They come in all shapes and sizes, from Princeton Day’s 5-foot-7 Aquille Carr to Sherwood’s 6-foot-7 Ellis Dozier, bring with them a wide range of attributes, from a post-up scorer in Linganore’s Seth Myers to a stable ball-handler in Oakdale’s Clay Conner, and arrive in widely disparate quantities, from Princeton Day’s absurd six to Springbrook’s one.
But there is one aspect being shared by this year’s most recent class of transfers, no matter their size or ability: they have made an indelible impact on this season’s basketball landscape.
It’s truly a mystery as to what Linganore would be like without its senior transfer in Myers. After spending a year on the Lancers’ junior varsity squad, Myers transferred over to New Life where he partnered with the Brown brothers under coach Bruce Bryant. But in mid-August, he re-enrolled at Linganore to play under Tom Kraft. Myers has since become the Lancers’ leading scorer and one of the county’s top post threats.
“He’s still learning our system,” Kraft said of Myers, who is averaging 16.7 points per game. “He’s still learning what we consider a forced shot and a good shot, but, yes, we’re very fortunate to have him.”
Myers, whose size — he stands somewhere between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5 — and range make him a mismatch machine. Kraft can send him down to the low post, where “if he can square up on the shot, he can finish very well,” but has no problem letting him wander to the wing where he can bury 20-footers and slash to get to the rim.
But this is still just a small sampling of the cavalcade of transfers that have taken place across the state, and an even a smaller sampling of the resulting impact. Take Princeton Day’s Aquille Carr or Riverdale Baptist’s Nigel Johnson. In his junior season, Carr, a Seton Hall recruit, led Patterson Mill to a 21-7 record and its first-ever state title. Now at Princeton Day, the trash-talk spewing point guard is averaging 27.2 points per game, including eight 30-plus point efforts, and has carried the Storm to wins over perpetual powerhouses such as Johnson’s Riverdale Baptist and National Christian.
Johnson, a George Washington recruit who averaged 29.5 points per game including a career-high 55-point effort with Broad Run as a junior, has taken a similar role as Carr with his new teammates. He’s currently the Crusaders’ leading scorer with 16.5 points a night and with him at the helm, Riverdale has recently upended the No. 12-ranked team in New Jersey, Newark Tech, as well as the fourth-ranked team in Delaware, Poly Tech and avenged an earlier loss to Princeton Day.
“He’s a gamer, he’s a prime-time player,” Riverdale coach Lou Wilson said after the Crusaders nearly shocked Huntington Prep at the National High School Hoops Festival in December. “… He’s a big-time player. He’s going to be a big-time player.”
Others, while their impact can certainly be felt, have adopted more complimentary roles as opposed to being the feature man like Williams, Carr and Johnson. Randall Broddie, a freshman who made a last-minute decision to attend Potomac as opposed to St. John’s College High, has been instrumental in opening up opportunities for the Wolverines’ highly-touted junior, Dion Wiley.
Carney Bernard, Cameron Thurston and Michael Cunningham have taken near-identical roles to Broddie, who is second to Wiley as the team’s leading scorer.
All three saw minimal time at their previous school — Bernard at Montrose, Thurston at Riverdale, Cunningham at Paul VI — and decided to find a home where they would have more prominent roles. Cunningham, in his third school in as many years, became a DuVal Tiger where he has partnered with Charles Ekeanyanwu. The duo is currently combining for more than 36 points per game and has bolstered DuVal to a 12-2 record, prior to Tuesday’s matchup with Suitland.
Thurston arrived at Parkdale just weeks before the season to join Kaine Wilson in the backcourt. With the senior’s addition, the Panthers have become the newest member of the ever-deepening pool of talent in the Prince George’s 4A division.
Bernard, meanwhile, transferred to Tuscarora where he has teamed up with Lamell Washington and Kwa McDonald to turn the Titans into a three-headed force. When Washington was forced to sit out for four games with a wrist injury, it was Bernard who kept Tuscarora afloat, combining for 51 points in the first two games that Washington was on the sidelines.
And still there are others, St. Andrew’s Episcopal’s new-look backcourt being a prime example, that have completely shifted the style that their teams play with. The 2011-12 Lions’ team had a lot of trouble breaking the press, namely because they lacked a dependable ball-handler.
This past summer, point guard Cedrick McFadden and shooting guard Marcus Adkinson announced that they would be joining Kevin Jones’ bunch—McFadden from Wilson, Adkinson from Paul VI—and since their arrival, the Lions have become an up-tempo, fast-paced squad that slashes and kicks and kills teams off of turnovers.
“It’s obviously a nice luxury to have,” Jones said. “We didn’t have those two guys last year and most teams pressed us and we couldn’t handle the pressure.”
There are, of course, the not-so-fuzzy stories. Individually, Myers has shined with Linganore, averaging 16.38 points per game, but the team, 1-11 after the first twelve games, has firmly planted itself to Frederick County’s cellar door. Wheaton lost Villanova recruit Josh Hart two years ago to Sidwell Friends and would be a viable contender for a state title had Hart stayed to play alongside Tyron White.
But such can be the results of a transfer. Some strike gold while other’s watch their future walk out the door. Some work out instantaneously while some take a little time.
“We’re going to get it done,” Carr said after the Red Storm defeated Riverdale in December. “We’re going to come along eventually and win more games and close it out.”