LAHAINA - Dave Odom, the tournament chairman of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, looks around college basketball and sees a disturbing trend.
According to the NCAA, 40 percent of men's college basketball players will not be competing at their original school by the end of their sophomore year.
At this week's tournament at the Lahaina Civic Center, Southern California arrived with eight transfers from four-year schools on its 17-player roster; Marquette had four; tournament champion Illinois had two; runner-up Butler had only one, but it was all-tournament selection Rotnei Clarke.
Southern California played Texas (orange uniforms) on Tuesday at the EA?Sports Maui Invitational. The Trojans had eight transfers from four-year schools. The Longhorns had none.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Mississippi State has no four-year transfers, but did have two from junior college. Tournament host Chaminade, an NCAA Division II school, has five four-year transfer players.
Only Texas and North Carolina had no transfers in this season's Maui Invitational.
"I think we have made it too easy for them to transfer, to begin with," said Odom, a former head coach at East Carolina, Wake Forest and South Carolina. "Easy, as in, you leave and you are eligible right away. I mean we are seeing a propensity of people leaving one school and starting the next year at the other school and it creates an uneasiness among coaches and the fans. They have a hard time locking into the team because they don't know who the team is going to be from year to year.
"I don't think that is a good thing, I really don't."
Odom says the world of college basketball has become too transient.
"We are not professional in nature," he said. "The NBA or the NFL, they buy and trade players every year and that is just part of it, but I don't think that's the way it should be in college basketball or college football. There needs to be more stability and if we truly had the best interests of the student-athletes at heart, then we need to spend more time trying to help them become more stable in their life and not be so ungrateful and so expectant of things to come."
Jamil Wilson is a fourth-year junior - he transferred from Oregon after his freshman season in 2009-10, when he started 14 games for the Ducks. He was the 30th-rated prep player in the nation by Scout.com his senior season at Horlick High School in Racine, Wis. He left Oregon after coach Ernie Kent was fired, and sat out the 2010-11 season under the NCAA transfer rule.
"I think it's been great," Wilson said after Marquette finished 2-1 at the LCC. "I think it was the best move for me at that time, it was right for me. Leaving my senior year of high school and going to Oregon turned out to be pretty good.
"I took a year off and I got beat up (in practice) every day. . . . So I think the progress has been great and I think the choice I made was awesome."
Odom said the instability makes his job harder to select teams for the Maui Invitational.
"A good example is Mississippi State's team," Odom said. "That agreement was made two years ago with Rick Stansbury, who at the time had a top-25 team and there was no reason to believe that there was going to be anything different when 2012 came along, but that thing exploded in April. Not only was (Stansbury) gone as the head coach, but eight or nine of their players have splintered - they got out of there.
"Rick Ray, who ended up being the coach, was left with a shell of a team. It's really disappointing, but you may see more of that."
After injuries and a suspension, the Bulldogs had no players available this week who had started a game for the team prior to this year. They were outscored 253-166 while going 0-3 here.
Odom said the solution to the transfer explosion is simple.
"I just think the NCAA has got to hold tight," he said. "If a kid is going to transfer he has got to sit out a year. I don't think there's any other way to do it. It worked fine for years. Once they made that one exception about, well, if a kid transfers because of one of his parents is critically ill or something like that or if they want to get back closer to home. . . . In truth, they should have thought about that kind of thing before they made a choice."
Odom also does not like the rule allowing graduates to transfer without penalty.
"The original school trained the kid for three years," Odom said. "They taught him how to play, they gave him an education and now whenever the kid should be at his best, he transfers and takes what he has learned at this school to another school. I don't like that. It teaches our kids that loyalty is not important."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org