Building a 12-man roster from uncommitted transfers: Juniors, Part One

Elijah Brown is one of the top scoring guards on the transfer market this season, and is immediately eligible next season. (Source: New Mexico Athletics)

CALGARY, Alta. — Once again, the transfer list continually grows with each passing day.

According to Verbal Commits, the 2017 Division I transfer list has eclipsed 240 names, and that number will only continue to rise as the off-season rolls along.

For the record, the off-season doesn’t officially begin until Tuesday, April 4th, the day after the National Championship is decided.

With the high numbers of players finding themselves on the open market, testing the waters in the hopes of securing a scholarship at a school that better fits their needs, there a plethora of talented student-athletes on the list. From the power conferences and perennial national title contenders, right down to the smallest of schools, there are transfers from all across the country.

So, we got thinking. What would a team look like if it was built solely from uncommitted transfers?

We decided to dig a little deeper and see what kind of team we could come up with. The list was divided into each player’s year of eligibility, and then rosters were formed of players in the same year.

Here is the best roster that we could come up with for junior players who have transferred, but not yet committed to a new school.

As each week passes, and more players either transfer or commit to schools, we will alter the rosters on Tuesdays to accommodate the changes in the market.

Starting Five

Kerem Kanter (Former School: Green Bay Phoenix)
31gp; 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg

Khris Lane (Former School: Longwood Lancers)
30gp; 17.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg

Tre’Shawn Thurman (Former School: Omaha Mavericks)
32gp; 13.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.3 apg

Elijah Brown (Former School: New Mexico Lobos)
31gp; 18.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.1 apg

Ed Stephens (Former School: South Carolina State Bulldogs)
31gp; 9.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.7 apg


In comparison to our roster of uncommitted sophomore transfers, where the back court was the strength and the forwards were the weak spot, the 12-man junior roster has flipped that script. A trio of talented forwards and a strong shooting guard will lead a team that is thin at the point guard position.

Kerem Kanter is following in the footsteps of fellow Horizon League big man, Alec Peters, from last year. Kanter declared for the 2017 NBA Draft without an agent, and also transferred from Green Bay. If he chooses to return to school, he will have his fair share of suitors. The brother of Enes Kanter would be one of the premier players in the Horizon League next season, if he chooses to return to the Phoenix.

Lane and Thurman bring versatility to the front court. Both have the ability to step out to the three point arc and hit jumpers, which would stretch out the defense and create looks for others on the floor.

A direct beneficiary of those open looks would undoubtedly be Elijah Brown. With three shooters on the floor, opposing defenses wouldn’t be able to double-team Brown on each possession. His ability to get to the lane would force defenses to be honest, and not always defend the jumper.

Running the offense at the point is Ed Stephens. While the Bulldogs didn’t live up to their preseason expectations, Stephens is still a reliable option at the back end. He takes good care of the basketball, and has been known to put the ball in the basket on occasion.


Reserves

Stephan Jiggetts (Former School: Fairleigh Dickinson Knights)

Ray Bowles (Former School: Pacific Tigers)

Marial Shayok (Former School: Virginia Cavaliers)

Duby Okeke (Former School: Winthrop Eagles)

Kameron Rooks (Former School: California Golden Bears)

Rashad Muhammad (Former School: Miami (FL) Hurricanes)

Mark Donnal (Former School: Michigan Wolverines)


As stated above, the point guard position on the roster is thin. With only Jiggetts and Stephens listed as point guards, it’s definitely the weak point on the roster, in terms of depth.

However, the front court has considerable depth. All three forwards on the bench (Rooks, Okeke, and Donnal) are all listed at 6’8” or taller, bring a lot of size and muscle to the front court rotation. All three were used in limited roles this past year, so coming off the bench in this hypothetical scenario would play right into their wheelhouse.

Lastly, the selections of Bowles, Muhammad, and Shayok bring even more offense to a team that is strong from the two through four spots. They all have some size to them, which would allow for a smaller lineup on occasion, with Lane at the five-spot and a four-guard lineup behind him.


Do you agree or disagree with our roster? Leave a comment below or tweet us on Twitter to share your thoughts!

– T. Bennett