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Post Transfers are a fact of life in SEC hoops

Wednesday April 14, 2010

Attrition is nothing new for Georgia basketball. Transfers have given (the Hayes twins) and taken away (Tony Cole). The departure of several key players hastened the decline of Dennis Felton’s program. Attrition continues into the Mark Fox era: two players recently gave notice of their intent to transfer. All in all, Georgia has had nine players transfer out of the program since the 2003-2004 season. But, as the Gainesville Sun finds, the Bulldogs’ situation isn’t all that unusual among SEC teams. “Overall, 96 players have transferred from SEC men’s basketball schools since 2003-04,” they report. That’s an average of eight per team.

One interesting takeaway is that a high volume of transfers doesn’t necessarily sink a program (or vice versa). Kentucky and Florida are right up near the top of the list, and the survey includes the time period during which the Gators won back-to-back national titles. Auburn’s only had three players leave since 2004, but that relative stability hasn’t helped them much. A program can only take so much, though – it took one of the best freshmen classes in SEC history to revive Kentucky’s talent level, and the Sun explains how five Florida transfers in the past two years have left the bench precariously thin.

Of course not all transfers are equal. The report doesn’t distinguish between a seldom-used reserve transferring for more playing time or a key starter like Billy Humphrey who was dismissed from the team before he transferred. Losing a guy to Belmont and losing one to Ohio State aren’t exactly equal in terms of impact on the program. Still – attrition of any kind can have an effect on APR, depth, scholarship numbers, and recruiting strategy. The numbers are even higher if you include players who were dismissed without transferring.

Billy Donovan, as the focus of the piece, seems to take it in stride. “The fact is that 40 percent of all kids never make it to their junior year once they enter on a college campus,” Donovan notes. “Kids want to play.”

(h/t Team Speed Kills)

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