Transfers. It's more than just a part of basketball, whether you're talking high school or college hoops. Often it can define a season for a particular program.
Earlier this week the City/Suburban Hoops Report took a look at the transfer epidemic and how little there is that can be done to curb the issue. Today, it's a look at the most influential transfers in recent years around the Chicago area. This is actually a short list. The research turned up at least a dozen more decent basketball names of players (and probably a few more that were missed) that moved schools while in high school.
And this list doesn't even include Division I prospects that transferred in from out-of-state locations (Gavin Schilling, JaVale McGee, Eddie Alcantera, Luke Hager, etc.) or left the state (DeAndre Liggins, Jalen James, Aaric Armstead, C.J. Jones, etc.).
How about this transfer nugget? Of the 20 players listed who transferred while in high school and have already played a college game, 15 have either transferred again while in college or not finished their careers with the school they signed with because of some type of "issue". With several of those players still in the early part of their college career, those numbers could still increase. Coincidence? Doubt it.
The Hoops Report starts with a Super Six list of the most influential transfers in recent years, followed by a host of other significant transfers.
① Jereme Richmond (From North Shore Country Day to Waukegan)
The idea of sending the best player in the state with legitimate high-major college talent to North Shore Country Day out of 8th grade was peculiar to begin with. We know the road the former Mr. Basketball has taken since, which included spending just one year at Illinois, but the move following his freshman year to Waukegan changed the high school basketball landscape. Even in a tumultuous three-year run at Waukegan, which included winning Mr. Basketball and being a McDonald's All-American, there were some glorious results. The Bulldogs won big with Richmond in the program, reaching Peoria twice, finishing second in 2009 and third in 2010 with a combined record of 53-10.
② Wayne Blackshear (Curie to Morgan Park)
What would have been at Curie if Blackshear, a McDonald's All-American and Louisville recruit, had stayed put? In one of the bigger and more controversial transfers in Chicago prep hoops history, Blackshear left midseason of his sophomore year and bolted to play at Morgan Park. Blackshear helped lead Morgan Park to a city championship his junior year and became the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year and McDonald's All-American his senior year. Blackshear provided a bit of a boost off the bench late last season in helping Louisville reach the Final Four in an injury-plagued freshman season.
③ Nate Minnoy (Mt. Carmel to Hales Franciscan)
This one dates back a little in comparison to the other five on this list, but it was a monumental pick-up for the Hales program. The 6-3, 220-pound Minnoy was a monster in high school, putting up impressive numbers for three seasons (an averaged of 18 points and 9 rebounds a game) after transferring from one South Side private school to another following his freshman year. He was an all-stater, helped lead Hales to a pair of state titles (the second one was forfeited) and was the MVP of the 2005 Roundball Classic All-Star game. He started with a bang at Purdue, but he eventually left after one season and attended Schoolcraft Community College before signing with Central Michigan, where he played just one season. He then signed with NAIA Lee University.
④ Marcus Jordan (From Loyola to Whitney Young)
Is there a high school in the country that wouldn't have opened its arms for the son of Michael Jordan and all that comes with that? Jordan left Loyola, where his older brother Jeffery Jordan played and graduated from, to join a powerful Public League team in Whitney Young for his junior and senior years. Jordan was a huge part of a Whitney Young team that claimed the 2009 state championship. The 6-3 guard provided leadership, toughness and was the Dolphins leading scorer. After a very productive three years at Central Florida, Jordan's basketball career is in limbo.
⑤ Carl Richard (From Whitney Young to Richards)
Probably one of the more forgotten about transfers that paid the biggest dividends. The 6-6 Richard was the leading scorer (16 ppg) and rebounder (7.6 rpg) for a team that captured the 2008 state championship. Richard, who started out at Whitney Young before transferring to Richards for his junior year, helped lead the Bulldogs to a two-year record of 56-7. He went on and had a solid career at Indiana State.
⑥ D.J. Cooper (From Hales Franciscan to Seton Academy)
After starting his career at Hales, the dynamic point guard transferred and played his season at Seton Academy. And what a season it was. Cooper took Seton from a really good team to one of the best small school state champions in state history in 2009. During his senior year, Cooper was the catalyst of a 31-2 state championship team, averaging 14 points, 4.5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals a game. Cooper is now a star in the MAC after leading Ohio to the Sweet 16 a year ago as a junior.
• Stan Simpson (From Leo to Simeon)
Prior to the start of the 2007-2008 season, the 6-9 big man made the move from Leo to Simeon. His presence inside, along with his 20-plus points a game as a senior, helped Simeon to a berth in the 3A title game, where it fell to Marshall. Simpson signed with Illinois and eventually transferred. He is now playing at Memphis.
• Crandall Head (From Rich South to Crane to Rich South)
Everything seemed to be going smoothly (for the most part) for Head as a sophomore. The electric athlete was shining for the Stars, gaining national attention and recruiting interest. Then he made the move to Crane for his junior year. And, really, nothing has been the same since. A knee injury, another transfer, discipline issues and skills that never developed have stalled Head's career. After signing and playing at Illinois, Head has transferred to SMU.
• Brandon Spearman (Hales Franciscan to Simeon)
The impact of Spearman, who made the move to Simeon following his sophomore year at Hales, was huge. The 6-3 wing was the catalyst for the Wolverines in March, leading Simeon to a state championship after an up-and-down regular season. Spearman was the only Simeon player to score in double figures that season. As a collegian, Spearman has left Dayton and is headed to Hawaii after a year at a junior college.
• Jordan Walker (Champaign Central to Hales to Seton)
Joining D.J. Cooper on the Seton 2009 state title team was the 6-6 Walker, who previously transferred from Champaign Central to Hales, where he sat out an entire season after the move. Walker was instrumental in helping Seton to a state championship.
• Ben Brust (From Hersey to Mundelein)
Following his freshman season at Hersey, the shooting guard transferred to Mundelein and capped off a brilliant three years with nearly 2,000 career points. Brust averaged 24.5 points as a senior, scoring 50 or more points twice and 40 or more points five times. Brust, who originally committed to Iowa, is now playing at Wisconsin.
• Cully Payne (From Burlington Central to Schaumburg)
As a much-talked-about 8th grader, the point guard committed to DePaul and coach Jerry Wainwright before he even entered high school at Burlington Central. He de-committed from DePaul, committed to Alabama, eventually signed with Iowa, transferred from Iowa and sat out this past season at Loyola. All of this after Payne left Burlington Central to play for coach Bob Williams at Schaumburg.
• Diamond Taylor (From St. Joseph to Bolingbrook)
The 6-3 guard was among the top prospects in his class throughout his freshman and sophomore seasons at St. Joseph. He received several high-major offers and committed to Wisconsin. Taylor eventually transferred from St. Joe's to Bolingbrook following his junior year. He also transferred from Wisconsin to Southern Illinois.
• Terry Johnson (From Seton to St. Rita to North Lawndale)
After a strong start at Seton, Johnson transferred to St. Rita for his junior year. He then left St. Rita for North Lawndale, where he helped lead the Phoenix to a third-place finish in Class 3A his senior year. Johnson began his college career at Illinois State, transferred to Wisconsin-Green Bay and has since left Brian Wardle's program.
• Jamee Crockett (From Rich Central to Crete-Monee)
The current DePaul Blue Demon switched south suburban schools early on in his career and put together a solid senior year, leading Crete-Monee to its best season in school history. Behind Crockett and fellow transfer, Michael Orris (see below), the Warriors won a school record 25 games and won regional and sectional championships.
• Michael Orris (From Palatine to Crete-Monee)
The 6-2 point guard stepped in and instantly became the floor general Crete-Monee was missing. As a junior he helped guide the Warriors to a memorable season by reaching a Class 4A supersectional. The buzz within the program was quickly lost with the controversy surrounding coach Matt Ryndak and rough senior year for Orris led to a tough season last winter. Orris is now at Kansas State playing for Bruce Weber.
• Mike DiNunno (From Lake Park to Von Steuben)
As a sophomore at Lake Park, DiNunno averaged 17 points a game and knocked down 86 3-pointers. He then transferred to Von Steuben, where he shined in his Public League debut, scoring 19 points in an upset win over Morgan Park in 2006. He wrapped up his career in 2008 at Von Stueben as one of coach Vince Carter's best players.
• Michael Haynes (From Corliss to Washington to Fenger)
Sadly and tragically, the always-promising Haynes was shot and killed last month, just days before departing for this Division I stop at Iona. In high school, Haynes started at Corliss and left after his freshman year to attend Washington. Haynes then left an up-and-coming program at Washington, where as a junior he helped lead his team to the city championship game against Simeon and Derrick Rose, for Fenger. But he was ineligible to play his senior year at Fenger.
• Quan Conner (From North Chicago to Waukegan)
A lower-profile transfer but one of impact, nonetheless. Conner played a big part in Waukegan's run to Peoria in 2009 and 2010. He was a two-year starter and averaged 10 points a game in a state runner-up finish in 2009. As a senior, Conner was the team's second leading scorer at 14.1 points per game in 2010 when the Bulldogs finished third in the state.
• Josh Crittle (Timothy Christian to Hales Franciscan)
After starting his high school career as one of the top prospects in his class in Illinois, he was soon on the move. The 6-8 forward left Timothy for Hales in 2006. He signed with Oregon and played two seasons for the Ducks. He then transferred to Central Florida, where he averaged a meager 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds a game last season. Now he's headed to UIC for his final year.
• Josh Humphrey (From Hales Franciscan to Crete-Monee)
Started his career at Hales and then headed to the south suburbs to play for coach Rocky Hill and Crete-Monee, helping put the Warriors program back on the map. Humphrey left the Wisconsin-Green Bay program this past year.
Current prep players who have transferred ...
• Kyle Davis (From Hyde Park to Morgan Park)
The impact hasn't been felt yet -- Davis hasn't played a game yet for coach Nick Irvin. But if the Hoops Report had to put money on a particular player being among the top five scorers in the state this season??? Here's a $10 wager on KD.
• Jaylon Tate (From De La Salle to Simeon)
The point guard started his first two years at De La Salle and made about as big of an impact as a young player can make on a talented team that was ranked. He left after his junior year and helped Simeon win a state title a year ago and will be the starting point guard for the state's No. 1 ranked team this season.
• Javarious Amos-Mays (From Zion-Benton to North Chicago)
After a promising start at Zion-Benton as a freshman, Amos-Mays, a hard-nosed 6-3 wing, transferred to North Chicago. He was a big part of North Chicago's second-place finish in 2A as he averaged nearly 12 points a game for the Warhawks.
• Alex Foster (From De La Salle to Seton Academy)
As noted in a previous blog, this is the most significant transfer to date for the upcoming 2012-2013 season. The highly-regarded Foster immediately makes Seton Academy a Class 2A state title contender.
• Russell Woods (From Leo to Simeon)
It's expected that when Simeon starts school early next month, Woods will be in the halls. The 6-8 forward provides an immediate presence for a loaded team in search of a fourth straight state championship.
Coming next: A look at the all-time transfer team in Chicago prep hoops history.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport