Analysis: Why all the transfers?

Within three days this week, Indiana lost two members of the 2014-15 Indiana basketball team to transfers. There could still be more, too. The question: Why are so many players around the country choosing to transfer after such a short stint with their current schools?

In a matter of three days this week, Indiana suddenly was no longer oversigned by two players in the current class.

First Stanford Robinson announced Wednesday he was leaving the program and would seek another opportunity for his final two years of eligibility after sitting out next season.

Next, it was Max Hoetzel who decided he wanted to pursue other opportunities after averaging around 7 minutes per game in 31 games as a true freshman last season.

Hoetzel will sit out next season and then have three years to play.

Robinson’s decision to leave didn’t surprise me. I felt like his level of play slipped from season one to season two and wasn’t going to surprise me if he opted to take his services elsewhere.

Conventional wisdom is that he’ll end up at a smaller school on the East Coast somewhere, closer to home in Landover, Md.

Hoetzel, though, was more of a surprise. I believed he fit into the future plans. It was kind of like Remy Abell transferring to tell you the truth. With Abell, I thought he was clearly in the plans moving forward but he wanted out and wanted to try his luck somewhere else.

I always love the instant spin when transfers at Indiana occur. “Oh, there goes Tom Crean running players off again,’’ I’ve seen people suggest on Twitter or message boards in the last few days.

Everyone wants to immediately jump to the ‘creaning’ conversation whenever anyone leaves.

But if Crean was going to ask players to leave, these aren’t the guys I would have expected to be in that boat. There are other more obvious choices. Like I’ve said before, I prefer not to names in situations like these because I’ve just never felt that was completely fair to the kids. But it doesn’t take a lot to peruse that roster and figure it out.

I just didn’t think Hoetzel was necessarily in that conversation.

So why do so many players leave?

I read somewhere where Hoetzel’s high school coach in California was quoted as saying he thought this was something that Max had been considering all season long and just decided to pull the trigger when the season was over.

That certainly doesn’t sound like a ‘creaning’ situation to me. The question does remain though, why do kids always think the grass is greener somewhere else.

With Hoetzel, it could simply be a desire to be back on the West Coast. When that decision is revealed, it won’t surprise me at all to find that Hoetzel ends up somewhere West. It’s not always an easy transition going from West to Midwest. Some handle it better than others. I’ve lasted 29 years here after moving from California but I think I’m the exception to the rule.

I don’t think it’s necessarily Crean’s style of play. I think there would be lots of opportunities for a player of Hoetzel’s abilities in Crean’s system.

The reality I believe is just that kids today are not very patient when it comes to seeing into the future and trying to figure out how they will ultimately turn out in a system. That’s why the number of transfers in Division I basketball is so high. No one is willing to see how things will one day pan out. They would rather sit out a year and go play somewhere else.

The big question now is how many more players will leave before this offseason is over.

Indiana is where it needs to be at the moment in terms of scholarships available moving forward. The Hoosiers still hope to sign a big man though and recent reports seem to indicate that Thomas Bryant is still a strong possibility.

That would necessitate someone else leaving the program.

My guess is that is what will likely transpire in the next month or so.

As always, stay tuned. With Indiana basketball there’s always something going on.


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