As the 2015-2016 college basketball season officially closes it's doors, the frantic off-season of chaos leading up to the 2016-2017 season has already begun. From the constant turmoil surrounding UNLV to some program shake-up at Colorado State, there is always something happening on the Mountain West basketball landscape.
Colorado State's Gillon Given Transfer Release
In what could be viewed as some additional fallout from the departures of assistant coaches Ross Hodge and Leonard Perry, one of Colorado State's biggest pieces for the 2016-2017 season has been granted his release for the program. It has been announced by the school that guard John Gillon will seek a transfer and look to finish out his college basketball career away from Fort Collins.
Gillon, who averaged 13.2 points and 3.8 assist per game last season for the Rams, will be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer after his expected completion of his degree from Colorado State this spring. It is expected that the prolific guard, who hit the 15 point plateau in fifteen games during the 2015-2016, will have a wide range of suitorshopeful to add the former Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year to their program.
While power conference programs are always a potential destination for a standout transfer like Gillon, it's hard to not consider the possibility of him following his former coaches in Ross Hodge or Leonard Perry to their new programs at Arkansas tate or Pacific, respectively. Wherever Gillon lands, it will be the Houston native's third college program dafter beginning his career at Arkansas-Little Rock back in 2012.
The Albuquerque Journal's Geoff Grammar tweeted out this statement from Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy on Saturday.
UNLV's Obekpa Signs With Agent, Turns Pro
In another strange turn of the Chris Obekpa saga, it now seems that the big man from Nigeria has effectively ended his UNLV career before it ever really started. On Saturday, it was reported by ESPN's Jeff Goodman that Chris Obekpa has signed with agent Aaron Turner, effectively ending his amateur status and any possibility of him returning to the Rebels for the 2016-2017 season.
Before arriving at UNLV, Obekpa played three seasons of college basketball at St. John's under head coach Steve Lavin, in which he developed into one of the country's most feared defensive players. Known for his rebounding and shot blocking ability, Obekpa lead the Big East in blocked shots in all three seasons with the Red Storm, totaling 321 swats over his three year college career.
After sitting out the 2015-2016 season for UNLV, Obekpa was expected to show marked improvements to his all-around game in 2016-2017, starting with a renewed offensive skill-set and improved conditioning. Now without that chance, Obekpa will have to impress NBA scouts in workout and combine situations despite not having played in a college basketball game since March of 2015.
At the moment, most NBA draft boards have Obekpa likely ending up in the "un-drafted category" but he is the raw type of player that some teams will reach for late in the second round. However, with no likely possibility to even crack the first round, Obekpa's decision to sign with an agent can be easily viewed as a bit confounding.
Former St. John's big man Chris Obekpa, who sat out last season at UNLV, has signed with agent Aaron Turner. College career is over.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 23, 2016
Rebels' Ben Carter Is One Of Country's Best Available Transfers
UNLV's Ben Carter may not be the biggest name to have left town during the Rebels' mass exodus this off-season but gradually, he is becoming one of the most talked about in the college basketball world.
According to ESPN's newly updated "College Basketball Transfer List", the former Rebel is the country's 10th best available transfer currently on the market, behind some impressive names in Derryck Thornton (Duke), Daniel Giddens (Ohio State) and Caleb Martin (North Carolina State). The 6' 9", 225 pound Vegas native is apparently worth the hype, already attracting the interest of a litany of programs including Arizona, Arizona State, Miami (FL), Michigan State and North Carolina State. It was also reported on Saturday by CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein that Carter has already scheduled a visit to the Spartans in late April.
Carter began his college career at the University of Oregon in 2012, playing there for two seasons in which he averaged just under 2.5 points per game in limited minutes. After sitting out a season when transferring to UNLV, Carter made vast improvements to his game and earned increased playing time because of it. During the 2015-2016 season, he put up 8.6 points per contest on 55.6% shooting from the field, while also tallying six rebounds a night. Carter will have one season of eligibility remaining.
UNLV transfer Ben Carter will visit Michigan State from 4/29 to 4/31, source told @CBSSports. Immediately eligible.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 23, 2016