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What is Wake Forest Looking For in a Grad Transfer?

There are two open roster spots for Wake Forest headed into 2016. Who are some of the potential graduate transfers that Danny Manning is looking at?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Blogger So Dear has written a few articles over the past couple of weeks about potential graduate transfers that Danny Manning and his staff could look at to pick up before next season begins. It is relevant to take a look at both why it is important to pick up at least one grad transfer (if not two) for 2016, and what exactly that player ideally looks like to complement the current roster Wake already has.

Let's first look at the reason it's important to grab at least one graduate transfer this off-season. It's pretty straight forward, but with the transfers of Rondale Watson and Andre Washington dismissal of Cornelius Hudson, Wake currently only has 11 scholarship players. Since the NCAA grants you 13 scholarships it is usually a good idea to use all of them.

That leaves Coach Manning with two open spots for this year. It is pretty late in the cycle to grab a top-tier recruit that the staff would want to occupy a roster spot for four years (or even 2-3 if they go pro), so graduate transfers make sense. I have attempted to highlight this in the table below. It was colorful and fancy in Excel, and unfortunately the transfer over to HTML did not allow the table to hold the same qualities.

2016 2017 2018 2019
Brandon Childress Brandon Childress Brandon Childress Brandon Childress
Richard Washington Richard Washington Richard Washington Richard Washington
Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell
Samuel Japhet-Mathias Samuel Japhet-Mathias Samuel Japhet-Mathias Samuel Japhet-Mathias
Bryant Crawford Bryant Crawford Bryant Crawford OPEN
Doral Moore Doral Moore Doral Moore OPEN
John Collins John Collins John Collins OPEN
Keyshawn Woods Keyshawn Woods Keyshawn Woods OPEN
Mitchell Wilbekin Mitchell Wilbekin OPEN OPEN
Dinos Mitoglou Dinos Mitoglou OPEN OPEN
Greg McClinton Greg McClinton OPEN OPEN

Currently there are two spots available for this upcoming year, and two spots available for 2017. Ideally the two in 2017 are filled by very talented freshmen and we take a big step forward. For this year it's important to get a guy or two that can contribute right away at the 3. This gives Richard Washington and Donovan Mitchell a year to develop without being thrown into the fire right away.

We have already written about a few guys who could possibly be fits for next year. Links are below for those players that we believe could be in play for Coach Manning and staff:

Austin Arians (Milwaukee)

Eric Vila (Would be a Freshman)

Malcolm Bernard (Florida A&M)

DeSean Murray (Presbyterian, would have two years remaining after sitting out a year)

Canyon Barry (College of Charleston)

There are a few other names out there who Wake Forest could also take a look at. Those include: Spike Albrect (Michigan), Katin Reinhardt (USC), and Christian Kessee (Coppin State).

Some of these guys will be in higher demand than others, and Wake Forest is by no means the only school trying to land grad transfers. With the frequency of players graduating in three years and transferring for their final year, either from a mid-major to a higher level program, or from a higher level program to a mid-major (for more playing time), a lot of schools are utilizing this route as a viable option to improve their team quickly and for a low cost.

Since it has been established that the Deacs need to land a transfer, let's take a look at what exactly Wake Forest needs to help the team for next season from a potential player.

The roster is pretty set as far as talent and depth at the PG, PF, and C positions (1, 4, 5). There is also a pretty good chance that an average replacement shooting guard level shooting guard will emerge between Mitchell Wilbekin, Keyshawn Woods, and Brandon Childress, which will be sufficient for this season.

That leaves the wing spot (3) open and up-for-grabs. Given the current breakdown of the roster as we know it, there are two options for who could start at the 3. In his two years at Wake, Coach Manning has shown a preference to go with a three guard lineup. That would likely present: Crawford, Wilbekin, and Woods at the 1, 2, and 3, with Chill spelling at the 1 and 2 when needed.

There is also the chance that one of Richard Washington or Donovan Mitchell comes in and grabs the starting spot from day one. That seems unlikely to me unless  one of them is much better than projected from day one, but it could happen. In this scenario, the Deacs would likely still run a good bit of three guards as well.

An ideal situation in my mind is that Coach Manning can land somebody in the next month who can start from day one next year at the 3. Given the current roster makeup, there are certain attributes that would fit well with Wake Forest (and really any team in a Power 5 conference).

A lengthy 6'5-6'7 player who can disrupt passing lanes, and generate turnovers on defense, but can also get to the basket, and an average to above average shooting percentage. The 3 has been a bad spot for Wake over the past few years, and often times in the ACC is the position that features the most athletic and versatile players.

I would also like the player to not be a high usage player, meaning they generate a lot of their effectiveness on the court from having the ball a lot. Bryant Crawford is the guy who I want to be shooting, passing, and even turning the ball over the most, because he is our most talented player in the backcourt. Nobody that we get at the 3 will change this fact unless a superstar unexpectedly signs with us.

Out of the transfers that have been speculated on so far, there are a couple of options that i think fit in quite well. The best option to me at this juncture would be Austin Arians out of Milwaukee.

At 6'6, 200 pounds, he is the perfect size. He had an offensive rating of 113.8 on just a 16.9% usage rate. That is once again right where I want the potential transfer to be. He also had the 5th best turnover rate in the nation at just 6.4% of his teams turnovers when he is on the court.

The biggest thing to me though is his shooting. He shoots 85% from the free throw line, 48% from 2's, and 36% on 3's (in 214 shots, an extremely valid sample size).

In Milwaukee he played a lot of the 3 and the 4, and helped the Panthers to a 20-13 record while basically supplementing higher usage players. On the current market Arians is by far the best fit that I can see right now.

If Wake is only taking one guy then I want it to be Arians, but beyond him, Canyon Barry is my next option.

Barry doesn't quite check all the boxes as well as Arians, but still has some good strengths to his game. First of all, he only played 12 games last year before a shoulder injury shut him down for the year. He only had a 98 offensive rating, and was used on a whopping 31.8% of the offensive possessions. It's clear that he is a high volume scorer and needs the ball to be his most effective. This is definitely problematic given the team Wake has already.

He is listed at 6'6, 210, so he's what we need size-wise, but doesn't generate a high number of steals or blocks with that length. He shoots a lot of twos and also gets to the line a lot (where he shoots underhanded to a tune of 84%), which is a huge plus.

What I like the most about Barry is what he can offer in terms of leadership on and off the court. He is a 4.0 student and looking for a masters degree in physics or engineering. That usually signifies that a kid has a pretty good head on his shoulders.

The other players listed all have pros and cons as well, but Arians and Barry are my top two options at this juncture, and if we can land Arians I'm really fine with any of the other guys that won't take up a scholarship past this year. Worst case they are good practice players and fill out the rest of the roster.

It also bears noting that Danny Manning has followed these two guys on Twitter, which by no means is an indication that they will come here, but is important because it means the staff has likely reached out to them and expressed interest.

Wake was also one of several schools to reach out to DeSean Murray of Presbyterian, so there is no doubt that the staff is actively working to fill these spots.

Transfers will continue to pile up, so if any come out that fit into what Wake needs then Blogger So Dear will certainly write about them.