Like it or not, free agency has come to college basketball. Coaches like Georgetown's John Thompson III must alter their usual recruiting plans accordingly.
There's the traditional recruiting of high school players. That includes members of the 2015 class with the Hoyas' one current available scholarship in mind or prospects for future seasons. Then there are transfers. Some are eligible immediately under the graduate transfer rule while others must sit out a full season. Either way, this burgeoning secondary market of talent has exploded in recent seasons.
By one count, over 700 players have or are in the midst of transferring. That's a staggering amount of bodies changing programs during a single off-season. The reasons for seeking a new home range from lack of playing time to coaching changes to being over-recruited to simply wanting a change.
Whatever the reason, quality help is out there for teams needing talent, depth or a specific skill set.
"The way the last couple of years (have gone) and definitely this year, you have to make sure in the fall you don't use all your scholarships so you have some when free agency opens up," Thompson said during an recent interview with CSNwashington.com. "That's what it feels like, free agency."
The Hoyas have filled 12 of their 13 scholarships for the upcoming season. That includes three incoming freshmen and former Louisville transfer Akoy Agau, who announced in January he would be joining Georgetown. The 6-foot-8 forward becomes eligible after the first semester of the 2015-16 season.
Several transfers have been linked to the Hoyas since the season ended, but none has yet to commit. Two notable remaining options include guard Eli Carter (Florida/Rutgers) and forward Johnathan Williams III (Missouri).
Carter, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, is immediately eligible. He recently told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the Hoyas remain on his short list.
The Hoyas only have two true ball handlers on next season's roster -- D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Tre Campbell -- which makes adding a backcourt depth imperative. Thompson indicated he is pursuing guard help for next season, though not solely targeting that area with the one available scholarship.
Thompson would not confirm to CSN whether Georgetown was or was not pursuing Carter. "We're still involved with a few people," the coach said. "We'll see how it shakes out."
The 6-foot-9 Williams led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding last season as a sophomore. Kansas, Michigan State and Gonzaga are among the other schools reportedly in the mix.
Power forward Noah Dickerson, a top-60 prospect in the 2015 class, recently received a release from Florida after coach Billy Donovan bolted for the NBA. Dickerson initially committed to Georgetown before spurning the Hoyas for the Gators. Though back on the market, don't expect him to wind up on the Hilltop. The roster is deep at the 4-5 positions with rising sophomores Isaac Copeland and Paul White plus incoming freshmen Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson. Senior center Bradley Hayes shined in the NCAA Tournament win over Eastern Washington.
Smith-Rivera and Hayes are entering their senior seasons, meaning 2-3 scholarships are available for 2016 depending on whether Thompson uses his remaining spot this season. Even as the coach pursues prep players for the future, there is a good bet he keeps at least one scholarship available for free agency.