Devils In Detail - Departures
3 ACC Questions: #2 North Carolina
An underreported part of basketball is which players have transferred and how this might immediately impact each team. Let's go team by team and examine transfers and trends over the past couple of seasons.
Boston College is losing sophomore guard Jasmine Gill, freshman center Mary Nwachukwu and freshman guard Kelsey Reynolds. Eight players have left Chestnut Hill during coach Sylvia Crawley's first two season, including 4 of her first 5 recruits. All three players had decent prep pedigrees and will be landing in solid programs. Gill averaged 6.5 ppg and 3 rpg last year for BC. She shot 39% from three and her attempting one free throw every 7 minutes was the best mark on the team. Her strength and explosiveness added an important dimension to the team's offense. She will be transferring to the rising James Madison program. Reynolds only played 9 minutes a game and averaged 1.2 ppg; she will be moving on to DePaul. Nwachukwu only saw 6 minutes of action in 19 games, putting up 1.5 ppg; she will try her luck at St. John's. It's difficult to say just what's going on at Boston College. Some of the players may have seen the writing on the wall right away that they had no future at the school with the new coach. Others may not have liked what they saw after playing for her for a season. This might also be a case of a coach moving up the recruiting food chain and "gently" ushering out less talented players. That team had divisions lst year (witness the team decision to skip the WNIT), and it may well be that it needed new blood.
Clemson is in a big transition with its new coaching staff. The big loss is freshman point guard Keyrra Gillespie. Two walk-ons will not be returning this year for the Tigers: junior Chelsey Pinkstaff and sophomore Ashlee Wilson. Gillespie started al bu three games for the Tigers and averaged 4 ppg and 4.6 apg. She also averaged 4 turnovers a game, which was par for the course for a frosh PG in the ACC. No word has emerged on whether she is transferring or is simply not returning to school this fall, but she's certainly not on Clemson's roster. New coach Itoro Umoh-Coleman may turn to two freshmen point guards this season, given a lack of other options. Junior Bryelle Smith might get an audition at the position, however.
As noted on this site, Duke loses sophomore guard Chelsea Hopkins and freshman wing Alexis Rogers. Hopkins leaving was a surprise to no one, especially after Duke picked up a second point guard in the incoming recruiting class with Chloe Wells. Hopkins averaged 1 ppg and 1 rpg last season and looked noticeably slower coming off knee surgery. A year further spent in recovery will do her a world of good as she joins an up-and-coming San Diego State program. Rogers left Duke unexpectedly a few weeks prior to the fall semester starting and transferred to Bowling Green. Rogers is a promising prospect who was called out on not working hard enough in practice by Coach McCallie. As a result, she was limited to just five minutes a game and put up 1.5 ppg and 1.6 rpg. Rogers is a fine athlete with a number of skills. I suspect a year spent learning BGU's system will do her some good, and I expect her to be an impact player when she becomes eligible. Duke's wing depth is such that her absence doesn't hurt the team much, and they're already looking to replace her for next year's recruiting class.
Florida State loses only sophomore forward Kayli Keough. The 6-2 wing played in 15 games and averaged 2 ppg and 1.5 rpg. Like many of the transfers on this list, she was the last player in the rotation and didn't figure to see those minutes increase as a junior. She transferred to the University of Central Florida.
Maryland's depth takes a bit of a hit with the departure of redshirt freshman wing Jackie Nared. She averaged 4.5 ppg and 3.7 rpg as the player who rounded out the primary rotation. Nared had some big moments last year and was poised to get a few more minutes this year, but chose to transfer to St. Mary's. She's from the west coast originally, so I suspect that this must be part of the reason for her departure. It's also been speculated that she chose St. Mary's so as to be closer to her boyfriend, Paul McCoy, who transferred there from SMU.
Miami loses a couple of bigs who didn't see a lot of court time last season: frosh Lee Anna Osei and Hannah Shaw. Osei is from Canada and Shaw from England, and both played sparingly last year. For a team that desperately needed any kind of size, it was telling that Shaw only played 7 minutes a game, averaging 1.2 ppg and 1.4 rpg. Tiny guard Osei played even less, seeing action in just 8 games. Nine players have left Miami in the last two seasons or were asked not to return. Like with Crawley, this may be a situation where coach Katie Meier is finally in a position to get higher ranked players, resulting in lower-ranked holdovers seeing the writing on the wall. Meier is an intense coach and person, and it could be that some players didn't take to that. Most of the players who have left felt like recruiting projects/gambles by Meier; Shaw & Osei certainly fall into this category. Still, their absence leaves Miami vulnerable.
North Carolina saw two members of its heralded freshmen class leave after just one season: center Cierra Robertson-Warren and wing Nyree Williams. Williams was a top 100 recruit who only played in 20 games, earning just six minutes per contest. She averaged 1 ppg and 2 rpg and will be moving on to George Washington. Robertson-Warren is a more significant loss. Ranked #31 in her class according to Hoopgurlz, she averaged 4 ppg and 3 rpg in ten minutes a game. A player with considerable potential and athleticism, she frequently looked lost on the floor as a freshman. With fellow frosh Waltiea Rolle seizing a starting spot, Robertson-Warren chose to transfer to Louisville. A year spent hitting the weights and learning the ins and outs of a program will likely do her good. The Heels will miss her in that she hurts their depth in the post, but Jessica Breland's return this season will help soften that blow.
Virginia Tech's Shani Grey will not return for what would have been her redshirt senior year. She had dealt with injuries throughout her career and only played 10 minutes a game last season, good for 2 ppg. Grey will graduate from VPI in December; there's been no indication that she will attempt to complete her eligibility elsewhere.
Finally, reading between the lines, there were no similar departures from Virginia, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, or Georgia Tech. You can read more about these programs in our ACC 3 Questions series published earlier this month.
Devils In Detail - Departures
3 ACC Questions: #2 North Carolina