The hidden cost of NCAA Tournament success: Jim Larrañaga discusses a specific transfer portal disadvantage | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 25.
  • The hidden cost of NCAA Tournament success: Jim Larrañaga discusses a specific transfer portal disadvantage

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    By SAM LANCE

    KANSAS CITY — Survive and advance is usually the motto of March, especially if you’re a program lucky enough to find yourself in the NCAA Tournament. However, with each game won in the Big Dance, you may fall behind in a totally different ballgame: recruiting the transfer portal.

    This season, the college basketball transfer portal opened on March 13, just one day before the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. Teams whose seasons have concluded can have players transfer in and out.

    This creates a bit of a recruiting imbalance amongst teams still playing postseason basketball, according to Miami head Jim Larrañaga.

    “Yeah, how about that?,” Larrañaga said. “The more you win, the less you’re able to recruit. That doesn’t really make sense, but it is true. It’s a fact.”

    So far, six of the top 50 prospects in the On3.com transfer portal rankings have found a new team. This includes big names like JJ Starling and Skyy Clark, who committed to Syracuse and Louisville, respectively.

    Neither team participated in postseason play after the ACC Tournament.

    “Like right now, I don’t even know how many guys we’ll have back because we may have guys who want to transfer,” Larrañaga said. “We don’t know.”

    Other teams? They’ve had some time to figure out scholarship numbers. They’ve had players enter the portal. They’ve had time to actually recruit other players.

    Meanwhile, for Larrañaga, “Our focus is on playing Houston [Friday] night. I think all the teams that have made the Sweet 16, their goal is to move on. Recruiting is a separate challenge.”

    Today, recruiting the portal is especially challenging. Let’s say, hypothetically, Miami goes all the way. They’ll be cutting down the nets on April 3, which would give the Hurricanes just about a month, until May 11, until the portal closes.

    Advancing that far would also put Miami at a near month disadvantage in terms of assessing the roster for next year, scouting and contacting players.

    “We’ll do our due diligence in finding out who might be interested in us and see how many scholarships we have to fill,” Larrañaga said. “But I think every school has that challenge because the portal for everyone is like recruiting a McDonald’s All-American in a fast-forward situation.”

    Larrañaga pointed out that when you recruit high school players, you establish a relationship with those players over several years. However, the portal is much different.

    “This is like speed dating,” Larrañaga said. “It’s like going on match.com.”

    He took a long pause.

    “I have never been on match.com,” Larrañaga clarified. “I don’t want anybody to get the wrong impression.”

    While recruiting the portal isn’t exactly online dating, Larrañaga using this metaphor gives some insight into how difficult the portal process is and how quick it moves. And while advancing in the NCAA Tournament speaks for itself to recruits, it doesn’t necessarily help programs to be behind.

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