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By Jack Williams

College Basketball: The JUCO Transfer Impact 2019

What type of an impact did the JUCO player have on the 2018-2019 season? Just like the graduate transfer. JUCO transfers are a very good way for a division 1 basketball coach to add depth to his or her roster. Most JUCO transfers are brought onto a team in their junior years.

What we are going to do is look into four Conferences, which includes a mid-major conference (The Missouri Valley Conference) and two major conferences (PAC-12 and the Big 10), to see what type of an impact that the JUCO has had in each conference.

The one things that we’ve noticed about the JUCO transfer is that they aren’t used as much in major conferences as they are in the mid-major conferences.

JUCOs in Major ConferencesIn the PAC-12 we found two teams that depended heavily on the JUCO transfer on their rosters, Colorado and Washington State.

The other team in the PAC-12 that has utilized the JUCO quite a bit is Washington State. Of course Coach Ernie Kent was fired at the end of the season after Washington State finished the season in next to last place in the PAC-12. Coach Kent brought on JUCO transfers Power Forward Isaiah Wade from Iowa Western, Point Guard Ahmed Ali from Eastern Florida, and Shooting Guard Jervae Robinson from Otero.

Point Guard Ahmed Ali started in 24 games and was the fourth scoring option on the team. The rest were role players.

Prior to transferring to Washington, Ali averaged 17.9 points, 3.1 rebound, and 4.7 assists per game. But at Washington State he only averaged 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists – not bad but a dramatic drop in production.

Now in the Big ten Illinois’s Brad Underwood brought on Point Guard Andres Feliz, who was mostly a reserve player for the team. He played in 33 games and started in only four. But he was the 4th best scorer behind Giorgi Bezhanishvili. Illinois did not participate in any post season tournaments and finished in 11th place in the big ten.

The other JUCO transfer in the Big Ten was Rutgers’s Power Forward Shaq Carter. He played in 28 games with Rutgers and started in 5. He averaged 4.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Rutgers had the same result as Illinois except them placed 12th instead of 11th.

As we can see, the JUCO transfer doesn’t happen as often in the Major conferences because most coaches are required to win and win big in major conferences in order to secure their. Jobs. Therefore, five (5) stars, four (4) stars and graduate transfers seem to be a better fit.

JUCOs in the Mid-Major Conferences
Now looking into the mid-majors, Drakes utilized the JUCO transfer to its fullest. He brought on three JUCO transfers: Anthony Murphy, D.J. Wilkins, and Tremell Murphy, who all played very big roles in Drake winning the Missouri Valley Conference Regular season title. If graduate transfer Nick Norton wouldn’t have gotten hurt, Drake would have won the Missouri Valley Tournament Title as well. Norton got hurt in their very first tournament game of the season against Evansville. Coach Devries basically used the same formula as Chris Beard did in Little Rock with a mixture of grad and JUCO transfers.

Missouri State Brought on two JUCOs, guard Keandre Cooke and Forward Kabir Mohammed. Both of these players have contributed significant minutes. Guard Keandre Cook was Missouri State’s 3rd best scorer averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. That’s closer to what he was averaging at Odessa. Forward Kabir Mohammed was more of a role player for the teams. He played in 31 games and only started in only one (1). Mohammed averaged 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Illinois State’s JUCO transfers Zach Copeland and Josh Jefferson played big roles on their team. Copeland was the 3rd best scorer and Jefferson was the 4th best scorer. However, Illinois State finished in sixth place in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Shandon Goldman played sparingly for Northern Iowa and didn’t play in any of the conference title games. You had about eleven (11) JUCO players in the Missouri Valley Conference last season

Out of all of the teams in the Missouri Valley Conference Drake had the best combination of players, a returning senior, who was the top scorer on the team in Nick McGlynn Two successful graduate players in Nick Norton and Brady Ellington and a three star freshman Demond Wilkins.

In conclusion, a JUCO transfer is less likely to be recruited by a major program than it will a mid-major program. In my study I found that teams in major conferences who are heavily dependent on the JUCO transfer hardly ever make it to the tournament and if they do it’s an early exit. The graduate transfer is the most preferred direction for coaches in major conferences and they are highly effective.

And in the mid-majors, the combination of the JUCO transfer, graduate transfer, returning seniors and three (3) star and above freshman recruits can be a great recipe for winning a conference champion.