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2019 NCAA Free Agent Tracker: May 14th Edition

(Photo by Ryan Messier/Paint Touches)

It’s back and better than ever! Welcome to the NCAA Free Agent Tracker. This is Paint Touches’ fifth year of covering the NCAA basketball graduate transfer market. Every player listed here is eligible for either the Graduate Transfer Exception or the Graduate Transfer Waiver, meaning they will be immediately eligible for their new teams in the 19-20 season. This year, Paint Touches is also tracking  regular transfers on a separate list. One caveat I’ll give before sharing this list, this is merely one man’s opinion and analysis of which Free Agents are the best available. I am not a former player, I have never coached college basketball, I spent my high school years playing in the pep band not on the hardwood. I am merely some guy on the internet who, from a scary young age, has spent way too many waking hours watching, debating, and obsessing over college basketball …who is also armed with several subscriptions to various advanced stat services. Now that we have that out of the way….to the list!

Las week was one of the busiest for this season’s free agent tracker. This week was surprisingly slow. We at Paint Touches’ are grateful for the reprieve as it allowed us time to catch up and re-expand from a top 10 to a top 15. We only have one name gone from last week’s top 10 though it was doozy of a name. That top 3 free agent got replaced by a former Burger Boy looking for his third school. The rest of the action was all on the honorable mention list as 8/20 found new homes in the past week. This means that while there is still some high quality grad transfers available, the depth is getting dangerously low. Some of the guys towards the back of our honorable mention list likely would only be role players for semi-decent high majors. As this list shrinks, we may start to shut the tracker down for the year.

Added:
#7 Derryck Thornton
HM Darius Allen
HM Jerekius Davis
HM Hyron Edwards
HM Bakari Evelyn
HM Kain Harris
HM Micaiah Henry
HM Skyler Hogan
HM Lorenzo Jenkins

Removed:
#3 Rayjon Tucker (committed to Memphis)
HM Edric Dennis Jr (committed to TCU)
HM Malik Ellison (committed to Hartford)
HM T.J. Holyfield (committed to Texas Tech)
HM Deion James (committed to Washington State)
HM Jerry Johnson Jr (committed to Arkansas State)
HM Elijah Mitrou-Long (committed to UNLV)
HM Marcus Sheffield (committed to Elon)
HM Guilien Smith (committed to Northeastern)

1. Kerry Blackshear Jr- 6’10” 250 lb RSJR PF from Virginia Tech
30.0 mpg, 14.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.8 bpg, 1.8 tpg, 54.5 2P%, 21 3PM, 33.3 3P%

 It is hard to imagine anyone displacing this whale from the top of this year’s list. Kerry Blackshear Jr was one of the top two players on a Virginia Tech squad that just went to the Sweet 16 on the power of a 3 seed. He is a dominate offensive post player, scoring 168 points on post up opportunities with deadly efficiency and an additional 80 points on putbacks. He led the Hokies in rebounding and was particularly good on the offensive glass, cleaning up 13.7% of missed FGs when he was on the floor. While most of his work is done in the paint, he does have the ability to shoot from 15 feet out with some consistency and even had 21 3Ps on the season. Defensively, Blackshear is sound. He led the team in blocks per game and was good at walling off opposing big men. He struggled when he got stuck covering defenders in space and often got outmaneuvered. Blackshear is testing the NBA waters but is expected to return. He will have his pick of programs including the possibility of following Buzz Williams down to Aggieland.

Update (4/25): Blackshear may or may not have met with John Calipari this past Monday. Blackshear denied it but others have widely reported it.

Update (5/1): Rivals has reported that Florida, Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Michigan State are all in the mix.

Update (5/14): Corey Evans reported that Blackshear is leaning towards staying the NBA draft.

2. Shakur Juiston- 6’7” 220 lb RSJR SF from UNLV
30.4 mpg, 14.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.5 tpg, 63.7 2P%, 2 3PM, 100 3P% (17-18 stats)

Shakur Juiston arrived at UNLV as part of a class that was supposed to resurrect the Running Rebel basketball brand. Instead, he will leave it reeling as UNLV is losing its coach and seemingly half of its roster to transfer. Juiston was the #1 rated JUCO in the class of 2017 and more than lived up to that rating in his first season in Vegas. He averaged a double double for the year and showed all the signs of being a lockdown defender. He’s a bit undersized to play the 5 but doesn’t shoot well enough away from the rim in order to play anything else effectively. For Marquette fans, Ed Morrow wouldn’t be the worst player comp for Juiston. Big question for Juiston is his health. He’s an unquestionable talent but a torn meniscus sidelined him for most of the 18-19 season. If his explosiveness has been limited, that takes a lot of the shine off our early pick for one of the top free agents.

Update (4/25): Little to no news on this front. Juiston is believed to be waiting until after he graduates to start looking at schools.

Update (5/1): Grand Canyon is rumored to be a possibility for Juiston because his former coach Marvin Menzies just took an assistant gig there.

3. Chris Clarke- 6’6” 210 lb SR SF from Virginia Tech
24.6 mpg, 8.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 2.3 tpg, 60.8 2P%, 14 3PM, 42.4 3P% (17-18 stats)

I have to say, as a Marquette fan there has been a little perverse pleasure in watching Buzz Williams leave another program in a smoking crater after taking a new job. Lots of transfers and decommits have already hit the Hokies and things look bleak in Blacksburg for next season. One of the more intriguing departures is rising senior Chris Clarke. Clarke was a top 100 recruit and was an integral part of the rotation in his first three seasons. He was a model of offensive efficiency and displayed the gritty in your face defense that Buzz teams have become known for. He was set to have a major role this past season but ended up never seeing the court. He along with freshman Lander Nolley Jr were suspended for the entirety of the season. No reason for the suspension was ever given but Virginia Tech did just fine without him, earning a top seed and eventually making the Sweet 16. The suspension raises some red flags but expect a lot of programs to get involved with Clarke. According to Clarke’s father, he is looking for a team that will let him be the starting PG. If your team has need of a lead guard with size, Clarke could be your man.

Update (5/14): All is quiet on this front. Maybe the suspension is keeping suitors away?

4. Isaiah Moss- 6’5” 208 lb RSJR SG from Iowa
24.1 mpg, 9.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.4 tpg, 38.3 2P%, 48 3PM, 42.1 3P%

There’s always a few big name free agents who don’t make themselves known until late in the season. Iowa’s Isaiah Moss is the first of the late arrivals to this year’s tracker. Moss started his career as a Hawkeye as a redshirt. He began his second year on the bench but it only took him seven games to grab a starting role which he never gave up. Moss earned that role at first with his defense, hounding opposing guards and using his long arms to disrupt incoming passes. The offense developed in his later years as he became a knockdown outside shooter. His shot volume was never very high but the efficiency was. In 92 catch and shoot opportunities, Moss scored 130 points, which put his points per possession on those shots at a blistering 1.4, 99th percentile in all of Division 1. The trouble for him comes inside the arc. Moss has never been good at attacking off the bounce…in isolation….off pick and rolls….or really anything that isn’t a catch and shoot jumper. Even with this limitation, he has massive three and d potential and could have a role on any roster in the country. Marquette has a lot of guards, but they do need some floor spacing which Moss could provide. Moss was also teammates with Ed Morrow at Simeon High in Chicago.

Update (5/14): Reportedly over 50 schools reached out to Moss but he is already down to 4: Arkansas, Arizona State, Kansas, and Oregon.

5. Lindsey Drew- 6’4” 180 lb SR PG from Nevada
29.2 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.9 bpg, 1.3 tpg, 51.7 2P%, 16 3PM, 39.0 3P% (17-18 stats)

No mid-major had higher expectations coming into the season than the Wolfpack of Nevada. Something missed in those projections was that their floor general was going to miss the season with a hip injury that required surgery. Lindsey Drew is an exceptional point guard who excels at putting his teammates in good positions to score. Surrounded by talent such as Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins, Drew carved opposing defenses with his passing. He has unmatched handles which allowed him to get deep inside of opposing defenses only to kick it out to an open shooter or rolling big man. He has a very high basketball IQ and is known for almost never making the wrong play. This is unsurprising given the basketball family that he comes from. His father Larry Drew is the current head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. High majors in need of a PG will be coming after Drew hard. He may opt to follow Musselmann to Arkansas as Drew was the first HS recruit that Musselmann convinced to come to Reno.

6. Jaevin Cumberland- 6’3” 185 lb RSJR PG from Oakland
37.0 mpg, 17.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.8 tpg, 47.8 2P%, 109 3PM, 39.9 3P%

Jaevin Cumberland came out of nowhere this past season. His first three years he could barely get off the bench, averaging a paltry 6.4 minutes a contest. He hurt his knee during the start of the 17-18 season and took the rest of the year off. He came back from the injury a new man. He led the team in minutes and was top two in points, assists, and steals for the Golden Grizzlies. The key for him was the development of his outside shot. Last season he hit 109 triples, most of any player on the tracker this season but over 20 makes. He was electric in transition, scoring 104 points in only 74 transition attempts. He showed no fear pulling up from three and making teams pay for dropping back in transition. In the halfcourt, he usually played off the ball but played the role of second point guard on the floor. His outside scoring attack could be used on any roster on the country though his defense could limit his effectiveness. Cincinnati may be his landing spot as his brother Jarron is a standout there.

Update (4/25): Cumberland has visited Oregon and is visiting Purdue. NC State is also in the hunt.

Update (5/7): Cumberland is supposedly visiting the Michigan Wolverines in the near future.

Update (5/14): Cumberland visited Michigan last week and is supposedly near a decision. One has to wonder if the Beilein news threw a wrench in his plans.

7. Derryck Thornton- 6’3” 195 lb RSJR PG from USC
27.7 mpg, 7.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.1 bpg, 2.0 tpg, 41.5 2P%, 18 3PM, 28.6 3P%

A few short years ago, Derryck Thornton was the uncontested king of Paint Touches’ traditional transfer tracker. Coming out of high school he was a Burger Boy. As a freshman he averaged 26 minutes a game at blue blooded Duke (though it was an admittedly down season by Duke standards). Everyone wanted his services. Eventually, he ended up back home in Los Angeles as a member of the USC Trojans. To many people’s surprise, he could barely get off the bench in his first season as a Trojan. He went from starting at a blood to getting 14 minutes a game as Jordan McLaughlin’s backup. With McLaughlin graduating, Thornton got the chance to shine this past season, earning a starting role on a team the struggled in a very weak PAC 12 conference. Thornton’s strength is his distribution. When he is dialed in, he can make some absolutely pretty passes. He led the team in assist rate by a wide margin and an acceptable turnover rate under 20%. The trouble starts when he call his own number. Thornton is fine as a catch and shoot player but his numbers attacking the rim are terribly inefficient. He’s far from a lockdown defender as well, though he did lead the team in steal rate. Thornton has undeniable talent and if he could be convinced to focus his efforts on being a pass first PG, he could fill an important role on a top high major.

8. Wesley Harris- 6’8” 200 lb RSJR SF from West Virginia
25.2 mpg, 7.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.4 bpg, 1.5 tpg, 43.4 2P%, 20 3PM, 32.3 3P%

Wesley Harris had a short but tumultuous career as a West Virginia Mountaineer. After arriving as one of the top JUCOs in the country, Harris started every game in his first season in Morgantown. He played the role of fifth starter and was an important piece of the Mountaineers’ rebounding and defensive gameplan. There was an incident that first year where Harris struck a Texas Tech fan during a court storming. Then before this past season started, Harris faced misdemeanor battery charges for his role in a road rage type incident. Then after playing an expanded role in his second season, Harris was dismissed for the dreaded “violation of team rules” with no specific explanation given. There are a lot of red flags here that coaches will need to ask some questions about, but if they are willing to give Harris a chance he could provide a strong, physical presence that could bolster many defensive units. It is unclear if Harris actually qualifies as a grad transfer. He was theoretically on track to graduate after this season, but this writer does not know if he stayed in class following his dismissal from the team. If he did not graduate then he would become a sit one, play one transfer which would considerably lower his value.

Update (5/14): No news on this front. Possibly another case of a suspension keeping suitors away.

9. Jaire Grayer- 6’5” 200 lb SR SG from George Mason
30.7 mpg, 12.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.8 bpg, 1.5 tpg, 44.4 2P%, 67 3PM, 35.4 3P% (17-18 stats)

Jaire Grayer has been starting for the Pioneers since arriving from Flint, MI. He has never led the team in scoring but is the type of player who never shied away from doing the dirty work that needed to be done. As a junior, the undersized Pioneers tasked with Grayer with playing as a forward and he relished the role. At 200 lbs, Grayer led George Mason in rebounds often battling players with several inches on him. Defensively he used his long wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and cause chaos. His 1.3 steals a game was first on the team and his 0.8 blocks was second. Offensively, he was not an efficient scorer but was at his best when he could spot up from beyond the arc, making a team leading 67 treys with over 35% accuracy. These numbers didn’t just come against A10 competition, In games at Louisville and Auburn he notched double doubles with 20 and 18 points scored. Against an NIT bound Penn State squad he fell one rebounds short going 13 and 9. Grayer did play this most recent season but was slowed by a foot injury that had required offseason surgery. He only made it 7 games before complications forced him to shut down. If he is healthy and allowed to play at his more natural position of 2G or wing he could be very productive at the high major level. Arkansas transfer master Eric Musselman has already landed a visit from Grayer.

Update (5/7): Grayer has now missed two planned trips to Arkansas but is supposedly working on finding a new date to check out the Hogs.

Update (5/14): After multiple reschedules, Grayer finally made it to Fayetteville for his visit

10. Ryan Woolridge- 6’3” 175 lb RSJR PG from North Texas
32.8 mpg, 11.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.9 tpg, 50.4 2P%, 20 3PM, 33.3 3P%

North Texas has never been a basketball powerhouse but they did turn in 21 wins and a KenPom ranking near 150 this past season. The engine making all that go was Ryan Woolridge. Woolridge comes from Mansfield, Texas just an hours drive down I-35 from North Texas. He is a defensive-minded pass first PG and was the clear best player for the Mean Green. North Texas was one of the few teams last season that could claim to have six players who averaged double figures in scoring. They could accomplish this because Woolridge has an elite ability to distribute and keep everyone fed. When he called his own number, it was usually a drive out of a pick and roll set. He’s not an elite scorer but dangerous enough that he can make defenses pay if they don’t give him an open passing lane. He’s an elite defensive guard, using his larger frame to bully opposing guards. His long arms and quick hands gave him a steal rate of 3.5% one of the best in the nation. North Texas didn’t play a ringer of a schedule but Woolridge did light up on the one high major they faced with a 17 point game. He also has a triple double to his name, a 12 point, 10 rebound, 10 assist performance in a win at Indiana State. High majors in need of a pass first PG should be very interested in Woolridge’s services.

11. Thomas Bruce- 6’9” 225 lb SR C from Binghamton
31.1 mpg, 11.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 2.1 bpg, 1.8 tpg 60.0 2P%, 0 3PM, 0.00 3P% (17-18 stats)

The Binghamton Bearcats sorely missed big man Thomas Bruce this past season. Bruce suffered a severe concussion in the offseason and complications from that sidelined him for the entirety of the 18-19 year. Without the D.C. product in the lineup, the poor Bearcats were forced to play a 6’4” player at the 5 for most of the season. When Bruce was healthy, he was a double double machine, racking up 9 of them in his senior season. Some of them weren’t your garden variety 10 point, 10 rebeound double doubles. He put up some absurd numbers like 28 points, 11 rebounds against Cornell, 26 points 12 rebounds against Colgate, and 13 points, 19 rebounds against UMass-Lowell. He is a garbage man type big. Almost no range to his shot but has no problem cleaning up the the boards and converting near the hoop at an alarmingly high rate. He also is quite the rim defender with over 2 blocks a game. He had as many games with 4+ blocks as he did games with 0 blocks. The obvious concern with Bruce besides health is competition level. The Bearcats faced 0 high major opponents his junior year and the America East is pretty desolate besides a few decent teams in Vermont, Stony Brook, and UMBC. It is hard to imagine him putting up similar numbers for a high major. Even so, he could provide valuable depth to a frontcourt and find a role as rebounding and rim protecting specialist.

12. Brandon Kamga – 6’5” 215 lb RSJR SG from High Point
29.7 mpg, 13.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg, 1.8 tpg, 49.4 2P%, 39 3PM, 35.1 3P%

Brandon Kamga has spent the past two seasons playing Robin the Jahaad Proctor’s Batman at High Point University. Proctor was another member of the tracker who has since committed to Purdue. While defenses fell over themselves trying to stop Proctor from pouring in 20+ points, Kamga was right there to take advantage. While he averaged around 14 a game, he always had big game potential as he eclipsed the 25 point point mark 3 times this past season. He an expert at attacking out of the pick and roll, either driving all the way to the cylinder or simply getting a little space to shoot on a pick and pop play. Things would go sideways quickly when he tried to attack without the pick to help him as he only managed a mere 8 points in isolation this past year. On defense, Kamga boasts a 7’0” wingspan which allowed him to get up quickly and challenge jumposhooters. Despite being only 6’5”, Kamga’s long arms allowed him to have one of the best block rates on the Panthers. Kamga is likely not a star on any high major team. But he could provide valuable depth to a contender or be a starter on a team just looking to make the tournament.

13. Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey- 6’4” 191 lb SG from Tennessee State
28.2 mpg, 14.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.6 tpg, 48.6 2P%, 40 3PM, 38.1 3P%

While not a can’t miss recruit, Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey was considered a solid get for former Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. He was a consensus three star recruit and ranked between 100 and 200 in most services. He never found his footing in Oxford as he came off the bench as a freshman and saw his role almost disappear as a sophomore. He left seeking a bigger role and found it as a Tennessee State Tiger. The former Rebel instantly became the leading scorer and arguably best player for the Ohio Valley program. He dominated OVC defenses scoring a cool 14.3 points a game with solid efficiency numbers. He also rebounded very well for his size, and lead the team in defensive boards secured. Despite his presence, the Tigers mostly struggled as they only managed single digit wins on the season. Fitzpatrick-Dorsey did have the opportunity to play some good competition in the OVC and performed very well in the three games against Belmont and Murray State, the top two teams in conference. He also put up 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting against the Kentucky Wildcats. Fitzpatrick-Dorsey may be second a second chance on a high major roster though he’d likely be a 5th starter or top guy off the bench for most. He could also move up to a better mid-major and continue his role as one of the focal points of the offense.

14. Nic Thomas- 6’2” 185 lb RSJR SG from Norfolk State
29.7 mpg, 14.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 2.1 tpg, 34.5 2P%, 86 3PM, 39.4 3P%

Nic Thomas started his career at Houston Baptist where he played 8 total minutes spread out over 3 games. He quietly transferred to Norfolk State where suddenly he had a major role. By this past season, he was leading the Spartans in scoring en route to a MEAC regular season championship and NIT appearance. Usually, the best player from an NIT team would be a lot higher on this list. But the reality is, Thomas racked up a lot of his numbers against really bad competition in the MEAC, one of the two worst conferences in Division 1. Some of his numbers, especially his 34.5% FG% inside the arc, raise huge red flags on his ability to be effective at a higher level. However, any player who can hit 85+ 3Ps on near 40% accuracy could have a role on most high major teams. He also was considered a very good defender (against MEAC competition) and could be passable against high majors. If your team is in need of a plug and play three/d type player, Thomas could be your guy. As of this writing, Thomas has already scheduled a visit with the Green Wave of Tulane.

15. Kareem South- 6’2” 185 lb RSJR PG from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
32.6 mpg, 13.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.4 tpg, 44.1 2P%, 51 3PM, 36.7 3P%

Kareem South is a Canuck who went about as far as you could get from his home and native land without crossing the Rio Grande for his college experience. An injury sidelined him for all but 5 games of his freshman season. After he recovered, he became an instant starter for the Islanders and has never relinquished that role. While he was recruited as a PG, he has been the 2G in Corpus Christi for the past three seasons, only occasionally manning the point. As a redshirt junior, he led the team in scoring and steals while finishing in second in rebounding. In the half court, he moves well without the ball and finds himself open for a catch and shoot opportunities. He is at his best in transition where the open court allows him to utilize his speed to it’s fullest. Almost a quarter of his 442 points were scored in transition last season. He is considered a plus defender though against a questionable strength of schedule. South’s numbers were boosted by 4 games against non-D1 opponents and a weaker than usual Southland conference slate. He did have a road contest against Tennessee where he got 7 boards but was stymied on offense (6 points on 3/10 shooting). To be fair, Tennessee stymied most people last season. He did have a solid 18 point, 6 rebound, 5 assist performance in a loss at Oklahoma State, but only shot 6/16 from the floor. South has some early suitors including a few high majors in Minnesota, Stanford, Texas A&M, and Oregon State. Some strong mid-majors including Utah State, Colorado State, Boise State, and Murray State are all involved.

 The Next 15 free agents we are watching:
Darius Allen- 6’4” 205 lb JR SG from Baylor
Jerekius Davis- 6’6” 225 lb RSJR SF from Louisiana-Lafayette
Hyron Edwards- 6’0” 165 lb RSJR PG from Colorado State
Bakari Evelyn- 6’2” 180 lb RSJR PG from Valparaiso
Jalone Friday- 6’9” 235 lb RSJR C from Abilene Christian
Marcus Golder- 6’6” 195 lb RSJR SG from Valparaiso
Matt Hauser- 6’1” 180 SR PG from Santa Clara
Micaiah Herny- 6’9” 235 lb RSJR C from Tennessee Tech
Skyler Hogan- 6’5” 213 lb RSJR SG from Southeast Missouri State
Kain Harris- 6’4” 200 lb RSJR SG from Kent State
Lorenzo Jenkins- 6’7” 210 lb RSJR SF from Colorado State
Terrell Lewis- 5’7” 150 lb SR PG from Eastern Illinois
B.J. Maxwell- 6’4” 190 lb RSJR PG from Abilene Christian
Jaylen Shead- 6’1” 190 lb RSJR PG from Texas State
Dujuanta Weaver- 5’10” 170 lb RSJR PG from Eastern Kentucky

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Categories: Analysis, Offseason, Recruiting

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic

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One Comment on “2019 NCAA Free Agent Tracker: May 14th Edition”

  1. 77ncaachamps
    May 2, 2019 at 12:48 am #

    I say we sign Matt Hauser from Santa Clara.
    So it’ll be like we only lost one from our roster and hopefully he can fit into a tailored Sam or Joey jersey to save MU some money.

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