Wednesday, October 14, 2009

12 @ 12: Top high-major transfers

Sometimes change is good.

A number of high-major programs have welcomed new faces to town and rely on the newcomers quite a bit this year. Here is a look at the National Hoops Report's 12 best high major transfers.

1. Wesley Johnson, Iowa State to Syracuse (pictured above) – The former Cyclone may be the most significant transfer in the country. Jim Boeheim’s team needs a go-to guy and the 6-7 forward should be that guy. In fact, Johnson could even turn his season into a position in the NBA Lottery.

2. Elliot Williams, Duke to Memphis – Back home in front of family and friends and on a team that needs to find it’s identity, the native son could be in store for a magical year. He’s proven himself as a dynamic scorer and should have a green light to let it fly.

3. Jordan Crawford, Indiana to Xavier – Talk to anyone in Cincinanati and they’ll tell you that the 6-5 guard is much more than a bigger than life dunk from the summer. He’s one of the most versatile guards in college basketball.

4. Malcolm Grant, Villanova to Miami – He’s the best point guard Frank Haith has had since he’s been at the helm of the ACC school. And for this year’s team, that means a lot. Grant could be the surprise of the conference this year.

5. Ben Hansbrough, Mississippi State to Notre Dame – The Irish will love his toughness in the backcourt and his mindset to get the meat-eaters (i.e. Luke Harangody) the basketball but can also score off the ball. Hansbrough was a sophomore starter at Mississippi State.

6. Curtis Kelly, UConn to Kansas State – The coaches in Manhattan are excited about the match-up problem the New Yorker will be in the Big 12. He’s bigger and stronger and ready to give the team a presence on the low block. He only makes Wally Judge better, too.

7. Alex Stepheson, North Carolina to Southern Cal – Now back in his hometown, the muscular forward is exactly what new head coach Kevin O’Neill needs – a tough guy in a tough guy system.

8. Herb Pope, New Mexico State to Seton Hall – Finally on his feet and with a stable foundation under him, the former prep star is expected to shine. Word out of the Pirate camp, Pope has looked like his old self. That’s good news for Bobby Gonzalez and bad news for the Big East.

9. Vernon Macklin, Georgetown to Florida - For once, the Gators are gaining one instead of losing one. Macklin was rarely used in the Big East. He won’t be in the SEC. Bouncy and brawny, the Virginia native should play a significant role this year.

10. Jonathan Mitchell, Florida to Rutgers - After winning a national title at Florida, the former New York Player of the Year should start in the Big East. He adds leadership and a winner’s edge to the club.

11. Jeremiah Rivers, Georgetown to Indiana - The Hoosiers have only one way to go this year and that is up. Rivers gives the team some stability in the backcourt and versatility to run different looks.

12. Taylor King, Duke to Villanova - Jay Wright's team needed a perimeter threat and that is exactly what the former California prep star is. He's not afraid to fire from a far. With quick guards always on the attack, King will spot up and be a threat from the wing.

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