We all like to predict things; who will win the presidency, what your favorite team's record will be at the end of the season, how many wings you can eat in one sitting. That was the motivation behind writing this article, even if it is torture to objectively pick where the Mountaineers second leading scorer will go and because, frankly, I'm just horrible at predicting things (just look at my NCAA bracket).
Eron Harris announced earlier this week that he was going to transfer to be closer to his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. To narrow down some of the possibilities, I added in a few factors. First, transfer closer to home does not necessarily mean to be in Indiana at all. Anywhere between Morgantown and Indianapolis, a distance of 379 miles, could be considered closer to home.
Second, Harris will have to navigate through the NCAA transfer rules, which state that if an athlete is attending a four year school and wants to transfer to another four year school, that athlete will have to "sit out" one year for an "academic year-in residence" at that school before being eligible to play. The "one time transfer exception" does not apply to Division I basketball student-athletes.
Finally, we looked at schools and determined needs for guards who liked to shoot and don't play defense (kidding, sorta). There are a lot of solid guards in the Midwest, but schools will be lining up to pick up a sophomore guard who averaged 17.2 points per game in the rough Big 12 this past season.
With that, here are my choices for Harris' likely options:
Indiana: Bloomington, IN, located about one hour outside of Indianapolis, is home to Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers, one of the most iconic programs in all of college basketball. Indiana is coming off a down year, going 17-15 after the losses of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo the previous season. Further, Indiana also received notice this week that three players would be transferring from its program as well: Jeremy Hollowell, Austin Etherington, and Jonny Marlin. This leaves Indiana with one productive guard, Kevin Ferrell. Look for Crean to make a strong push to replenish the lost scoring for Indiana and bring Harris to Assembly Hall.
Purdue: The Boilermakers, located in West Lafayette, IN, are another Big Ten team in the running for Harris. This season, Purdue finished 15-17 overall, a down year for head coach Matt Painter and Co. Terone Johnson, a member of the Johnson duo leading Purdue in scoring, will be graduating as well, leaving a hole at guard for the Boilermakers.
Butler: The Butler Bulldogs, out of the now really weird Big East Conference, finished 14-17 in their first year without head coach Brad Stevens. The Bulldogs return guard Kevin Dunham, who averaged 16 points per game last season, but have no other real scoring threat on the perimeter. Harris would be a very welcome addition to Butler, in an attempt to get the program back to glory and back into the NCAA tournament.
Cincinnati: The Cincinnati Bearcats are a darkhorse in the pursuit of Harris. The Bearcats finished 27-7 behind Mighty Mouse coach Mick Cronin, before falling in the first round of the NCAA tournament to the scholars of Harvard. The Bearcats were lead by guard Sean Kilpatrick, but the Redshirt Senior will be graduating, and Cronin will need to find new life to fill the scoring void Kilpatrick will leave behind. Look for Cincinnati to be a darkhorse in this fight.
So where will Harris end up? He is a high talent, fill up the bucket guard, with two years of eligibility left to mold his game. A lot of schools will be fighting for his services, even if they do have to wait one year to showcase him to their fan base. One thing is for certain: The Mountaineers are losing a solid guard and will need to find a player to step up and make significant contributions to the score sheet every night.