Rivals.com College Basketball Staff Writer
Anyone who needed evidence of how much difference a transfer can make should have paid close attention to the NCAA tournament.
Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford averaged 29 points per game to rank second among all tournament performers while helping Xavier advance to the West Regional semifinals. Armon Bassett, who also began his college career at Indiana, scored 32 points as 14th-seeded Ohio shocked third-seeded Georgetown 97-83 in the biggest upset of the opening round.
As we begin our look ahead to the 2010-11 season, we decided to put together a list of notable transfers who are getting ready to begin the next chapters of their careers.
We're not predicting these guys will make the same kind of impact as Crawford or Bassett, but they ought to give fans of their new teams plenty of reason for optimism.
Old school: Liberty
The buzz: Curry led all freshmen in scoring at 20.2 points per game in 2008-09, when he was named the Big South freshman of the year. Curry - the younger brother of Golden State Warriors guard and former Davidson superstar Stephen Curry - made a school-record 102 3-pointers and scored 707 points (the sixth-highest total in Big South history). Curry should team with Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins and true freshman Kyrie Irving - the No. 4 prospect in the 2010 recruiting class - to give the defending national champions one of the nation's top backcourts.
Height: Czyz is 6-7. Story is 6-5
Old school: Czyz went to Duke. Story went to Indiana.
The buzz: Czyz, the No. 113 prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, received scant playing time at Duke. He was averaging 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game through the first six games of the 2009-10 season when he transferred to Nevada. He will become eligible at the end of the fall semester. This represents a homecoming of sorts for Czyz. Although he was born in Poland, Czyz moved to the United States before his freshman year of high school and helped Reno (Nev.) High win two state championships. Story averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 rebounds and made just three starts in his lone season at Indiana. He left Indiana at the end of the 2008-09 season and will be eligible to play for Nevada at the start of next season.
Old school: Rutgers The buzz: After arriving at Rutgers as the No. 50 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, Echenique averaged 8.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as a freshman. He played seven games as a sophomore and was averaging 12.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks before missing the rest of the season with a detached retina in his left eye. He then decided to leave Rutgers. Echenique will be eligible at Creighton after the fall semester.
Old school: Fordham
The buzz: Fontan made the Atlantic 10's all-rookie team in 2008-09 after averaging 15.3 points and 4.7 assists per game to lead the Rams in both categories. Fontan attempted to transfer after that season, but Fordham wouldn't grant him a release. When Fontan again tried to transfer after the early season firing of Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg, school officials allowed him to look elsewhere. Fontan, who played five games for Fordham last season, enrolled at USC in January and will be eligible for the Trojans after the fall semester.
Old school: UCLA The buzz: Gordon averaged 10.9 minutes per game as a freshman at UCLA, then made six starts last season before leaving the team. He was averaging 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds when he departed in what was described as a mutual decision. Gordon won't be eligible at New Mexico until the end of the fall semester. Although Gordon had his problems at UCLA, he certainly offers plenty of upside. He was the No. 45 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class.
Old school: Iowa The buzz: Peterson made 25 starts for Iowa two years ago and averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals before missing the last seven games of the season with a hamstring injury. Peterson, who ranked seventh in the Big Ten in assists, was one of four Iowa players to leave the team at the end of the 2008-09 season. His arrival should help shore up an Arkansas backcourt reeling from the early departure of Courtney Fortson, who entered the NBA draft after his sophomore season and already has signed with an agent.
Old school: Kansas The buzz: After arriving at Kansas as the No. 149 prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, Thomas averaged 1.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 5.4 minutes per game in his lone season with the Jayhawks. Thomas left Kansas to seek more playing time, and he could find it at a program that has thrived on transfers in the recent past. UNLV advanced to the NCAA tournament this season with a starting lineup that featured Memphis transfer Tre'Von Willis, UCLA transfer Chace Stanback and Kentucky transfer Derrick Jasper.
Old school: Virginia Tech The buzz: Thorns ranked sixth in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio and set a Virginia Tech freshman record by dishing out 113 assists in the 2007-08 season, but his playing time and production dropped the following year. After averaging 21.1 minutes, 4.6 points and 3.2 assists as a freshman, Thorns delivered 2.7 points and 2.4 assists in 18.9 minutes the following season. He transferred to TCU in an attempt to gain more playing time.
Old school: Ole Miss The buzz: White made 27 starts for Ole Miss as a sophomore and averaged 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. He blocked more shots (43) than any sophomore in school history and pulled down 18 rebounds - the highest single-game total by an Ole Miss player since 2003 - against Auburn. At the time of his transfer, White said he wanted to play closer to his family. White finished his high school career at Genesis One Christian Academy in Mendenhall, Miss., but his hometown is Baton Rouge, La.
Old school: Indiana
The buzz: Williams originally committed to Marquette before signing with Indiana after the Hoosiers hired away Tom Crean. He arrived at Indiana as the No. 145 prospect in the 2008 recruiting class and made 29 starts in his lone season with the Hoosiers. He compiled 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and produced higher averages in Big Ten competition. Williams reportedly left Indiana because he was concerned about his role with the program.