Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports reported Tuesday that 6-9 power forward Anthony Lee would be transferring from Temple for his last season of college basketball. As a graduate transfer, Lee would be able to play immediately (and for one year) wherever he decides to enroll. He'll bring with him a rare combination of scoring (13.6 PPG) and rebounding (8.6 RPG), as well as efficiency -- he shot over 50% from the floor over his career and is a 60% free throw shooter.
Maryland struggled mightily to get consistent production from their big men this season and have reached out to Lee, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.
Temple transfer Anthony Lee's list continues to expand. He's heard from Louisville, Ohio State, Florida, FSU, USC, Miami, Pitt, NC State.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 18, 2014
Lee (cont'd): in addition to the ones I already mentioned: Iowa State, Illinois, Marquette, Indiana.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 18, 2014
More schools for Temple transfer Anthony Lee -- Maryland, Iowa, Butler, Ole Miss, St Johns, Providence, Seton Hall, Arizona.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 18, 2014
You might say to yourself, "Wow, that's a lot of really good basketball programs. What does Maryland have to offer that the other, more successful ones, can't?"
Well, as it so happens, Lee is originally from Columbia, MD, although he played his high school basketball in Florida.
In a radio interview with Temple's student run station he said that he'd like to play in the Midwest because he has family there, and he'd like to make a decision in the next few weeks. Maryland is certainly not in the Midwest, but they will be joining a Midwest conference, so his family would still be able to see him play.
Lee is not the only big man Maryland's had their eye on for 2014. Dustin Clark has reportedly been to Spain to see 7-footer Michal Cekovsky, and 247 Sports has the Terps listed as "warm". Louisville seems to be the popular pick for Cekovsky, but they already have a six-man class for 2014, including four front-court players, one of whom committed after most of the Crystal Ball picks were made. We've also mentioned JUCO 6-8 SF/PF Jordan Goodman previously, as another potential 2014 offer. Goodman is another local guy who absolutely wants to come to College Park, but the staff's been hesitant to offer.
The bigger thing, obviously, is the implied attrition here. If Maryland is going after Lee, Cekovsky and Goodman, that means they're at least bracing for the possibility that at least one player is no longer on the team next season, as their scholarship allotment is completely full.
I'm generally uncomfortable with speculating about potential transfers or attrition. It's unfair to the kids (they are college students, after all). That said, there are at least two real, potential candidates to leave and open up a scholarship. Nick Faust has been rumored to be on track to graduate early, and would have immediate eligiblity to transfer elsewhere, and Dez Wells has long been rumored to want to jump to the pros after his junior year.
Wells is not currently in DraftExpress's Top 100 Prospects list, but the NBA isn't the only way for basketball players to make money (hi, Terrell Stoglin!). Numerous leagues overseas pay upwards of six-figure salaries to their players, and that route could be a more realistic one for Wells at this time (although it would be a mistake to ever count him out).
Note: In my opinion Faust leaving is far more likely than Wells. Wells' goal might have once been to play professionally after this year but he loves Maryland and Coach Turgeon. I think he'd like to see if he can really improve his stock next season on what should be a better team. Faust, on the other hand, saw his role diminish and might want to be the centerpiece of another team rather than a defensive stopper/specialist.
The Maryland coaching staff understands how critical next season is and are doing their due diligence in finding answers for the front court issues. Whether a spot for one of these players opens up remains to be seen. Here's the basketball scholarship chart for reference.