Opportunities for Improvement in 2023 Part 2 – The Transfer Portal

This is Part 2 in my post-season series of opportunities for improvement moving forward. If you’d like to read Part 1, which was about our redshirting process (and some of that content will be referenced in this article), it can be found here.

It’s a tough topic to discuss comprehensively because, as of this moment, there’s still a lot that has yet to happen to shape the outlook of the team for 2023-2024. Depending on how all of that shakes out (and it’s trending positive as we just learned of the signing of Andrew Rohde but there’s still work to do in the frontcourt), the end result of this offseason could end up being a net-positive or a net-negative. That being said, there’s still some things that, independent of total outcome, we can learn from this year’s approach, last year’s approach, and ways to think about our strategy around the portal moving forward as we continue to see the rapid evolution of its use. Let’s start by setting the framework for some of the discussion, then look at what happened over the past two seasons, and then look at how I think we should alter our approach moving forward to best adjust to the current landscape, at least as it is. And where it is – is that about 20% of active players are entering the portal for one reason or another. So, the back drop…


By itself, NIL could be its own long piece, and this isn’t that piece. Nor do I have the extensive level of knowledge around this that others do. I have, however, gotten some line of sight into it this past year, and I can share that UVa’s collective with Cav Futures is actually pretty competitive, generally, with what many other major programs offer and looks primed to be more so as the official partnership begins to take shape. Between the last transfer recruiting cycle and this year alone, it sounds as though most schools have already shifted pretty dramatically from being willing to straight-out quote NIL numbers, to backing away and instead just discussing the structure of the collectives. Listening to some folks in the know discuss this, as well as just listening to the recent communications from Lo Davis on this podcast, this is something that we’re always going to have structured in a compliant way, and as a support function. There are going to be plenty of schools – Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, Nebraska, Miami certainly last year, as examples – that either lead with the bag or allude to it heavily during transfer recruiting. This, at least currently, seems to give some of them a leg up in recruiting above their station with some of the portal guys. But, MOST transfer recruiting is still very much focused on the program, playing time, development, the coach, the system, prospective teammates, etc. NIL inevitably comes up and is a factor in all of these conversations, but as long as the program has a substantive and functioning collective, which we absolutely do, the ability to draw quality players is very much still within reach and we’ve seen it happen twice over the past couple of days, with both Jordan Minor and Andrew Rohde – Minor being considered by some a top 20 portal prospect, depending on the publication. I know concretely from discussions that none of our three transfers out this year were a direct result of NIL, they were a result of things that happened last year and how that lead to their view of program fit for next year.

The program still very much has draw. It’s a high-exposure destination that regularly competes for ACC championships, with a coach with a proven track record of developing and sending guys to the pros, that also has a growing NIL collective. In most circumstances, we will not have the reach to pull the most high profile names who are looking for that immediate huge pay day, but we will draw highly competitive players with a high level of ability/potential. More to come on this.

Not All Transfers Out Are a Bad Thing

Another premise that I’d like to establish in the context of the above is that many, I’d even argue most, of our transfers out have not been a bad thing for the program. Scholarship slots at a program like this are incredibly valuable and we want to be maximizing both the talent and upside of the players occupying those slots. We’ve historically benefitted from growing players within the system. With more time spent getting reps in the defense and growing individual skills, the high 3 to 4-Star guys can compete at a very high level. That being said, the potential for the portal to return quality players is high, so the standard for keeping/growing our internal guys should also be very high. We should (and, in most cases, have been) be asking ourselves pretty early on, is this the kind of player who can be a plus contributor in a championship run with time and development. I don’t mean someone who can log minutes for you on a talented team and still win a title, I mean someone who can be a positive driving factor themselves toward that goal. It’s the difference between players who struggle increasingly the harder the competition faced, vs. players who can be the reason that you’re competitive against those same teams.

That might sound harsh, but it’s the reality of running a competitive program and, quite frankly, CTB does this ALL of the time. He holds post-season meetings with individual returning players and it’s well-documented that those conversations are honest assessments of where the players need to improve and what their path to contribution looks like ahead. Many players enter the portal as a result of this conversation from hearing that their path to playing time isn’t as clear as they would like it to be, which, again, is by design. CTB is never going to chase a scholarship player away if they really want to be there despite hearing about their playing prospects, but he will try to influence that decision by making the reality clear. This is necessary and something that we’ve done very well over the years. In fact, other than Casey Morsell who, by all accounts, CTB was much more hands off with his decision to leave, this year’s group of transfers out (specifically Traudt and Shedrick) are the first two he’s pressed hard to try to influence a “stay” decision and lost out on. Every other player (and I would argue that Franklin was still an upgrade over Morsell) he was comfortable seeing leave AND was able to replace with an upgrade in talent either through the portal or by paving the way to more playing time for the younger talent on the team or in the next freshman recruiting class. Jabri Abdur-Rahim was the most borderline with regard to upside and not immediately getting a like replacement back, but it was clear both that after a year in the system, CTB was comfortable with him leaving and that his output at Georgia hasn’t made us regret that assessment. In fact, with so much talent available to move between teams now, it’s important to refresh, as often as possible, the weakest slots on the team, or those who just haven’t been good fits, with stronger options and better depth. Tying up slots with players who don’t offer what you can find when you have openings is an opportunity cost and an impactful one.

A common argument is that a less talented player developing within the system longer is worth more than a slightly more talented player who we’re bringing in fresh and expecting to contribute right away. This is the entire concept behind why we as a program have been successful winning league titles compared to one-and-done teams. Conversely, it’s also a big reason those teams have success by the time they’re able to gel in conference/NCAA tournaments where we have, with one glorious exception, more often than not underperformed our seeding. I don’t think we have to settle for this method in the same way any longer, which I’ll elaborate on a bit later. The main point being that we should not fear the transfer out most of the time if it’s for these reasons. In fact, we’re going to WANT some amount of transfers out in order to open up the roster for ready-made plug-and-play guys or, as we’re seeing now, highly talented freshman stragglers or re-classifications.

The Portal Gives You Stability But Also Requires More Assurances

Every player has ONE free and immediate transfer prior to their graduation (of which we’ll see less of when all of the COVID exceptions end) barring some kind of extenuating circumstance such as coaching change, hardship, etc. This means that, in actuality, landing a transfer with 2-3 years of eligibility left is more of a sure thing in terms of securing their long-term contribution to the program than landing a high school recruit. But recruiting a transfer is also different. These are more experienced and seasoned players who, certainly in the case of 3rd-5th year guys, are looking/expecting to come in and play right away. They’re looking to fill a need on a roster immediately and to showcase their talents in a new setting, whether that be moving up or down the figurative ladder. CTB never guarantees playing time per everything he’s ever said publicly and from all accounts by players he’s recruited. But, to land an attractive transfer in that mold, in most cases, he would need to speak to an immediate need and how the player would fill that need. If you start nabbing high profile transfers and they don’t play, that’s a potential warning sign to future transfer prospects and makes us a less appealing destination. So, now it becomes an important determination between the quality of the player coming in vs. what we have already in the pipeline.

For example, we’ll talk more about the current state of things shortly, but we just landed Jordan Minor for his last year of eligibility. By his account, we told him that he’d be utilized both at PF and small-ball Center and fit into a significant hole left by our many offseason departures. Now, we can feel very confident that he’s going to be utilized in those roles, no matter what. Blake Buchanan might light the world on fire. Leon Bond and Ryann Dunn might prove to be a potent defensive pairing at 3-4 with improved offense. Jarin Stevenson might re-classify, join our team, and look every bit of the skilled and physically gifted prospect that he is right away. No matter how it all shakes out, you can bet on Minor getting his minutes. Why? Because if he doesn’t, word is going to get out that he was pitched a concrete opportunity as a graduate senior only to get recruited over and/or not to be given the opportunity to play. It would make the destination less attractive for future transfer prospects. Conversely, although I absolutely do not recommend doing this with talented prospects as I’ll talk about in my next piece, if you recruit over high school recruits and they do not earn playing time to more experienced players, that’s much more explainable externally. “We’re always looking to make our team better and we recruited an experienced player.” “The (high school recruit) wasn’t ready to contribute right away and so they went and looked for another opportunity….” it’s an expected thing that many recruits in their freshman seasons won’t see as much time as more experienced guys, even if they aren’t happy about the outcome. It’s more expected and doesn’t move the needle in the same way from an external perception.

So, all of that being said, you better make sure that the guys you’re bringing in, certainly those with only a year or two left who are expecting to play right away, ARE significantly better than who you already have access to on the roster. Because, if you’re bringing in guys who aren’t significantly better than the talent you’re grooming and they play over them, that’s going to sow some discontent and create concerns about a merit-based playing system. It also runs the risk of losing the younger player to the portal the other way. Better to be conservative with who you bring in via the portal if there’s doubt.

Now, a player with 3+ years of eligibility left who transfers in is now locked until they graduate (again, pending not extenuating circumstances). This is a slightly different story and may involve a different discussion when appealing to them altogether. In their case, you can almost view them as you did high school recruits previously. But, similarly, you ARE committing to them long term because the option to leave without sitting out a year is no longer there for them, so it cuts both ways. Andrew Rohde and Dante Harris fall into this category. I would assume they expect to compete for immediate playing time, but there’s less innate urgency around getting either immediately.

Last Year

Now, I’d like to consider last year’s decisions through the lens of all of the above. To a sitting roster with so much experience and with our best incoming high school recruiting class since 2016, we added Ben Vander Plas. He was an experienced player who brought good passing and vision, capable shooting at times (waned as the season went on), and added a stretch element to our offense that only Isaac Traudt could have on the roster as it was. In a vacuum, without considering any of the above, it makes complete sense. Top out your roster with a veteran version of a skillset that you could only fill through an inexperienced player. I highlighted in my last piece how this forced Traudt’s hand to redshirt and how we know he had no intent on doing so coming into the season. In my next piece, I’m going to focus more on playing time in detail, but we know that Kadin Shedrick left as a direct result of his utilization (or lack thereof) last year as well. On the surface, neither of these things seem like they HAVE to be transfer issues. We certainly could have played Shedrick more throughout the year, we also could have kept Traudt live and extended the rotation. These are things we should do as we attempt to keep more talent en masse within our locker room. But, BVP was by most assessments a top 80 incoming transfer recruit who came here to showcase, and he was playing alongside a similarly highly sought after transfer from the previous season in Jayden Gardner.

Looking at BVP this past season, certainly, CTB regarded him as a better and more ready fit for our team this year than either Traudt or Shedrick. Although in Italy and in the scrimmages prior to the season he wasn’t, though, so certainly the talent level had to be somewhat close. The collective sense was that BVP was a more polished and ready defender, a better passer, and better at functioning within our respective systems and Traudt was a better shooter/pure offensive player with more length. We know that CTB values experience and winning now but was BVP SO much better that it was worth keeping Traudt off of the floor altogether and increasing the risk that we lose his up to 4 years of eligibility for BVP’s 1 year? Similarly, I wrote all season about the issues with playing both Gardner and BVP alongside each other and the cost that was coming at Kadin’s minutes. That’s not the kind of equation that CTB typically likes to consider. He’s always said that you simply play the best guys who give you the best chance of winning, period. There’s a meritocracy to that (although, as I’ll discuss later, I think there are some carve outs to this clause). But, I’d argue that it IS the kind of question that we need to start asking and paying attention to moving forward. How talented and how much potential does the guy who we’re recruiting over have? How much better would the incoming transfer be NOW than that player? If we can’t get the younger guy on the floor much as a result of this move, what’s the risk factor of loss there? If we lose several years of the younger guy would it be worth the shorter amount of time the transfer brings?

There’s going to be a lot of meat left on this bone, of which I’m aware and which is why I keep mentioning that Part 3 of this series is going to focus on rotations/playing time to hopefully tie everything from all three parts into a neat little bow. But many analysts covering the team, myself vehemently among those, questioned the shift during the latter part of the season toward using Gardner and BVP as starters/heavy minute loggers at the 4/5 regardless of matchup and, mostly, regardless of how either were playing. We don’t know ALL of the reasons that this was the case, but I do know that the reason given both to the team and at least alluded to more broadly was that they saw something in the second half of the UNC game and the contests shortly thereafter that they liked with smaller lineups and decided to push in that direction….

Except, that doesn’t fully add up. The second half of the UNC game DID feature BVP playing excellently, but he did so alongside four guards, Beekman, Clark, McKneely, and Franklin. Both Shedrick and Gardner sat on the bench for all, or almost all, of that half respectively. In the subsequent three games against FSU, VT, and Wake Forest, Gardner ranged from between 19-22 minutes total and we saw a dramatic increase in the time both the 4-guard lineup saw and that Ryan Dunn saw alongside BVP playing increasingly from 17, 25, and then 30 minutes respectively. That’s the window of time everyone remembers Small Ball cooking but it wasn’t Small Ball, it was Smaller Ball and Smallest Ball that was thriving during that stretch. So, if all of that was the motivation for the playing time shift, how did we then get entrenched in 30+ minutes per game for both Gardner and BVP alongside of each other to increasingly worse effect?

I think the answer has to be, at least to some extent, that CTB felt a level of responsibility to get his most experienced guys – perhaps his most individually talented at the position, who joined the program through the portal and who only had this final year left to play – significant run. Now, there’s absolutely more to it than that alone, and if Shedrick had lit the world on fire when he got his minutes during this stretch, I’m sure he would have seen more time. But there were games where he did play very well (N.C. State) or showed glimpses (B.C., Duke, etc.) but got pulled with a quick leash immediately after any mistakes. Consciously or subconsciously, I think CTB expected to have Shedrick back for another year (or even two), expected to have Traudt back for his full collegiate career, and felt like he could afford to have them be patient and wait their turn, so to speak, while wanting to play his most experienced and polished guys; cementing the value of transfers into the program. Sure, it’s definitely likely that CTB thought that Gardner and BVP playing together was his best lineup despite all information pointing to the contrary, I’m not suggesting that he was intentionally not playing a lineup that he thought was better. But, I do think some of the calculus had to be, at the very least, in the back of his mind and accounts for some of the extremity of his skew toward that pairing no matter what.

So, what adjustments would I like to see us make? I don’t disagree with the mentality of needing to find significant time for players like BVP who join your team through the portal. At many points throughout the season, he was our best PF. At many points, he was our best center playing alongside the right combination of players against the right matchups. If you draw players who only have a year or two to make an impact, you need to let them make their impact or else you risk losing that same opportunity with future transfer prospects.

But, we have to change the way we manage our roster with both the short and long term in mind. In a world where 20% of all players enter the portal for one reason or another, we’re one of the few schools privileged enough to have had quality success keeping our guys who have been utilized in house. We’re not so bulletproof that we can retain guys we want long term without giving them time, though, especially guys who are around the top 50 recruit range or who have previously been long term starters. To be clear, I have it on very good authority both that CTB pressed to keep both Traudt and Shedrick after the season ended and that the reasons both left did have to do with their playing situations last year. Do not be lulled into thinking that the reason given for the transfer publicly (homesickness in Traudt’s case) was the only, or even biggest, reason behind the decision. So, unlike with many of our other transfers out, these were not guys we planned on or wanted to lose.

Given all of the factors involved, If we had a do-over I do think you avoid bringing BVP in and should avoid introducing a similar situation in the future. And, to be very clear, it’s not BVP’s fault. He was very good for us, at times, over the span of the season. He was not so much better than the alternative that it was worth the attrition to those guys that likely would have been avoided otherwise. In the old pre-portal world, sure. The best play used to almost always be adding as much talent as you could even if it was a marginal improvement, it was an improvement. But now, I think it’s much more important to look holistically and to weigh what you gain vs. what you realistically risk losing. It’s a philosophical adjustment, for sure, but one that’s necessary to retain the most talent that you can across the roster for the longest period of time.

Current State

All of the above as context, let’s walk through where everything stands, in my opinion, with regard to the above on the current roster. This is my assessment of where I see our moving roster pieces. Please note for the purposes of this exercise the following terminology: A “Regrettable Loss” means a player you would try to keep and it’s unclear if you’ll be able to land a replacement to match their total amount of potential/contribution through the portal. A “Desired Loss” means someone who you would encourage to look for opportunity elsewhere because you could likely upgrade their potential/contribution through the portal. A “Regrettable Keep” is someone whose potential/contribution you could likely upgrade but they opt to stay with the program. A “Desired Keep” is someone who stays with the program whose potential/contribution is potentially high and you ideally want to build around/utilize. The terminology sounds harsh, but it’s not intended as any judgment on the person themselves, just what they’ve shown on the court and what (IMO) their upside likely could entail. It’s a roster management thought exercise that anyone leading a program would need to think about. I’m also including their position and number of years remaining of their eligibility:


Regrettable Loss:

Isaac Traudt (PF, 4), Kadin Shedrick (C, 2)

Desired Loss:

Francisco Caffaro (C, 1)

Regrettable Keep:

Taine Murray (SF, 2)

Desired Keep:

Isaac McKneely (SG, 3), Ryan Dunn (SF/PF, 3), Leon Bond (SF, 4)

Desired Incoming

Jordan Minor (PF/C, 1), Dante Harris (PG, 3), Elijah Gertrude (SG, 4),

Blake Buchanan (C, 4), Andrew Rohde (SG, 3)

Unknown (NBA)

Reece Beekman (PG, 2)


Some notes to color the above. The list is incomplete, as it stands. I really love what CTB and company are doing by aggressively going back after 2023 quality players who are, of yet, uncommitted or who have recently decommitted. Both SG Blue Cain and, especially, 5-star PF/C Jarin Stevenson would be huge adds if either or (dare I hope?) both committed. It seems harder to both find and draw talent of the ability of Traudt/Shedrick in the portal, but pivoting back to high school to up your talent pool, especially with a potential re-classification, would be a very sharp way to navigate this.

If all of that were to come together in a dream scenario (or even if we just added Stevenson from here) it’s unclear that’s actually a worse trade than what we have going out and I think I’d sign up for that swap. If we don’t add Stevenson, then we still need another player with length who can offer rim protection. There are certainly still quality options out there, but that will be trickier to navigate, especially if we’re wisely waiting on his decision to act. Which builds to my larger point and, eventually what will be my conclusion of this one – the program is at a point where it should be able to draw high-quality talent. Traudt and Shedrick were both losses that hurt. It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to directly upgrade what we lost in them on a one-to-one player basis. But, the fact that there’s a plausible scenario where that isn’t far-fetched illustrates our ability to draw and the staff’s ability to creatively find not just good, but great potential solutions to bad situations. This also hopefully adds some context to my classification of Murray above, who could certainly develop into a positive contributor. However, IMO, the odds of him being that plus contributor I discussed earlier on a team that accomplishes what we want to accomplish, given what we’ve seen from him already, are low. Plus, we have the ability to find players in the portal, like Rohde, who are longer, ostensibly more athletic, have more years of eligibility, and have already established their game at this level more. I believe and hope that Rohde is a straight upgrade over that slot.

Minor (and I’ll spotlight our incoming transfers over the offseason) is a multi-year All-Conference talent with good strength and athleticism who fills an immediate need and whose presence shouldn’t keep either Buchanan or (fingers-crossed) Stevenson off of the floor. He’s all upside as a talented player who offers a one year stop gap and who isn’t blocking anyone more talented. As a situation where he’s forced into heavy minutes as the team’s Center rather than playing him there in situational matchups, I’m less enthused. Despite his physicality, 6’8″ is not a large Center by ACC standards and he’d be ceding a lot of size against many of our conference rivals (as well as higher-level competition). But, between the potential to give Buchanan some significant run, a possible Stevenson re-class, and a couple of other guys we’ve been linked to in the portal, I’m not yet concerned.

Similarly, this is why I was not overly keen on our early interest in Robert Jennings prior to him pulling out of the portal to stay at Texas Tech. At 6’7″, with a similar but ostensibly less explosive skillset than either Dunn or Minor and without being much more compelling off of the bounce or from the outside, his skillset seemed redundant to me for probably less upside. Bringing in a player to either compete with Dunn or Bond and/or to cement Minor to getting more time at the 5 did not seem like the way to go and touched on some of the themes we’ve covered above. By not locking him down for three more years, we keep our options more open and funnel more minutes into our existing pipeline to our, better IMO, athletes.

Putting It All Together

The times aren’t a-changing, they’ve already changed, but I do think we sit in a great position to capitalize on them. Between our future HoF coach, cutting edge data, health science, and facilities, position regularly atop the ACC, and emerging NIL, we absolutely have the ability to draw. We’ve seen as much between the 2022 class, who we have signed in the 2023 class and the additional potential there, and a long, somewhat, recent history of quality transfers highlighted most prominently by Trey Murphy and Sam Hauser…. Now hopefully with the addition of Jordan Minor and Andrew Rohde. But we both need to keep our most talented players in house and to be selective about who and when we bring in portal players in order to maximize our total talent pool. The goal should be a running year-after-year such that our upside is championship-quality and our bench is deep enough to both comfortably play a longer rotation and to withstand the inevitable turnover we will see via the portal and, hopefully (good turnover for the program’s status!), guys leaving for the NBA.

Part 1 of this model is changing our approach to redshirting, which I discussed earlier. Part 3 is refining our approach to playing time, which I’ll approach in much more detail later but, as a spoiler, requires that we be purposeful about going deeper into our bench. Which, hopefully we’re maximizing our talent there anyway. But Part 2 is about our view of roster construction with the portal in mind.

Firstly, I’d like to keep our high school classes more selective and focused almost solely on top-end, minimum 4-star talent. If you have a sleeper player like Ryan Dunn who is flying comparatively under the radar but who brings with him elite size/athleticism, by all means. But, generally, don’t recruit any project players, give or take, outside of the top 100 or so. We cannot guarantee that they will develop on our timeline nor can we guarantee we’ll be able to keep them engaged throughout the process if they aren’t playing/earning that time. Where, previously, the strategy was to grow those kinds of players internally through our player development and system knowledge with the goal of striking gold a few times, now it’s no longer necessary and occupies slots/opportunity.

Instead, swing for the fences on high-end talent like Isaac McKneely, Isaac Traudt, Leon Bond, Ryan Dunn, Elijah Gertrude, Blake Buchanan and, fingers crossed, Jarin Stevenson and/or Blue Cain. And when you land those guys, get them at least some regular minutes/on the court immediately. None of this slow development. Trial by fire. Again, more to come on this topic, but be willing to take some lumps in the short term, especially early, to get them experience and engagement. If you do more permanently turn away from a player over the course of a chunk of games, be willing to accept that may be a decision right then and there that the player will be looking elsewhere in the long term.

As part of the second prong, use the portal in two main ways. For one, use it to draw high impact guys to fill an immediate need in the short term (1-2 years) from any unexpected losses that we do have and/or losses to success – like players leaving to turn pro early (which hopefully we’ll see more and more of as the program thrives). Do NOT bring in guys primarily for their experience to play ahead of less polished but more talented players, though. Be very intentional about who you select from this group, that the role they play is both needed and open and that the impact they can have is significantly bigger than whoever would fill that role without them.

Secondly, then use the portal as basically college basketball’s version of a farm system targeting sophomores with 3 remaining years of eligibility. The freshmen who blow up at smaller schools like the Andrew Rohde’s of the world can now become your long-term projects (or immediate contributors if the shoe fits). These are the players filling your former “project” high school scholarships but rather than swinging on these kinds of prospects out of high school, let smaller schools take them, see which players excel, and then bring them into the fold with a full year of playing experience already under their belt rather than a year of sitting on the bench in your program. It eliminates most of the uncertainty as you have a year of proof that they can thrive at the Division I level. It also enhances your roster flexibility and quality as you aren’t tying up slots on your team to groom riskier prospects and, in so doing, you aren’t risking losing them anyway if they have potential but aren’t getting the time they want and drop down to a smaller school to look for it. Your risk and likelihood of bust rate is minimized. And let’s face it, CTB is big on having seen players do it at this level before he trusts them enough to give them run. That’s always been a hurdle for younger guys – making the most with the limited time given. But players who have already proven they can do it pre-earn his trust before they even get here (or at least don’t face the same barrier to entry), as we’ve seen with Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, BVP, etc. Plus, with their free transfer used, now you have the confidence that they can be that backbone to your program longer term to grow/learn within the system as you augment around them.

If there are players who committed to us out of high school who do not appear to be progressing or have good long-term chances of being plus contributors, continue to position that to them after each season as we have been. The more talent you add to the team, a regrettable keep is the same as a regrettable loss of someone else who could have come in the door.

I expect we’re already seeing some of these changes take place between Minor as a potential high-impact one year player and Rohde/Harris as longer term building blocks. Only signing two players in the 2023 class but having both be so highly regarded in Gertrude and Buchanan is another indication. How both are utilized next season (assuming Gertrude gets healthy) will also be telling as to whether or not there’s been an adjustment to our playing time philosophy. But, either way, making the structural adjustments that I recommend allows us to be able to pivot as we have been to make aggressive plays for players like Blue Cain and Jarin Stevenson who either become free late in the recruiting cycle or who look to re-classify. It also allows us to continue to play to our strengths as a program that develops players and that thrives from as much continuity/repetition as possible in today’s world. By being conservative around high school offers, holding out for high-end talent, and then targeting those quality sophomore transfers, it simply shifts the process forward by one year while, hopefully, being more open to allowing immediate impact talent to see time as well.

I’ve written in the past that there have been several watershed moments over CTB’s tenure that have caused him to make a shift to his approach on certain things. I both hope, but also think, that losing a top 50 recruit the year after his redshirt and a rangy rim protector being wooed by Duke will trigger one of those moments. I’ve now covered both the redshirting process and how we can tweak our approach to the portal. In the next and last piece, I’ll take a look at how playing time and rotations have been approached in recent seasons and changes that could be made to thrive within the framework of these two parts.

3 responses to “Opportunities for Improvement in 2023 Part 2 – The Transfer Portal”

    • Thank you! Possibly. I have some plans re: Part 3, doing previews of all incoming transfers with film, and then some other stuff – but might have time for this. In the meantime, the main three have been Sides, Inside Triangle, and 5-out (often as a transition set prior to flowing into one of the other two offenses but sometimes stand alone). There is a lot in the specific game reviews covering either. First UNC and FSU are especially good for Triangle and 5-Out and earlier games have a lot of Sides.


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