Sweet 16 proves importance of transfers

The transfer of point guard T.J. McConnell has paid dividends for Arizona.

Jason DeCrow/AP

The fact that the transfer rate in college basketball has significantly picked up is no secret.

While high school recruiting always has and will be important, going after Division-I transfers has enabled college coaches to get older, more experienced talent that in many ways is more of a sure thing than any other form of recruiting because programs usually know exactly what they’re getting.

Just how important has transfer recruiting become for college basketball programs? This year’s Sweet 16 is proof, as 11 of 16 teams still alive in the NCAA tournament have at least one transfer who has averaged 20 minutes per game or more this season.

Here’s that list:

Arizona: T.J. McConnell (Duquesne)

Baylor: Royce O’Neale (Denver), Gary Franklin (California), Brady Heslip (Boston College)

Connecticut: Lasan Kromah (George Washington)

Dayton: Vee Sanford (Georgetown), Jordan Sibert (Ohio State)

Florida: Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech)

Iowa State: DeAndre Kane (Marshall)

Louisville: Luke Hancock (George Mason)

San Diego State: Xavier Thames (Washington State), Josh Davis (Tulane), Dwayne Polee (Saint John’s), J.J. O’Brien (Utah)

Tennessee: Jeronne Maymon (Marquette), Antonio Barton (Memphis)

UCLA: Travis Wear (North Carolina), David Wear (North Carolina)

Virginia: Anthony Gill (South Carolina)

Moral of the story? Don’t expect the transfer phenomenon in college basketball to stop anytime soon. Successful programs are recruiting – and leaning on – transfers now more than ever.