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The NCAA transfer portal: It has to be an imaginary Wonderland, right?
Say what you will about the portal, it sure pumps out some wild stories that would have been unbelievable not long ago
During moments of heightened paranoia — dusk to dawn, and several hours after — I’m certain a higher civilization tests me to see what I will believe.
For instance, watching live sporting events from all over the planet on a phone that fits in my pocket? OK, I have enough faith in technology to accept that has really happened.
Legalized sports wagering in much of the U.S., after it had been banned in 49 states for so long?
OK, that one’s still hard to fathom, but I put it in the reality column because state governments 1) like easy money and 2) can always find other ways to act like puritans.
But the NCAA transfer portal? It’s been five years since it was introduced, and I’m still not signing off on it. The rabbit hole from “Alice in Wonderland” is a more-plausible portal.
We’re supposed to believe college sports has allowed over 3,200 major-college football players and 1,000 men’s basketball players to enter something called a transfer portal this offseason alone? With no penalties involved?
The powers that be in college athletics never would allow such a thing. They would buy five Supreme Court justices if necessary.
The only sane thing to do with the transfer portal is marvel at the creativity behind the illusion, and enjoy the crazy tales that come from it each day.
How believable is the story of a young man in the 21st century with an old-timey name like Charlie Jones transferring from Buffalo to Iowa, becoming the Big Ten’s Return Specialist of the Year as a Hawkeye, then transferring again to become an All-Big Ten wide receiver at Purdue on his way to the NFL?
Not buying it.
How about Iowa, which has always preferred its quarterbacks to come straight from high school to Iowa City instead of getting them pre-owned? You say the Hawkeyes plunged into the portal this offseason to grab two QBs from other Big Ten programs in Cade McNamara and Deacon Hill? I say Marvel and DC couldn’t come up with wilder stories.
Michigan State starting quarterback Payton Thorne and top receiver Keon Coleman entered the portal just before Sunday’s deadline, or so the story goes.
If that were real instead of part of the aliens’ concoction, this would be a good year for Iowa to play the Spartans in September. Which, coincidentally, it does.
First-year Colorado coach Deion Sanders has shed two-thirds of the Buffaloes’ football roster and is piecing it back together with transfers of his own choosing? If you’re going to spin a yarn, you might as well make it a whopper.
“There’s no way that I could put new furniture in this beautiful home if we don’t clean out the old furniture,” Sanders said, and the NCAA’s mission statement couldn’t have said it any better.
OK, maybe the transfer portal is real after all. It just doesn’t feel that way. Mike Rhoades was hired as Penn State’s men’s basketball coach on March 29 and has assembled a new team on the fly. He brought in two players he coached at VCU, as well as others from North Carolina, Lafayette and Temple.
He also added center Qudus Wahab, who played two years at Georgetown and one at Maryland. Then he returned to Georgetown for another season, maybe to collect belongings he had left behind the first time. Now he’s at Penn State.
Rick Pitino took the St. John’s coaching job on March 20 and quickly added six transfers. But even eight is not enough.
We need another guard, we need a big-time scoring guard, we need a power forward and we need a backup center,” Pitino told Zagsblog.com. “Once we do that, it’ll be over.”
Meanwhile, Iowa could perhaps use a post player. Filip Rebraca came from the Summit League’s North Dakota to Iowa two years ago, and that worked out nicely.
This week, 6-foot-11 prolific scorer/rebounder Grant Nelson of North Dakota State entered the portal. By Wednesday, he reportedly had heard from Kentucky, Kansas, Gonzaga, and just about every Division I program that are known to win. As well as a few that aren’t.
Maybe Nelson will wave them all off and proclaim a deep desire to play at Iowa.
Hey, if Kirk Ferentz has gone to plug-and-play quarterbacks, anything is possible. It doesn’t mean we have to believe it’s really happening.
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