Oakland's Micah Parrish exits; here's a mid-major hoops update on transfer portal
The transfer portal giveth, and the transfer portal taketh.
The Oakland men's basketball team again has been bitten by college athletics' fancy new toy store, with forward Micah Parrish entering the transfer portal this week.
Parrish was a member of the Golden Grizzlies' so-called "Core Four," starting 30 games this past season, his redshirt freshman year but second full season. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds.
As a true freshman, the Detroit native, who prep-schooled in Arizona, started 27 of 29 games and averaged 8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
It's a big blow for Oakland, which already is losing Jamal Cain — a big-time transfer addition last year, from Marquette — to graduation as Greg Kampe, Oakland's head coach for 38 years, prepares to enter the last year of his contract.
Oakland has seen a steady stream of impact players enter the transfer portal in recent years, among them Daniel Oladapo (Pittsburgh), Rashad Williams (Saint Louis) and Tray Maddox Jr. (Cal-State Fullerton). All three of those players re-entered the transfer portal after this past season.
Kampe has been actively recruiting potential transfer replacements in recent weeks, including one local JUCO star (that's how Oakland got Jalen Moore) and at least one Power Five player.
Eastern Michigan is losing some impact talent via the portal, too, including point guard Bryce McBride, who was in the portal last year but returned to the Eagles after Stan Heath was named head coach. McBride averaged 11.6 points this past season, but mostly off the bench as he became a sixth-man option, with the emergence of freshman point guard Noah Farrakhan. Also, 6-foot-10 center Mo Njie is going to test the transfer interest after averaging 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds.
Stan Heath, who just finished his first season, is confident he can find the pieces to replace the losses.
"You can't finish second in recruiting," Heath said.
Over at Central Michigan, where Tony Barbee just finished his first season, the Chippewas are losing a couple notable players including guard Cameron Healy, a graduate student from Australia who averaged 11.7 points this past season. He is in the portal, but is expected to pursue professional opportunities. Guard Oscar Lopez Jr., who averaged 10 points and 4.2 rebounds, also is in the transfer portal.
At Detroit Mercy, which is expected to welcome back star guard Antoine Davis for a fifth season (coinciding with the last year of dad and head coach Mike Davis' contract), no players have entered the portal.
That's also the case at Western Michigan, which introduced long-time Michigan State assistant coach Dwayne Stephens as its new head coach Wednesday. The last time WMU hired a new coach, Clayton Bates two years ago, two star players, Michael Flowers and Brandon Johnson, immediately entered the portal. On Wednesday, the entire Broncos roster was in attendance for Stephens' press conference, in the front row.
The Broncos roster was met with handshakes and hugs from MSU coach Tom Izzo after the presser.
Asked about the transfer portal, Stephens gave a mixed answer.
"The transfer portal is something that I think can be very helpful if you try to turn your program around overnight," he said. "It's (also) something that can be very dangerous."
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Stephens said he prefers the idea of recruiting high-schoolers, because you build a relationship that can flourish over four or five years, and pay long-term dividends. Recruiting transfers, Stephens said, is a significantly quicker process, where things can go wrong in the vetting process.
On the women's side, meanwhile, there were two significant transfer-portal departures.
At Oakland, star guard Kahlaijah Dean, first-team all-Horizon League the last two seasons, has decided to test the transfer waters after averaging a team-best 15.8 points. She played four seasons at Oakland and earned a degree.
So while coach Jeff Tungate admittedly was a bit surprised, he added she gave Oakland everything she had, and now gets to go closer to her California home. She could be signing soon with Sacramento State.
"Can't be mad at her," he said.
At Central Michigan, which lost several players to the portal during the season, guard Molly Davis (Midland) recently entered the portal after averaging a team-best 18.6 points.
The transfer portal, which currently has more than 1,000 basketball players after more than 2,000 were in it last year, has proven good and bad for mid-major programs. Talented players who aren't getting the playing time they thought they would get at the Power Five level have given the mid-majors another look; but star players at the mid-major level are, in huge numbers, testing the interest at the highest levels.
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