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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Final Four Coaches: NCAA Transfer Portal ‘way, way, way, out of hand’

Jea 0004X Louiville

With only four teams still standing in the 2021-22 NCAA women’s basketball season, the vast majority of players and schedules were looking forward to Thursday, and because the NCAA has relaxed its Division I transfer rules, nearly a thousand players will join the new teams. were looking for.

“Is it out of hand?” South Carolina coach Don Staley said. “Absolutely there is. I don’t know how you control it.”

One of the players looking to look for greener pastures is Minnesota guard Sarah Scalia, who last season as the Gophers’ lead scorer and junior as one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters. She was one of 843 players in the portal on Thursday, out of which 163 were from Power 5 schools.

“I always like to say that the grass is greener on the other side because it’s fertilized with oxen,” said Louisville coach Jeff Walz.

The Walz, however, did well by the NCAA’s new transfer rules, which changed after the 2019 season, allowing Division I players to transfer to another Division I school without sitting once a year, for any reason. Permission granted. Walz’s Cardinals will meet Staley’s top-ranked Gamecock in the first two national semifinals at the Target Center on Friday, and his three starts will be players who started their careers at other schools.

This year’s Final Four features two of the most successful events in NCAA history — Stanford and Connecticut — and relatively new powers South Carolina and Louisville. Between them, he has 15 national titles and 43 last four appearances. Their roster is full of high school all-Americans, many of whom graduate from the American National Program. Yet between them, Minneapolis has 10 transfers to its roster of teams.

Even Yukon, which has won 11 national championships and appeared in 22 Final Four under coach Zeno Auriemma, has a major contributor who played elsewhere last season. Forward Dorka Juhaz, a 6-foot-5 graduate student who starred for Ohio State, started 15 games and averaged 7.3 points and 5.7 rebounds before dislocating a wrist in the regional finals. She had surgery to repair the injury and will not play this weekend.

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The Huskies (29-5) will play Stanford (32-3) on Friday about 20 minutes after 6:30 p.m. between Louisville (29-4) and South Carolina (33-2).

But just because these coaches have used the transfer portal doesn’t mean they particularly like its newfound popularity.

“Sometimes you have to go. Sometimes it is the right thing to do; there is no question about it,” Aurimma said on Thursday. “But eight hundred, a thousand of them? There are only 365 Division I schools. ,

Under NCAA rules, women’s basketball teams receive 15 full-ride scholarships a year. Men’s program get 13.

Players have always changed schools, but not these numbers — and because the NCAA gives student-athletes an extra year of eligibility who played during the brief 2020-21 season, graduate transfers are through the roof. Minnesota had three this season — Deja Winters, Laura Bagwell Katlinich and Bailey Hellgren — and three of coach Lindsay Whelan’s five seniors will finish the year with five master’s degrees between them.

“I think Portal is like social media; it’s the craze. It’s a big ol’ craze that just keeps on going,” Staley said Thursday. “There are more people in the portal than there are scholarships, and the impact on (high school) freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, they are going to feel it, because most teams will just look for a little more experience than have played at this level. “

It is so ubiquitous that there is a column for “previous school” on the roster page of the Louisville team web site. The Cardinals have five transfers on their roster, including starters Emily Angstler (Syracuse), Kiana Smith (Cal) and Chelsea Hall (Vanderbilt).

When Angstler, an All-ACC player from Syracuse, entered the portal, Walz said, he did not recruit him until he spoke to senior guard Mikasa Robinson, whose playing time would be most affected by the addition of his conference opponent. Robinson started 17 of 30 games as a junior but was off the bench this season.

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“The time to play is great,” she said. “But I want to win.”

Robinson’s playing time, really, hasn’t really changed—going from 20.9 minutes last season to 20.3 this season—but not every good program has good players playing.

“A third of our team sits on the bench and doesn’t really play at all,” Staley admitted. “Is it really fair to them? … You have to give them that space, but of course it’s way, way, way, out of hand.”

“Three hundred of them can’t find a school to go to because they’re going to realize that this isn’t the school they just left, it’s them,” Aurimma said. “Like last year, right? A thousand kids in the portal, 250 of them had no place to go, and the boys they left don’t want them back. Whatever happened (in a school) went and got it?

Portal Rewards

Even the best NCAA programs are taking the plunge into the NCAA Transfer Portal. There are a total of eight in the Final Four teams this weekend in Minneapolis. Here are the biggest influencers:

  • Emily English, 6-5, f, Louisville: Syracuse had a forward All-ACC. He is a starter for the top seed in the Wichita area, averaging 11.8 points and 9.4 rebounds in 33 games.
  • Dorka Juhsz, 6-5, F, Connecticut. Graduate transfer was a rising star at Ohio State. He started 15 of his 32 games this season and averaged 7.3 points and 5.7 rebounds before dislodging a wrist in the regional finals.
  • Camilla Cardoso, 6-7, C, South Carolina. The sophomore Post moved from Syracuse, where she was the ACC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He has averaged 5.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 30 games off the bench.
  • Kiana Smith, 6-0, G, Louisville. Sitting out a season after being transferred from Cal. He averaged 11.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 33 starts.
  • Chelsea Hall, 5-7, G., Louisville. A starter at Vanderbilt with over 1,000 career points, he has started all 33 games for the Cardinals, averaging 7.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
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