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A Word On Transfers And The Blame Game

Transfers happen, why does someone have to be blamed?


Three guys are leaving the Purdue basketball team and transferring to another school, so who should we blame? The players? The coach? Where Else?

Why do we have to blame anyone? (Though I think we can all agree, in this instance at least, Where Else is in the clear.)

Transfers happen all the time. For example, Michigan State had two following the 2011-12 season. Heck, Michigan had three (and a walk-on) transfer after the 2011-12 season, a year before they were national runners-up.

They tend to happen even more following a season in which a team struggles and accumulates losses. This happens for various reasons, the least of which isn't because it's easier for a guy to believe he could have been the solution to the problems when the team is losing.

Yes, losing three guys in the span of five days isn't a good thing, but is it indicative of a problem with Matt Painter or his coaching style? Of a personality flaw in the players? Of anything?

I may be in the minority, but I tend to think no one person can be "blamed" for why a guy decides to transfer, nor do I think someone needs to necessarily be "blamed" for it.

Those that don't like Painter will find a variety of ways to blame him for the transfers. Those that think Painter can do no wrong and want to find fault in the athlete will find ways to blame the athlete for transferring.

If the guy transfers so that he can find more playing time somewhere else, one camp will blame the kid and say he wasn't good enough, while the Anti-Painter camp will say it shows a flaw in Painter's evaluation skills.

If the kid leaves because he was unhappy with the defense-first playing style, one camp will say he should've known what he was getting into by coming, while the other camp will say Painter needs to change his ways to make the recruits happier.

If the guy leaves to truly just be closer to home, both sides will just make up another reason to blame the athlete or the coach.

If all else fails, one side believes the kid left because he's a bad kid, the other because the coach is an evil dictator.

You get my point.

I don't see why a guy (or in this case three guys) transferring has to result in someone being blamed. Even if there is a reason to blame someone, what're the odds that it's truly just one guy's fault? Isn't it safe to say it probably has a little to do with coach's style or personality and a little to do with the player's personality or something he is doing (or not doing)?

In the end, I'm not too worked up about the transfers because I'm firmly in the "If he doesn't want to be here, I don't want him here," camp. Is having three guys transfer in five days a good thing? No, not at all. Purdue only having two upperclassmen will probably come back to haunt them next season several times. Heck, it may hurt them this whole offseason too.

It's not the end of the world though. Following the 2005-06 season, Purdue lost Nate Minnoy and Korey Spates to transfer and Marcus White "retired" from college basketball... before playing the professionally next three seasons overseas. That team, including seniors, lost seven guys off its roster before the next season.

Did the world end? No. The 2006-07 Boilers went 22-12 and made it to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament before almost beating Florida. Yes, that team had Carl Landry, but before playing that year he was just a guy coming off ACL surgery who could've just as easily been a one-season wonder.

Having guys transfer sucks, no doubt about it. They're basically publicly saying there is a reason they want to leave your school or the school you support. That stings.

But life, and basketball, will go on.