CALGARY, Alta. — The 2016-17 season is all but a distant memory now, and what an exciting season it was. The North Carolina Tar Heels cut down the nets to cap off another incredible season across the country.
While a slew of players put together career seasons, and several stars capped off their collegiate careers, there was a ton of talent left watching from the bleachers.
Several key transfers from the 2015-16 off-season sat out last year due to the NCAA’s transfer regulations, and are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to put on their new program’s jersey and go to work in a regular season game.
You have the likes of Kory Holden, Devin Watson, Kendall Stephens, and Cane Broome who headlined the transfer list following the ’15-16 campaign, and are four of the names people all remember when talking about the crop of transfers. However, there are several transfers that fans may have forgotten about, since it’s been a year since they’ve seen regular season action.
Here are ten transfers who may have been forgotten over the course of the 2016-17 season, but will undoubtedly have a positive impact with their new schools this coming year.
Jontrell Walker – Ball State Cardinals
’15-16 Stats (with Incarnate Word): 12.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.9 apg; 93.3% FT
Coming into the 2017-18 season, the Cardinals are projected by many as one of the favourites to come away with the MAC crown. With a loaded roster headlined by returnees like Tayler Persons and Sean Sellers, the Cardinals have a ton of talent at their disposal off the hop.
Then, add in Incarnate Word transfer Jontrell Walker to the mix this season, and the offensive for Ball State has even more firepower. Over his two seasons with Incarnate Word, the 6’1” Walker averaged 13.7 and 12.6 points per game, respectively, in under 30 minutes per contest in both campaigns.
As a sophomore, he was one of the nation’s top free throw shooters, hitting on 93.3% of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Devine Eke – Rider Broncs
’15-16 Stats (with Maine): 9.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg; 61.2% FG
Coming into the 2017-18 season, the front court rotation for Rider will look considerably different. Norville Carey, Kahlil Thomas, and Xavier Lundy all graduated at the end of last season, leaving big holes up front for the Broncs.
Fortunately for head coach Kevin Baggett, Maine transfer Devine Eke has been waiting in the wings for a year, and he will look to step in right away and be a big-time contributor. As a freshman for the Black Bears, Eke showed a ton of promise on both ends of the floor. He averaged 9.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while also blocking 50 shots over the course of the year.
In just his sixth collegiate game, Eke put up 29 points, on 14-of-18 shooting, and 16 rebounds in an 84-71 loss to the Army West Point Black Knights.
The 6’7”, 195-pound forward will be given every opportunity to be an impact player from the outset of the year.
Troy Harper – Drexel Dragons
’15-16 Stats (with Campbell): 13.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 apg; 38.6% FG
While the Dragons lost Rodney Williams in the front court following the 2016-17 due to graduation, their back court will look rather impressive this coming year. The emergence of freshman Kurk Lee last year as a go-to scorer has Drexel fans excited about the future.
To add another weapon to the back court mix, Campbell transfer Troy Harper becomes eligible after sitting out last year. The 6’1” guard finished second in scoring for the Camels in 2015-16 with an average of 13.5 points per contest. He shot 38.6% from the floor as a sophomore, up from 34.8% as a freshman.
Harper scored in double-figures on 24 occasions in 2015-16, and put up 20 or more points in four of those games. His 26-point performance against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers was a career-high game for the Philadelphia native.
Justin Coleman – Samford Bulldogs
’15-16 Stats (with Alabama): 7.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.3 apg; 89.0% FT
Quietly, Samford head coach Scott Padgett has assembled himself quite the back court rotation for the 2017-18 season, Despite losing Justin Hopkins on the transfer market, the Bulldogs return a core of Christen Cunningham, Josh Sharkey, Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, and Triston Chambers.
Add in Alabama transfer Justin Coleman, who opted to transfer closer to home to finish his collegiate career, and Samford has one of the best back court rotations in the country that nobody is talking about.
As a sophomore with the Crimson Tide, Coleman averaged a team-best 3.3 assists per game, and amassed five or more assists in 12 games. While he’s known as a passer, Coleman had 12 double-digit point performances in 2015-16, including a career-best 24-point performance against the Oregon Ducks.
He’ll be competing for playing time with four other talented guards in 2017-18, but regardless of if he’s starting or coming off the bench, Coleman will play a big role for the Bulldogs.
James Harrison – Lamar Cardinals
’15-16 Stats (with UT-Martin): 2.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.2 apg; 30.4% FG
In 2016-17, the Lamar Cardinals made the eight-team Southland Conference tournament for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. With several top teams in the conference losing star players, the Cardinals are a team on the rise, and some have even picked them to represent the Southland in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
While their core remains intact, the Cardinals welcome some depth players to the mix this season. One of those players, UT-Martin transfer James Harrison, will look to bolster the front court rotation for head coach Tic Price.
Playing for his third different school, Harrison is looking to have a positive impact with the Cardinals. As a freshman with the New Orleans Privateers back in the 2013-14 season, Harrison averaged 4.7 points per game, and shot an even 50% from the field.
At 6’5”, he brings versatility to the lineup. Harrison has the shooting ability to stretch defenses, while has the frame to withstand battles in the paint. He will be a strong role player for Lamar this season as they look to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
Jordan Cornish – Tulane Green Wave
’15-16 Stats (with UNLV): 6.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg; 35.4% FG
The 2015-16 off-season was a transitional one for Tulane. They lost the likes of Kajon Mack and Dylan Osetkowski on the transfer market, while also adding a pair of strong assets themselves. Samir Sehic and Jordan Cornish committed to the Green Wave, essentially replacing Mack and Osetkowski for the future.
From his freshman to his sophomore season at UNLV, Cornish saw his point, rebound, and assist totals increase, while his shooting percentages all dropped. He still shot 35.4% from the field as a sophomore, while scoring 6.2 points per contest.
Cornish, a native of New Orleans, opted to return home for the remainder of his collegiate career, and he will look to be a go-to guard on offense for the Green Wave. Over his two seasons with UNLV, he hit a combined 69 three pointers.
Alongside Cameron Reynolds, Cornish gives the Green Wave one of the more exciting offensive tandems in the American Athletic Conference.
DeSean Murray – Auburn Tigers
’15-16 Stats (with Presbyterian): 20.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.7 apg; 54.3% FG
Auburn has had a strong off-season following the 2016-17 season. Once again, Bruce Pearl has added key pieces to the roster for the future in each of the past two off-seasons, including VCU transfer Samir Doughty this year. Add in a pair of top 100 recruits in the Class of 2017, and one thing remains clear about Pearl. He can recruit.
Looking back to the off-season following the 2015-16 season, the addition of Presbyterian transfer DeSean Murray seems to have been lost in the mix a bit. The 6’4” forward averaged 20.2 points per game as a sophomore, and was among the nation’s leading scorers in 2015-16.
Murray is a physical forward who loves to drive to the basket. Just by looking at his style of play, one would think he was bigger, but he plays much bigger than his size. As Auburn looks to climb in the SEC, Murray will be a big piece of the puzzle over the next two seasons for the Tigers.
Scottie James – Liberty Flames
’15-16 Stats (with Bradley): 3.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.4 bpg; 39.2% FG
Despite losing A.C. Reid on the transfer market, the front court for Liberty in 2017-18 remains relatively intact from the year prior. Ryan Kemrite is an all-conference talent, and redshirt sophomore Myo Baxter-Bell will look to avoid a sophomore slump after earning a spot on the Big South All-Freshman team last season.
The return of Kemrite and Baxter-Bell will allow for Bradley transfer Scottie James to ease himself into the mix for the Flames. The 6’7” forward will be a serviceable role player in 2017-18 for Liberty, likely coming off the bench to start the year.
With the Braves as a freshman, James showcased his shooting ability, going 9-of-35 (25.7%) from three point range on the year. While it’s not a strong percentage, it shows his ability to stretch the floor. If he can improve hos long range shooting this season, it will add another element to the offense for Liberty as a whole.
Jahaad Proctor – High Point Panthers
’15-16 Stats (with Iona): 5.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.1 apg; 45.9% FG
Back in the 2015-16 season, led by A.J. English, the Iona Gaels punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament as MAAC Champions. They knocked off the Monmouth Hawks to get to the Big Dance, and despite an opening round loss to the Iowa State Cyclones, the 2015-16 season was a success for the Gaels.
Following the year, Jahaad Proctor transferred. Now, the native of Harrisburg, PA will be a key piece of the rotation for High Point in 2017-18.
As a freshman, Proctor shot 45.9% from the field, but just 28.3% from three point range. He finished with an average of 5.1 points per contest, while playing in just over 15 minutes of action per night.
Despite the low shooting percentage from beyond the arc, Proctor still has the potential to be a go-to guy on offense. He shot 60.2% (44-of-73) on two-point field goals as a freshman. If he can improve his long range shooting, the rest of the Big South better watch out.
Jace Hogan – Jacksonville Dolphins
’15-16 Stats (with Navy): 9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.6 apg; 46.1% FG
Similar to the situation with Devine Eke with the RIder Broncs, the Jacksonville Dolphins and Jace Hogan appear to be a strong match from the outset. The Dolphins bid adieu to star forwards J.R. Holder and Marcel White following the 2016-17 season, leaving a pair of big holes to fill in the front court this year.
Fortunately for head coach Tony Jasick, Navy transfer Jace Hogan is ready to step in and fill a bit of the void left by Holder and White. As a sophomore at Navy, Hogan finished fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game, and second in rebounding with 4.6 boards per contest.
An Achilles injury forced him to miss a pair of games early in the 2015-16 season, but it didn’t appear to have any ill effects on the rest of his year. Hogan posted a pair of double-doubles, and he reached double-digit points on 17 occasions.
While Hogan won’t be able to replace the production of White and Holder on his own, he is a high quality addition to the mix down in Jacksonville.
– T. Bennett