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Does Oregon State Basketball have a Transfer Problem?

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Short Answer: No!

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With the news of Warren Washington’s decision to transfer away from Oregon State after just one season with the program, some Beaver fans began grumbling and complaining about “the state of the program”. Why can’t Wayne Tinkle get guys to stay in Corvallis? Is he still the right man for the job? When you dig a little deeper I think it becomes pretty obvious that this isn’t just a Wayne Tinkle problem and Oregon State doesn’t have a transfer problem on their hands.

The truth is with the addition of the transfer portal (not just a football thing), players can now enter the transfer portal and talk to other schools and coaches without getting “permission” from their current university first. The spike in transfers in college sports has been discussed ad nauseam, but who here hasn’t ever switched jobs or decided to move? (Personally raises hand about 10 times). Transfers around the nation have increased significantly over the past few years. One week after the NCAA tournament ended, there were already more than 700 departures from Division I schools.

According to VerbalCommits.com there are 770 transfers to date in 2019. With 353 D1 basketball programs that’s an average of 2.18 transfers per school and it’s only May.

Now I get it, from the 2018 recruiting class alone the Beavers have lost 75% of their class to the transfer portal. But it’s not an issue that is exclusive to Oregon State.

According to the NCAA, about 40 percent of Division I players leave their first school by the end of their sophomore year and that was written in 2017. I would expect that number has gone up and will continue to rise going forward. I do not envy Wayne Tinkle and the other college basketball coaches who find it increasingly difficult to keep 13 scholarship players “happy” during the season.

Taking an in-depth look at Wayne Tinkle’s tenure, by my count he has earned 23 commitments (scholarship players only) from high school, junior college and grad transfers since he took over as head coach for Oregon State. Of those 23 players, eight have decided in some form or another to transfer away from Oregon State. That’s of course not counting Drew Eubanks and potentially Tres Tinkle or Ethan Thompson who could leave eligibility on the table by turning Pro. That’s a 35% transfer rate or about 2 per year/recruiting class. That’s actually a little lower than the national averages.

Two of those transfers, to my knowledge, did not go on to play basketball at a different school (Ben Kone & Keondre Dew). The others were: Kendal Manuel, Derrick Bruce, JaQuori McLaughlin, Jack Wilson, Jordan Campbell and Warren Washington.

If Oregon State were being used as a “stepping stone” school for these kids to go play at bigger schools that are competing for national championships I might be worried. But in reality, despite the success that Texas Tech, Gonzaga and Nevada have had from building their rosters with transfers and grad transfers; “transferring up” is not very common in college basketball. Eli Boettger of USA TODAY Sports and former Sports Illustrated reporter Luke Winn dug into the numbers and found out:

“59 percent of transfers since 2012 leave Division I basketball. Of 4,360 in the study, only 375 have been up-transfers and 246 to a Power Six school from a non-power league. That is 8.6 percent. The idea that players tend to transfer to better teams is almost entirely a myth, according to Boettger.”

It’s up for debate but it doesn’t appear to me that any of Oregon State’s former athletes have transferred “up” or transferred to a significantly better team. In reality, the reasons behind these transfer decisions probably have more to do with playing time or family and personal reasons.

If it still seems like the Beavers have a transfer problem take a look back on each of Wayne Tinkle’s recruiting classes since taking over at Oregon State:

2015

  • Stephen Thompson Jr. (4 seasons, graduated)
  • Gligorije Rakocevic (4 seasons, graduated)
  • Tres Tinkle (3 seasons, NBA?)
  • Drew Eubanks (3 seasons, NBA)
  • Kendal Manuel (2 seasons, transfer to Montana)
  • Derrick Bruce (1 season, transfer to Texas Southern)

2016

  • JaQuori McLaughlin (1.5 seasons, transfer to UCSB)
  • Ben Kone (2 seasons, transfer/retirement)
  • Keondre Dew (Transfer from CC, .5 season - suspended)
  • Ronnie Stacy (Transfer from CC, 2 seasons - graduated)

2017

  • Ethan Thompson (2 seasons, NBA?)
  • Alfred Hollins (2 seasons)
  • Zach Reichle (2 seasons)
  • Seth Berger (Grad Transfer from UMass - Graduated)

2018

  • Jack Wilson (.5 season, transfer to Idaho)
  • Warren Washington (1 season, transfer)
  • Jordan Campbell (.5 season transfer to Fresno State)
  • Kylor Kelley (1 season)
  • Payton Dastrup (BYU transfer - Eligible in 2019)

2019

  • Jarod Lucas
  • Gianni Hunt
  • Julien Franklin
  • Sean Miller-Moore (Transfer from CC)

Long story short, There isn’t a transfer problem at Oregon State. Have they had a decent amount of transfers in/out? Sure, but so has every program in America. Oregon State is in no way abnormal in that aspect. The good news is that Oregon State isn’t the University of Missouri-Kansas, who hired a new coach and now have 11 of its players in the transfer portal. That could be considered a transfer problem.

If you want to argue that the NCAA has a transfer problem on it’s hands, sure go ahead. But feel free to die on that hill, it’s not going away anytime soon. Regular students change schools all the time. Basketball and football coaches make plenty of money and should be able to help these young athletes with their transitions and still find a way to manage their rosters and manage their coaching duties. Wayne Tinkle is doing a fantastic job at Oregon State folks. Firing him or letting him walk for “greener pastures” could spell trouble for a basketball program that did not see much success before hiring Wayne Tinkle. Don’t crucify him for his players decisions to transfer, it happens everywhere.

Former D1 basketball player and transfer Austin Etherington said it best: “Why make the kid suffer for another three years when he can go to another school and play?”