Among a seemingly endless list of transfers seeking a new home, Perris Blackwell, Evan Smotrycz and Alex Oriakhi are three of the more coveted forwards. Here's a look at the destinations each of them chose the past few days and some thoughts on the impact they each can make:
1. Perris Blackwell, F, Washington: It's a testament to Blackwell's potential and the Huskies' lack of frontcourt depth that Lorenzo Romar was eager to take the San Francisco transfer even though he'll sit out a year and have only one remaining year of eligibility. Blackwell, a 6-foot-9 forward, improved in all three seasons with the Dons culminating in a strong junior year in which he averaged 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. He'll have the chance to replace senior-to-be Aziz N'Diaye as the lone true big man in the Huskies' 2013-14 starting lineup.
Where else he considered: California
Lorenzo Romar on Blackwell: "He is someone that you throw the ball to in the middle he can use both hands and is crafty around the basket. He has a high, high basketball IQ and really understands how to play."
2. Evan Smotrycz, F, Maryland: A skilled forward who shot 44 percent from behind the arc in Michigan 3-point happy offense last season, Smotrycz is a good fit for Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. The 6-foot-8 junior-to-be will sit out next season and will have two years of eligibility remaining at a point when Turgeon hopes to have the Terps contending in the ACC again. Smotrycz lost his starting job to senior Stu Douglass last season, yet he still averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for Michigan and likely would have been a starter again next season.
Where else he considered: Providence, Colorado, Kansas State
Smotrycz on Maryland: "In the ACC they like to get out and run a little bit more. Just the way the coaches showed me coming off screens, picking and popping, making plays off the bounce, I feel like that would really suit my game and what I've been working at to get better." (via the Baltimore Sun)
3. Alex Oriakhi, F, Missouri: Even though Missouri loses Kim English, Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe off last year's roster, don't expect the Tigers to drop off very much. They return guards Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon, they get back top big man Laurence Bowers after he tore his ACL last fall and they add a bevy of transfers including Oriakhi, a key cog in UConn's national title run in 2010. Oriakhi's play dropped off last season when he moved from center to power forward to accommodate Andre Drummond, but he could thrive at Missouri thanks to a change of scenery and a chance to man the middle again.
Where else he considered: Kentucky Xavier, Duke, and North Carolina
Frank Haith on Oriakhi: "Addressing our front court depth has been a major emphasis of ours for this next year, and when you add Alex to a group of newcomers including Stefan Jankovic, Ryan Rosburg and Tony Criswell, we are definitely heading the right direction."