MAC Basketball Silly Season

James Whitford, Ball State's new head man - Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

Silly season is upon us in the MAC, where transfers and coaching changes are making headlines.

So, I once was a NASCAR fan. I admit it.

One thing that fascinated me about NASCAR was the whole "Silly Season" as it was aptly called, where drivers would switch teams, car numbers, paint schemes, crew chiefs...basically anything you can think of. There's even a website that covers NASCAR's silly season in-depth.

April is college basketball's silly season. Hundreds of players transfer schools for numerous reasons. Some leave for the NBA Draft. Old coaches get fired, new coaches get hired. Such is the circle of life in college basketball.

Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports does a fantastic job of keeping track of who's transferring, and he has a list he'll update regularly with players leaving their respective schools. Last year the list topped four hundred, and it's sure to surpass that this year. By my count, I have just shy of three hundred, and it's not even May.

Let's breakdown who's leaving, who's coming in, and what's happening in general in MAC basketball. When more news becomes available, I'll keep updating the post to reflect players leaving/transferring in.

Akron

Out: Blake Justice, Josh Egner

In: Nyles Evans, Quincy Diggs(?)

Not too much going on in the Rubber City. Egner left mid-year and is now attending Walsh University, and Justice is leaving as well. Neither got much playing time, and probably saw the writing on the wall with a talented freshman class coming in. Evans is a JUCO point guard who went to high school twenty minutes from Akron's campus. He'll likely start unless Alex Abreu finds a way to get back on the team.

Remember Diggs? Keith Dambrot stated in a speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon that Diggs is 95% likely to come back next season. That's huge, but nothing is set in stone yet.

Ball State

Out: Michael Ramey, Billy Taylor

In: James Whitford

Ramey didn't play a whole lot, and is transferring to Miami Dade College because duh who wouldn't want to go there. The big news was Taylor's dismissal after a couple mediocre seasons. Taylor could just never get enough talent into Muncie, and when the MAC West is perennially up for grabs, you need to come out with a couple division titles.

Whitford isn't proven, but he's got a good pedigree. Coaching under Sean Miller at Arizona has to help, and he has a lot to work with. The good news for Whitford is the University is in the middle of a $20 million campaign to upgrade athletic facilities on campus. I've never been to Worthen Arena, but by the looks of it on TV and on pixelvision, it could use a facelift.

Buffalo

Out: Andre McPhail, Reggie Witherspoon

In: Danny Hurley

McPhail's loss isn't a big deal, but Witherspoon's is. He'd been at Buffalo forever and had brought the program out of the depths of despair. But, when a new AD comes in, sometimes they like to hire their own people. And that guy is Bobby Hurley. He's not the most exciting individual, but he has high potential. There's not a lot of head coaching experience on the resume (much less coaching in general), but name recognition is off the charts.

Central Michigan

Seemingly for the first time in about eight years (exaggeration), the Chips aren't losing anybody! I make fun, but its a step forward for a program that's seen so much turnover. And hey, Trey Zeigler is transferring again /snickers.

Eastern Michigan

Out: Austin Harper

Surprisingly Rob Murphy isn't bringing in any transfers this season (as of today). Backup point guard Harper is gone, who came to EMU through a Community College after transferring out of Western Michigan. So if he ends up at Central, don't be surprised.

Kent State

Out: Earvin Morris, Jr.

In: Derek Jackson (UPDATE)

Nice to know you Earvin. He didn't play, and probably wants to get back to Memphis. But at least he got to ball with Kendrick Lamar. And I'm sure I'm missing two or three JUCOs coming into Kent next year.

UPDATE: Former Central Michigan guard Derek Jackson will be suiting up for the Golden Flashes next year, as well as JUCO guard Devin Carter per this release.

Miami

Out: Allen Roberts, Jared Tadlock, Jon Harris, Drew McGhee

In: Blake McLimans

Oof. Not a good offseason for Redhawks fans. First Roberts publicy laments he doesn't like to recycle, bigs Tadlock and McGhee skip town and starter Jon Harris waves goodbye. For a team that didn't have a lot of players last year, next year might be an even bigger hill to climb.

The silver lining is McLimans, who is the first Big Ten-MAC transfer that I can remember, at least in the past couple of years.

McLimans was a senior, so it looks like he'll be able to play right away.

Northern Illinois

Out: Abdel Nader, Akeem Springs

If he had any, Mark Montgomery would probably spend all day pulling his hair out over trying to run the NIU basketball program. Nader was the best player when he actually made it onto the floor, and Springs left earlier in the conference season. This is a massive rebuild that could take five years. Thanks a lot, Ricardo Patton.

UPDATE: Per this article from Chicago Hoops, Nader is heading to Iowa State

Toledo

Out: Reese Holliday

Holliday was a pretty big factor for Toledo this year, and he could be looking to be closer to his hometown of Kansas City. The Rockets have two talented transfers coming in at the wing position next year in J.D. Weatherspoon (Ohio State) and Justin Drummond (Loyola MD), both who are much better players than Holliday. It probably was smart of him to get out while he could.

Western Michigan

Out: Darius Paul

So, this was a tad bit shocking. The reigning MAC Freshman of the Year is gone, and it's a really messy story. Apparently the sole reason he came to K-Zoo was to play for Larry Farmer, the assistant who recruited him. Farmer left for North Carolina State before the season, and that could be a possible destination Paul could end up. Quotes from Paul's mother appeared in this ESPN Chicago article today. They include such gems as "Larry's our homeboy" and "Darius is the best player in the MAC."

It's troubling for Steve Hawkins and puzzling for Bronco fans, who have seen really good players (Matt Stainbrook, Juwon Howard, Jr.) leave the program. It's not a playing time thing obviously, but something doesn't seem right. As unfortunate as it is, Hawkins has to do something to keep all that talent in Kalamazoo.

That's it for now. I'll continue to update when someone new comes in or chooses to transfer out. So for Darius, Abdel, Jon and Coaches Taylor and Witherspoon, I leave you this:

Avril Lavigne - When You're Gone (via AvrilLavigneVEVO)


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