12 Apr 2020

Transfer portal, Coronavirus leave some recruits in dark

Two factors continue to dominate the landscape of college basketball recruiting as we head toward mid-April: A bustling transfer portal and the NCAA’s decision April 1 to extend the recruiting dead period because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

First the transfer portal.

Trey Wertz (Santa Clara to Notre Dame), Abel Porter (Utah State to Ohio State), Jordan Bruner (Yale to Alabama) and Mike Smith (Columbia to Michigan) are just four of the latest names to transfer to high-major programs over Easter weekend.

College coaching staffs remain glued to the portal, choosing to lock in on experienced, tested players as opposed to taking as many chances on the high school ranks.

To date, more than 715 players have entered the transfer portal in 2020.

The strategy, unfortunately, comes at the expense of some Class of 2020 high school prospects, whose recruitment also took a hit last year when the NCAA cut the number of days student-athletes could play in front of college coaches during the spring and summer.

Then there are the effects from the Coronavirus.

On April 1, Division I and Division II programs extended their recruiting dead periods through at least May 31 because of the pandemic. During this period, college coaches may not make in-house visits to prospects and student-athletes are prohibited from visiting college campuses.

So, these are not your average times.

Some — like Gulliver Prep wing Tony Sanders Jr. (Notre Dame) — are choosing their home for the next four years without ever stepping foot on campus.

More than usual numbers have headed to the JuCo ranks, like Norland’s Jahvon Smith (Moberly Area CC), Forest Hill’s Jonathan Mogbo (Independence CC) and Cypress Bay’s Brandon Garcia (Eastern Florida).

Others, such as Coral Park’s Ga’Khari LaCount (Link Year Prep) and Wellington’s De’Ante Perez (TLAP Sports Academy), are opting to go to post-grad academies.

Yet, many others such as Devin Carter (Doral Academy), Inady Legiste (Stranahan), David Perez (Riviera Prep), Jalen Haynes (Dillard), Justin Allen (Chaminade-Madonna), Roger McFarlane (University School) and Anthony Lopez (Schoolhouse Prep) continue to wait in these trying times to assess their best fits.

Commitments do trickle in. However, it’s a challenge — to say the least — for many 2020 high school prospects still looking for a home.

If you have high school or travel basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer at PatALammer@Gmail.com