What it all means for Clemson and why Tigers have yet to sign any new players from the portal
A lot of you have been asking about what Clemson basketball is doing when it comes to the transfer portal and why it is taking so long for the Tigers to get new players.
Well, with the new rules this year and the fact the NCAA gave winter student-athletes an extra year of eligibility, it has all caused a perfect storm for college basketball. Managing a roster has become harder than ever before.
First off, we can report Clemson is only trying to find two players, filling the roster spots left open by wing players John Newman and Olivier-Maxence Prosper. Clemson will not fill the spot left open by former signee guard Lucas Taylor, who last month asked and was granted a release from his letter of intent to Clemson.
TCI learned Clemson feels good about the guards they have on its roster and they want to keep that extra scholarship available in case of an emergency or something potentially occurs they were not expecting. Brad Brownell seldom uses all 13 scholarships, we are told.
As for what is happening within the transfer portal, it is a very dynamic situation.
We can tell you, in checking with our sources, Clemson is involved with a lot of players and some of them are what you might call A-list players. Then there are some B-list players they are trying to hang on to in case things don’t work out with the A-list guys.
Things have been crazy for Clemson and other schools as well. We are told the transfer portal is causing a lot of problems in college basketball right now and coaches all over the country are upset with how things are being handled and what is going on and the NCAA’s lack of caring.
One new issue this year is the NCAA gave all winter student-athletes an extra year of eligibility. Now a lot of players, like former Clemson player Clyde Trapp, who have used up their initial four years at their school, enter the portal to see if it can help their future pro prospects, especially with European leagues.
This is helping to clog up the portal.
There was one top level guy from a major program Clemson reached out to a few weeks ago. He initially told Clemson he was not interested. However, in the last five days, he has come back to Clemson and started conversations again and the last we heard Clemson was in his top two.
But with the new rules, as we were told, every situation is fluid and changing by the hour, so what we heard last night might literally change later today or tomorrow. That is how fluid it has been.
“I don’t know how to explain it. It is one of those things where you try to predict and anticipate a little bit, but I don’t think there is anybody in the country that would have thought it would be the way it is,” a source in the ACC told TCI. “I know the NCAA people don’t because they are not out recruiting and dealing with all of this. But it is bad. It is really bad, and it is bad for the game.”
We were told there could be some movement here in the next few days with A-list players and if that happens, then as those dominoes fall, it will start a chain reaction where other players will be forced to commit in fear they could be left out. If that happens then some of the B-list players will begin to fill in roster spots elsewhere.
We heard of one instance where a player was being recruited by four schools, including Clemson. The Clemson coaches were honest with him and told him where he was with them in their pecking order. They wanted to talk to him and were setting up a meeting with him this week. However, two of the schools recruiting him dropped him. Along came another school at the same time who had barely talked to him, he panicked, because he was afraid he was going to be left in the portal. He took their offer, even though he was recruited as a guy to just fill out their bench and will likely not even play much next year.
“I can tell you who Clemson’s top three guys are tonight, and that literally could change in the morning. It is really that fluid,” a source said.
This source told us this year is more of a problem than ever before with transfers. They said college basketball has a major problem and they are not sure what they are going to do about it.
TCI is told a lot of players are jumping into the portal because they can. They think it is “cool” to be in the portal and maybe go to a different school and see what that experience is like compared to where they were.
“It is a different animal than football. This whole rule, the way they have it, it is going to ruin college basketball,” one source told TCI. “You are going to have probably, by the time it all ends, you will have ten to fifteen players that literally have swapped teams within the ACC. And that is not good for anybody. When a kid leaves Virginia and goes to North Carolina and North Carolina beats Virginia, that is just not good. I mean Tony Bennett is a hell of a coach, but that is not going to look good on him.”
We were told things have been awkward for coaches around the league. One source described it as, “extremely uncomfortable and just plain bad.” When coaches are calling other coaches in the league, they don’t know if they are telling them the truth.
“The big problem with all of this is that twenty percent of these kids are leaving situations that are probably better than what they are going to get,” another source said. “Also, for the high major kids, there are not enough spots for them. It is crazy because they are going into the portal thinking they are going to be able to find a better school or go to a Power 5 school, but because there are so many guys leaving at the Power 5 level and trading schools within their own conference, these high major kids will end going to a school that is lower than where they were.
“Somebody is going to come down. There are just not enough slots.”
TCI also learned there are several Power 5 schools adding to the mess because they are taking really good transfer players, though they do not have a scholarship to offer them, and then going back and cutting one of their current players or forcing them to leave.
“They have taken the attitude it does not matter. They are loading up and will mange the roster by playing the best kids that give them a chance to win in the season,” a source said. “Keeping kids happy does not matter to them because they feel they are going to leave no matter what, in their mind. That is their attitude. They are taking that approach.”
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