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Transferring NCAA Basketball Players May Hurt Many High Schoolers Chances to Play D1 Basketball

Transferring NCAA Basketball Players May Hurt Many High Schoolers Chances to Play D1 Basketball

The world of college basketball is changing rapidly, and as players are quicker to change schools, they are harming the chances of a high school senior getting a scholarship to play Division I.

Mergin Sina, the head coach of Gill St. Bernard, a former nationally ranked high school team, has coached a variety of high-end basketball players, with kids committed to schools like Duke, Georgetown, and Rutgers. The longtime coach is worried that the transfer portal “is going to hurt the high school players that are not high-high-end players.”

Dean Smith is a junior at Watchung Hills Regional High School. Watchung Hills isn’t a top-tier basketball school in New Jersey. He is also an unproven player looking to play in college. Smith goes above and beyond to get opportunities to get looked at.

“Every opportunity I get to get a workout for a school I try to make it work because I know the disadvantage I have,” Smith said. While he states that he is never the best player on the court, he always works the hardest. 

According to NBC Sports, the transfer portal was introduced in October 2018 to create a more efficient transfer process for athletes searching for a better opportunity at a different institution. When an athlete decides they want to enter the transfer portal, they give their information to a compliance office official to submit to an online database. Once the athlete is in the portal, after 48 hours, coaches from any school can reach out.

The transfer portal is intended to create more transparency and increase visibility for an athlete to explore another opportunity. Athletes immediately can transfer and then play for their new school the following year, when previously transfers would have to sit out a year. Coaches like Sina believe it likely won’t hurt the top athletes. However, this is going to affect everyone else looking to play college basketball. 

Sina said, “Someone who’s a top 10 or top 20 player is going to get recruited,” but the transfer portal will “hurt a lot of kids in the 100-200 range that could potentially be very good division one players.” 

For example, if an athlete that averaged six points a game as a freshman at a school like Kentucky decides he wants to switch to a school like Lehigh, a coach may be more willing to pick them up versus an unproven freshman who was not at the top of his class. This creates a pressure-filled scenario for Aidan Hockmeyer, also a junior at Watchung Hills. 

Hockmeyer said, “It is very important to find your own personal way to stand out, with things like defense, hustle, and playmaking.” Size is an issue for Hockmeyer, but he overcomes it by trying to do all the little things that help his team win. 

Quinton Redding, assistant coach for Westfield’s high school basketball team, uses the transfer portal as more motivation for his players. He tells them they have it harder than previous generations. 

Redding said, “I recognize the heightened pressure the increase in transfers has on these kids, and this only should make them want it more.” Redding preaches how important it is to have a high work ethic, and “if you want it, you can do it.” However, Redding says the transfer portal won’t stop kids from pursuing playing the sport they love at the highest level they can. 

“The journey to playing D1 has always been hard, but even with this obstacle, the kids that love the grind will succeed,” Redding said.

Featured Image courtesy of James Kelly.

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Transferring NCAA Basketball Players May Hurt Many High Schoolers Chances to Play D1 Basketball