It’s been an awfully busy offseason for transfers throughout the Ivy League. Shonn Miller is off to Storrs. Rafael Maia is pining for Pittsburgh, Alex Mitola is set for D.C. and Denton Koon is headed to Hempstead.
But which Ivy transfer is going to have the biggest impact on their team in 2015-16?
Shonn Miller, UConn: Miller has many talents, several of which the rest of the Huskies may not have next year. Sure, junior forward Amida Brimah is back after serving as co-captain and contributing 9.1 points and 3.5 blocks per game last season, but UConn’s frontcourt needed some beefing up, and it got that with Miller. The former Cornell star’s tenacious rebounding will help a Huskies squad that finished seventh among 11 AAC schools last year. Conversely, the aggressive offensive style of Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton will give Miller more space than he’s ever had to work the post and stretch defenses. As UConn tries to nail down what to expect from the point with Ryan Boatright graduated and highly touted incoming freshman guard Jalen Adams on deck, an asset like Miller in the frontcourt will be absolutely indispensable.
Rafael Maia, Pitt: Maia’s another Ivy transfer who will bring rebounding to a high-major who desperately needs just that. Pitt ranked an ineffectual ninth in the ACC in rebounding margin in 2014-15, while Maia led the Ivies in rebounding for the past three years. Kind of boringly obvious how much of a shot in the arm Maia is then, but he’s still a crucial one. Pitt’s defense faded in key moments far too often, and Maia will help there too. Senior forward Derrick Randall graduated and junior forwards Tyrone Haughton and Joe Uchebo transferred from Pitt. Meanwhile, incoming recruit Rozelle Nix and all 7-0, 308 pounds of him are expected to make a huge (heh) impact at center. And oh yeah, Jamel Artis thrived after switching from small to power forward while becoming Pitt’s leading scorer last season, with Michael Young coming in second as the other half of the forward tandem. Maia doesn’t have as much room as Miller to make a significant impact as a graduate transfer, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make one.
Alex Mitola, GW: Yeah, GW needs Mitola. Shooting guards Kethan Savage, Nick Griffin and Darian Bryant are all gone and what’s left is a team that struggled with turnovers last season, something that the disciplined Mitola will help immediately. GW doesn’t have a sharpshooter on its roster as reliable as Mitola, and quite frankly, I doubt any of the Colonials have Mitola’s level of defensive grit in the backcourt.
Denton Koon, Hofstra: Koon’s always been a guy who can do a little bit of everything, and he joins a roster already full of transfers who can also do that. The Pride’s top three scorers from last season were all transfers – Juan’ya Green and Ameen Tanksley from Niagara and Brian Bernardi from SMU, so coach Joe Mihalich has a proven record of making the most of quality transfers. Koon’s the only Ivy grad transfer who is coming off an injury, so that’s the X factor here. Hofstra had the best offense in the CAA last season en route to a 20-win-season that culminated in a CBI berth, so Koon will be in good company.
I humbly predict Miller and Mitola are going to make the biggest statistical splashes, but watching all of these guys do their thing on a new stage will be exciting across the board.