SARNIA, Ont. — With the Villanova Wildcats having won the 2018 National Championship, the 2017-18 season is officially in the books.
With that, it’s time to look ahead to the 2018-19 season, and what a season it’s shaping up to be. Yes, it’s only April, but all signs are pointing to yet another exciting college basketball campaign.
Several high-profile stars have graduated from college, while a plethora of others have declared for the 2018 NBA Draft early and have signed with an agent. To make a long story short, the rosters for the 2018-19 season will look considerably different.
With all of the roster changes come a slew of transfer players who have been waiting in the wings, chomping at the bit to leave their mark with their new teams this season. With such a long list of talented players, it was tough to pick just five players who are in prime position to leave a mark this season.
But, we did our best. Here are five transfers who are poised to have significant impacts this season with their new programs.
Edric Dennis – UT Arlington Mavericks
It’s been quite the off-season for the Mavericks. With the 2017-18 season now in the books, that means the careers of both Erick Neal and Kevin Hervey are over in the NCAA. Neal and Hervey are two of the finest players to ever put on a jersey for UT Arlington, and their departures leave big holes to fill.
When you add in the fact that Scott Cross was relieved of his duties as head coach of the team at year’s end, the 2018-19 season is full of question marks for UT Arlington.
Fortunately for new head coach Chris Ogden, he has an offensive weapon waiting in the wings, ready to leave his mark on the Sun Belt Conference over the next two seasons. Guard Edric Dennis transferred to the Mavericks from the Jackson State Tigers following the 2016-17 season, and after sitting out last year due to the NCAA’s transfer regulations, he’s ready to take on a leading role with the Mavericks.
As a sophomore with Jackson State, his first season with the program, Dennis averaged 14.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He started his tenure with the Tigers by scoring in double figures in each of his first four games, adding a pair of 20-point performances over that stretch. Dennis will bring an offensive punch to a team that will be looking to make up for the losses of both Neal and Hervey.
Antonio Green – Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have become the class of the Conference USA over the last few seasons, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. Last year, the Blue Raiders added a talented big man in Nick King, who went on to win the 2017-18 Conference USA Player of the Year. While head coach Kermit Davis took the open job with the Ole Miss Rebels, and the Blue Raiders lose their top three scorers, they find themselves in a similar situation to that as UT Arlington.
Antonio Green was one of the nation’s top scorers during his time with the UTRGV Vaqueros. In 2016-17, his sophomore season, Green averaged 16.7 points per game, ranking second on the team behind only Nick Dixon. He shot 37.2% from three point range over the course of the season, and 39.5% from the field overall.
The native of Tupelo, MS will have some big shoes to fill at Middle Tennessee, as the trio of King, Giddy Potts, and Brandon Walters have all graduated after the 2017-18 season. The addition of Dixon couldn’t have come at a better time for the Blue Raiders, who will be looking to continue their run of dominance in the Conference USA.
Robert Kelly Jr. – South Alabama Jaguars
The 2018-19 season is shaping up to be a memorable one for South Alabama. New head coach Richie Riley is already paying immediate dividends with the Jaguars, having landed a commitment from Kory Holden, who played last season with the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Added to the mix is 6’5” wing Robert Kelly Jr., who had himself a strong season with the Savannah State Tigers before transferring to South Alabama. Kelly averaged 9.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game two years ago for the Tigers while averaging a shade under 24 minutes of court time per night. Kelly shot over 64% from the field during his one season with the Tigers, and shot over 41% from three point range.
His per game numbers won’t blow you away, but his versatility on the offensive end of the floor make him an intriguing add for the Jaguars moving forwards. His ability to step out and shoot the long ball with consistency stretches out the offense, while his overall effectiveness from the floor will provide the Jaguars with some stability.
Marcus DeBerry – Fort Wayne Mastodons
One of the more intriguing guard tandems in the NCAA will patrol the back court for the Fort Wayne Mastodons. First, you have returnees John Konchar and Kason Harrell to lead the way. Konchar averaged 14.8 points per game, while also leading the team with 8.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. Harrell averaged 13.5 points per game last season, and the pair are the top two returning scorers for the Mastodons in 2018-19 after the graduation of Bryson Scott.
Enter Marcus DeBerry, who comes to the program after transferring from the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks following the 2016-17 season. DeBerry sat out last season due to transfer regulations, but will compliment Konchar and Harrell quite well in the back court. As a sophomore with the Lumberjacks, DeBerry averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. He can impact the game on both ends of the floor, and his ability to run the offense will free up Konchar and Harrell on offense.
DeBerry had 11 games with four or more assists during his sophomore season. He scored in double figures on 19 occasions, with a season-high of 19 points against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. As he begins his playing career with Fort Wayne in 2018-19, DeBerry will look to add another element to the back court rotation for the Mastodons.
Marcus Evans – VCU Rams
Following the 2016-17 season, the VCU Rams turned to the Rice Owls for a pair of big-time additions. First, they tabbed Mike Rhoades as the next head coach of the program after his time with the Owls. After that, they landed one of the top transfers on the market who followed Rhoades from Rice to VCU.
Guard Marcus Evans emerged as one of the nation’s top scorers during his two seasons at Rice. As a freshman in 2015-16, Evans averaged 21.4 points per game while shooting 47.6% from the floor. His production dipped as a sophomore, but he still put up impressive numbers for Rice in the Conference USA. Evans averaged 19.0 points and 3.7 assists per game in 2016-17, and he shot above 42% from the floor for the season.
Evans is an electric scorer, and with the likes of Khris Lane, Jonathan Williams, and Justin Tillman, his addition comes at the perfect time for Rhoades and company. After transferring to VCU, Evans tore his Achilles, but by the time he steps onto the court for his first game with the Rams, the injury will be more than a year in the past. If 100 percent healthy, Evans will form a talented back court tandem with Issac Vann.
Five More to Watch
Isaiah Still – Iona Gaels
Devin Morgan Jr. – Youngstown State Penguins
Jalen Poyser – St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Devocio Butler – Texas Southern Tigers
Jazz Johnson – Nevada Wolf Pack
– T. Bennett