Prep Football Scores

Browse Coverage

Iowa State Cyclones

How Iowa State and Iowa basketball navigate the grad transfer market

Fran McCaffery: 'It's more complicated than everyone thinks'

Iowa State Cyclones forward Jeff Beverly (55) points down court after making a 3-pointer against Northern Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Beverly played for the Cyclones last season as a graduate transfer. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa State Cyclones forward Jeff Beverly (55) points down court after making a 3-pointer against Northern Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Beverly played for the Cyclones last season as a graduate transfer. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Graduate transfers are used in a variety of ways in men’s basketball. They can be used to bridge gaps in a class, put a team over the top or provide experience to a young team.

Seven years ago, in 2011, a mere 15 NCAA men’s basketball players were graduate transfers, according to a study by the NCAA.

In 2016, that number was up to 87 players, or 1.9 percent of all players.

Over the last two seasons, Iowa State had two graduate transfers in each season.

“There are great stories and not so great stories,” Cyclones Coach Steve Prohm said. “Deandre Kane had a remarkable year (2013-14) here as a graduate transfer.”

Prohm himself hasn’t had the best of luck with the graduate transfer route.

Last season, Hans Brase had a hard time staying on the court due to injury. Jeff Beverly was a starter at the beginning of the season, and by the end he saw his minutes decrease drastically.

Prohm isn’t opposed to getting more graduate transfers, but he knows how he wants his program built.

“I think we have our roster to the point now where we have three seniors, three or four juniors and it’s a really good balance to where do we need a grad transfer going forward? We’ll see,” Prohm said. “I think there is a time and place for them — if they can throw you over the top.

“If you look at the back bone of the program, and why we’ve been good for a long, long time, it’s a four year guy in (Georges) Niang, a four year guy in Monte Morris, I can go on down the line — Melvin Ejim.”

On the other hand, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery rarely goes the graduate transfer route.

He’s not opposed to it, but Iowa’s graduate program makes it more difficult.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ll always consider a grad transfer,” McCaffery said. “It’s more complicated than everyone thinks because it’s a function of what program does that person want to study, do we have it, what are the academic requirements for that individual to get into that program? We’re not a place that’s set up to have a guy come in and ball for a couple of months and take off and not have any real intention of finishing. We have to look at serious students that want to come.”

Iowa has a couple of open scholarships to use, but McCaffery said it would be hard to find a good graduate transfer that would help his team this late in the game.

On top of that, McCaffery wants to be respectful to his current players and the potential transfer.

“If you bring a grad transfer in, he has to play, otherwise it’s not fair to him,” McCaffery said. “But you also don’t want to bring a guy right on top of other guys that you’re developing. Sometimes you have the right fit and the right guy at the right time.”

Both Prohm and McCaffery build their programs with four-year high school players. But Prohm sees a value with traditional transfers as well.

Prohm named former players like Deonte Burton, Abdel Nader and Jameel McKay as Iowa State players he’s coached who arrived at his program via the transfer route.

He also said during parts of last season that Virginia sit-out transfer Marial Shayok was probably the best player on the team.

And Prohm welcomed in Colorado State transfer Prentiss Nixon on April 24.

The number of transfers and graduate transfers are likely to keep increasing as student athletes continue to look for the best scenario for them.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

“I think you just have to make good decisions on what you’re going to do if you go the grad transfer route,” Prohm said. “It can be very positive and very beneficial, but it has to be the right fit.”

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.