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Full-Court Press: NCAA Free Agents

8:53 AM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - These days, it is an accomplishment for a college basketball player to play four years for the same school.

If there were no NCAA sanctions which stripped programs of scholarships currently imposed, there would be roughly 4,536 scholarships available in Division I basketball. Almost 10 percent of the player pool from last season has elected to take their talents elsewhere, whether the move be upward, sideways or downward.

One program may have lost a chance to make a trip to the Final Four because of a player's departure. Arizona State has an elite one-two punch returning in Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski, both of whom are arguably the best players at their respective positions heading into next season. The Sun Devils reached the second round of the NIT in 2013 and figured to be a contender for the Pac-12 title in 2014 before Evan Gordon left for Indiana.

Gordon will be able to play immediately for the Hoosiers, but he arrives in Bloomington under much different circumstances than his older brother Eric, who is a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. The younger Gordon is going to instantly become the primary scorer for IU, while he meshes with Yogi Ferrell in the backcourt. However, he may end up regretting the return home as ASU is built to win now and the Hoosiers are in rebuilding mode.

RJ Mahurin made an interesting decision out of the Sycamore State in the spring as he released a statement announcing his departure from Indiana State for Indiana Wesleyan, a member of the NAIA. Mahurin started 25 games for the feisty Sycamores last season as a junior and would figure to be the starting power forward once again after leading the team with 42 makes from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-8 shooter noted the chance to play with his younger brother Lane, who is going to be a freshman at IWU, was too important for him to pass up. The Mahurin brothers give IWU an excellent chance of challenging for a national title, but ISU is left with another starting spot to fill.

Tulane also has some shoes to fill after losing its first and second leading scorers, Josh Davis and Ricky Tarrant, respectively. Davis can play immediately next season for San Diego State. The 6-8, 215-pound forward was one of the biggest recruiting targets among transfers thanks to his double- double average of 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest in 2012-13. Tarrant was one of the most promising young guards in Conference USA, even winning the league's Freshman of the Year award in 2011-12. He will be forced to sit out 2013-14 before he returns as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Coach Anthony Grant was lucky to find such an ideal replacement for Trevor Lacey (11.3 ppg, 3.2 apg), who will play for NC State in the ACC after a one- year hiatus.

Maine and Niagara both took a big hit this offseason. Justin Edwards was a flat out scoring machine for the Black Bears during his first two years with the program. The 6-3 guard led the American East in scoring last season with 16.7 points per game as the main aspect of the team's offense. Maine finished just 11-19, despite Edwards's stellar play. He hopes to gain greater exposure while wearing a Kansas State jersey in 2014-15, but only time will tell if he is granted as bright of a green light.

Juan'ya Green pumped in 16.5 points per game as a sophomore in 2012-13 for a Niagara Purple Eagles team that won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season crown outright. The Purple Eagles were upset in the MAAC Tournament by Iona and suffered an early exit of the NIT after being handled by Maryland. The great year out of Niagara yielded some job offers for Joe Mihalich, who left the program as the all-time winningest coach in MAAC history to take over the same position at Hofstra. Mihalich will have Green on his roster as he attempts to rebuild the Pride from its current state.

There has also been movement at the top. Trey Ziegler was a mid-major star at Central Michigan but left to play for Jamie Dixon at Pitt after his father, Ernie, was relieved of his duties as the Chippewas' head coach. Zeigler had a forgettable run with the Panthers as he averaged only 4.4 ppg in a reduced role. The 6-5 combo guard will have to sit out a season before he can step onto the hardwood wearing a third uniform. Ziegler chose TCU as his final destination, which makes sense as he will be a key player on a team within one of the elite conferences.

Rodney Purvis had scholarship offers from NC State, Connecticut, Memphis and Ohio State after an outstanding high school career that put him on the 2012 list of McDonald's All-Americans. Purvis had some bright moments during his lone year with the Wolfpack, including a 21-point showing versus Boston College, but struggled figuring out his role on a team that was stacked with talent. Purvis didn't want to spend another three seasons looking for a way to fit and bolted for UConn, where he hopes former NBA guard Kevin Ollie will enhance his chances of making the next step.

Purvis wasn't the only former McDonald's All-American to depart his school. Kyle Wiltjer, who owns an NCAA Championship ring, left Kentucky to become a Gonzaga Bulldog. Wiltjer will have two years to focus on getting better instead of having to fight for playing time with John Calipari's endless supply of high profile recruits.

Other notable transfers to keep an eye on include: Angel Rodriguez (Miami- Florida), Katin Reinhardt (USC), Trae Golden (Georgia Tech), DeAndre Kane (Iowa State), Eli Carter (Rutgers), Tarik Black (Memphis), Sheldon McClellan (Miami-Florida), DeMario Mayfield (Morehead State), Julien Lewis (Fresno State), Aaron Cosby (Illinois), Joshua Smith (Georgetown), Tyler Lamb (Long Beach State).

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