CHARLESTON, S.C. — With the 2017-18 season winding down, the vast majority of teams have turned their focus to the upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
The end of the season brings forth an influx of coaching changes and player transfers all across the country. Some have said the number of players transferring has been a problem over the last few years, with more and more players choosing to transfer with each passing year.
At this point, close to 200 players have opted to transfer and seek other opportunities in college basketball, and the Elite Eight hasn’t even begun. Several teams have been hit hard on the transfer market already, losing key pieces of the rotation for next season and beyond.
One team in particular that has been hit hard so far has been The Citadel Bulldogs. In total, four players have transferred out of the program, with three players opting to seek new opportunities within the last week.
During the season, talented guard Preston Parks was dismissed from the Bulldogs’ program after just six games. Parks has since committed to the UT-Martin Skyhawks, giving the Ohio Valley Conference a nice talent boost moving forwards.
Now, the Bulldogs have lost three more players from their 2017-18 roster, as Tariq Simmons, Frankie Johnson, and Rob Johnson have all asked for their release from the program since the season came to a close for the team.
The 2017-18 season was Simmons’ first season in the NCAA, and he put together a strong season for The Citadel as a freshman. The native of Columbia, SC averaged 7.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game during his freshman season. He also averaged 15.2 minutes per game, and was one of five players to appear in all 32 games for the Bulldogs over the course of the year.
Simmons started his career off with a pair of strong performances. In his debut, he recorded 15 points, eight assists and four steals. Simmons then followed that up with a 22-point outing in his second collegiate game. He scored in double-figures in 10 of The Citadel’s 13 games before the calendar switched to 2018.
Once the New Year came, Simmons didn’t post the numbers he did to start the year. He scored in double figures just once after 2018 began, and was held without a point in four of the team’s final six games of the year.
Guard Frankie Johnson built off a strong freshman year with another well-rounded showing as a sophomore this past season. The 5’9” guard posted 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.8 steals per game in 2017-18, while averaging an even 27.0 minutes per outing. Johnson does a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor, which should make him a coveted player of the transfer market.
As a freshman in 2016-17, Johnson averaged 7.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
Lastly, Rob Johnson saw the court the least out of the three players. The freshman averaged just over 10 minutes of court time per game, and appeared in 25 games over the course of the season. He averaged 3.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per outing.
Even with the four departures so far, The Citadel still returns a talented core group of players. Zane Najdawl, Matt Frierson, Kaelon Harris, and Quayson Williams are all expected to return for the 2018-19 season, barring any surprises during the off-season. All four players ranked one through four in terms of scoring on the Bulldogs last season.
The Citadel will look to add some pieces on the transfer market to bolster their roster for the future, while also utilizing their freshmen out of the gates early next season.
– T. Bennett