6) Eric Fanning, Wagner
2012-13 Season Statistics: 6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 37.8% 3PT%
Destination: Boston University
Player Breakdown: The 2012 Mary Kline player of the event (I bet you forgot that, didn’t you?) found his way into Bashir Mason’s doghouse, so much so that he was suspended for the final eight games of the Seahawks’ season. It was a shame, since the talented Fanning showed some promise early in the conference season by scoring in double figures for four consecutive games.
Team Impact: Moderate. With Valpo tranfer Jay Harris joining the club next year and another year of development from Dwaun Anderson, it’s likely that Wagner does just fine without one of the last players Dan Hurley signed in Staten Island. Still, Fanning’s scoring prowess raised his overall ceiling, but now we’ll never know if he would have thrived as a Seahawk.
7) Neofall Folahan, Wagner
2012-13 Season Statistics: 3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Destination: To be determined.
Player Breakdown: With Mason at the helm, Folahan’s minutes went down despite his impact defensively near the rim. On the other end, the slender 6’11” center was a liability which may have ultimately led to his paltry 14.6 minutes per game in his junior season. With one year left, it’s unknown whether a Division I program would tie up a scholarship for two seasons (remember he has to sit out one year) on a limited player. He is tall, so I guess you never know.
Team Impact: Minimal. If anything, Folahan’s exodus slots more minutes to the athletically gifted, yet inconsistent Mario Moody. It’s unknown why Moody’s playing time dwindled during the second half of last season, especially when you consider his 107.6 KenPom offensive rating coupled with his block percentage of 8.6%. Mason loves using advanced statistics as a coaching tool, so what gives?
(Updated on May 26: Folahan has decided to return to Wagner for his senior season and final year of eligibility.)
8) Josh Castellanos, Mount St. Mary’s
2012-13 Season Statistics: 4.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 3.2 apg
Player Breakdown: I couldn’t help but think of Jamion Christian as a player when I heard about Castellanos’ departure, even if it’s far from a perfect comparison. After serving as the Mount’s starting point guard as a junior, Christian was pushed to the pine by new coach Milan Brown. A similar thing happened this past season to Castellanos, but only because of the emergence of NEC rookie of the year Shivaughn Wiggins.
Team Impact: Minimal. With all due respect to Castellanos, the Mount shouldn’t skip a beat without the cerebral floor general moving forward. He simply wasn’t your typical mayhem guard that could score the basketball with any regularity.
9) De’Aires Tate, Sacred Heart
2012-13 Season Statistics: 3.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 52.9% FG%
Destination: To be determined. Will likely play next season at junior college.
Player Breakdown: Tate made for a nice story, which made it all the more difficult for this fan to watch him leave. Realistically, the offensively raw Tate would’ve had difficulty finding playing time behind Mostafa Abdel-Latif and Tevin Falzon at the “5”, and that along with his desire to move closer to home was enough for the freshman to ask for his release.
Team Impact: Minimal. The Pioneers are built for small ball the next two seasons with a foursome of junior guards patrolling the backcourt. With Louis Montes at the “4” for 25-30 minutes per game, there’s limited time for the young frontcourt to make an impression.
Other transfers: Keith Armstrong (Robert Morris), Erik Raleigh (CCSU), Xavier Owens (Mount St. Mary’s), Christian Crockett (Mount St. Mary’s), Patrick Matthews (Bryant)
Ryan Peters covers Northeast Conference men’s basketball for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride