Each year, hundreds of NCAA basketball transfers affect the dynamic of rosters across the country. Some, such as the Hauser brothers (formerly of Marquette), will not be eligible to play until the 2020-2021 season. However, graduate transfers can immediately suit up without sitting out. While this list is not a ranking of the offseason’s top transfers, it does detail 3 players that will make an immediate impact at their new schools in the upcoming 2019 year. Each of these players joined programs that made it to at least the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament last year, and they all have a legitimate chance to repeat that accomplishment. Three graduate transfers make up part one, including Kerry Blackshear Jr., Chris Clarke, and Admon Gilder.
Kerry Blackshear, Jr.
From: Virginia Tech
Kerry Blackshear, Jr. was the top available grad transfer this offseason, and his decision to join the Gators elevates this season’s potential immensely. Blackshear appeared in over 100 games in three years for the Hokies, and was a key contributor last season, especially in the later stages. He experienced a natural progression into an increased role each year, and his statistics backed up the eye test. Blackshear increased his PPG from 12.5 to 14.9, and his usage rate grew from 23.2% to 26.6% last year. Another improvement in his game was an increase in assists each year. Blackshear’s APG increased 2x every season, from 0.6 in 2017 to 2.4 last year. While this is not a relatively high number nationally, it is positive for a 6’10” big man to draw attention, and find open teammates as his role develops. Last year, his role expanded quickly, due to Justin Robinson’s injury against Miami on 1/30. Up to that point, Blackshear was averaging 26.6 MPG, 12.7 PPG, and 6.5 RPG. Over 8 games in February, including contests vs. Duke and UVA, Blackshear averaged 35.6 MPG, 20.5 PPG, and 9.4 RPG. Also, his FTA per game almost doubled. He highlighted this stretch with a 29 & 9 outburst against Pitt in which he shot 8-of-9 from the field, and displayed his range, going 3/3 from beyond the arc. This season, Blackshear joins an impressive list of newcomers for Mike White’s squad. Florida brings in the #8 recruiting class in the nation, headlined by 5-star freshmen Scottie Lewis (#7 overall) and Tre Mann (#21 overall). Blackshear Jr. is expected to step into a starting role in the front-court, and provide leadership for this young, talented group. The Gators are a threat to challenge for an SEC title, as well as a deep run in March.
From: Virginia Tech
To: Texas Tech
Kerry Blackshear, Jr. wasn’t the only Hokie to change schools this offseason, as former teammate Chris Clarke transferred to Texas Tech. Clarke is a player with an interesting history, but he has a significant pedigree. A four-star recruit out of high school, Clarke originally committed to Tennessee, before de-committing a week later to sign with Virginia Tech. After missing the entire 2018-19 season due to a suspension, Clarke will be a key contributor for Chris Beard’s squad this year. The 6’6” Virginia Beach native is a modern-day forward that can handle, distribute, and score. In 2017-18, Clarke averaged 8.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3 APG in just under 25 MPG. He also finished the year with an assist percentage of 21%, second on the team only to Justin Robinson. While the Red Raiders may not make it to a second straight national championship game, a major hangover is not expected. However, it will be tough to match the incredible numbers from last year, especially on the defensive end. The Red Raiders ranked 3rd in the nation in Points allowed, and 2nd in Opp FG%. Clarke, and fellow grad transfer T.J. Holyfield (Stephen F. Austin), will join the #16 recruiting class, headlined by 6’4” four-star guard Jahmius Ramsey. Despite such a talented group of newcomers, this group has enormous shoes to fill after the departure of three players that started 37+ games each last season. If Clarke and the other offseason additions can mesh well early on, Texas Tech should easily make an appearance in the Dance this year, and could even land a Top 4 seed.
From: Texas A&M
Another grad transfer that missed the entire 2018-19 season is Admon Gilder. Unfortunately, a blood clot in his right bicep delayed his senior year, forcing him to miss the entirety of it. In April, Gilder enlisted his name into the transfer portal, and eventually decided to play for Mark Few at Gonzaga. Gonzaga is no stranger to impactful transfers, as Nigel Williams-Goss, Johnathan Williams, and Jordan Matthews were all transfer starters on the 2017 national runner-up team. Gilder was a 4-star recruit out of high school, and the #9 player from Texas in the class of 2015. The Dallas native entered his freshman year at Texas A&M, and was an instant contributor, appearing in all 37 games for the Aggies, playing 20.4 MPG. Over the next two years, Gilder started 58 out of the 61 games he played, averaging 33.3 MPG. In his junior year, he often matched up against the opponent’s best scorer, due to his quickness and effort on the defensive end. He is a versatile guard that can play either the 1 or 2 spot, and is expected to be a leader in the Gonzaga backcourt this season. The Zags are replacing four starters, including two Top 21 draft picks. As a result, Gilder can add leadership and experience on and off the court, especially down the stretch. Gilder appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2015-16 and 2017-18, reaching the Sweet 16 each time. In 6 career Tournament games, Gilder averaged 11.3 PPG and scored 12 points in A&M’s 2018 upset of #2 UNC. A senior guard is a valuable asset in March, and one with 6 previous Tournament appearances is even better.