Has UNLV let too much talent transfer?

Instead of paying attention to the NCAA Tournament, every March UNLV basketball takes on a different tradition. Roster turnover. 

This year will likely be no different. After another disappointing Rebel season, let’s take a look at the players that have left the program since T.J. Otzelberger took over. 

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (Baylor)

Per game stats: 19.9 minutes | 6.7 points | 5.3 rebounds

This is the most stunning of any UNLV transfer. Tchamwa Tchatchoua played 13 minutes per game under Marvin Menzies in 2018-19. But he wasn’t very good, as he shot below 50 percent on two pointers. But after redshirting at Baylor, he might be an important piece of a Final Four team. 

Tchamwa Tchatchoua grabs offensive rebounds, blocks shots and finishes (59% on two pointers) for one of the best teams in the country. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, not even Marvin Menzies. 

Amauri Hardy (Oregon)

Per game stats: 20.5 minutes | 4.2 points | 2.3 assists 

Hardy will get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament after leaving UNLV. But his role at Oregon was significantly reduced this season. After starting 13 of the first 14 games for Oregon, Hardy’s minutes were slashed, including playing just six minutes in the Pac-12 Championship game. 

Regardless, Hardy’s ability to penetrate was sorely missed on this UNLV team. He would have been the best point guard on the roster. 

Donnie Tillman (New Mexico State)

Per game stats: 24.9 minutes | 11.6 points | 5.6 rebounds

Tillman was one of New Mexico State’s most important (and efficient) players. Tillman has played four years of college basketball at three different schools. The talent has never been the issue. But he and the Aggies came up one win short of going to the NCAA Tournament. 

Trey Woodbury (Utah Valley)

Per game stats: 32.1 minutes | 15.6 points | 3.8 assists

Woodbury struggled in his first season at Utah Valley, but he flourished in a high usage role this year. He drilled 36.5 percent of his threes and 53.9 percent of his two pointers. Utah Valley wasn’t very good this season (211 in Ken Pom) but Woodbury proved to be a capable shooter. 

Jonah Antonio (Wake Forest)

Per game stats: 19.6 minutes | 6.4 points | 40 percent three point shooter

Antonio and Woodbury profile as similar players. As Woodbury went down in level and took on a bigger role, Antonio went up a level and excelled as a shooter in the ACC. He took 4.5 threes per game and hit 40 percent (after hitting just 31.5 percent at UNLV). Wake Forest was just 6-16, so Antonio’s shooting didn’t spur them to victory. 

Ben Coupet (Little Rock)

Per game stats: 31.9 minutes | 10.3 points | 3.6 rebounds

Outside of Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Coupet is the most surprising success story on the list. Coupet got a surprising amount of playing time as a freshman at UNLV. He played 74 minutes in the first 7 games, then just 80 minutes over the next two seasons combined. He was lost on defense and offense every time he checked in. 

But at Little Rock he’s become an important player. And he’s hit 37 percent of his threes since transferring after going 0 of 15 at UNLV. He’s a solid player, though not a difference maker. 

Tervell Beck (Kent State)

Per game stats: 26.5 minutes | 11.7 minutes | 4.8 rebounds

Once upon a time, there was legitimate Tervell Beck hype at UNLV. As a freshman he started the last 13 games and shot 64.2 percent on two pointers. He was a building block. His efficenciy dipped and his minutes plummeted as a sophomore. But now at Kent State, Beck is back to being a high efficiency player. He was top five in the MAC in effective field goal percentage and free throw rate. 

Jay Green (Northern Arizona)

Per game stats: 14.2 minutes | 3.2 points | 1.8 rebounds

Green was never really supposed to play at UNLV. He found himself playing important minutes last season, but his transfer was never considered a big loss. He had a role on Northern Arizona’s team, but wasn’t asked to do much. Maybe he would have helped with all the leadership problems UNLV had this year. 

A few of these names stand out. Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Woodbury, Coupet all improved significantly by leaving UNLV before the Otzelberger era even began. Maybe Otzelberger should have tried harder to keep them. But I don’t know that any of the three would have been true difference makers in fixing UNLV’s problems. 

Hardy was a disappointment at Oregon, but he proved in his time at UNLV that he would have helped. He would have been the team’s best perimeter defender (or second best to Caleb Grill). And with Bryce Hamilton’s struggles, Hardy probably would have been the most efficient offensive creator.

Donnie Tillman would have been an impact player, but his transfer wasn’t about talent. He was disciplined multiple times for breaking team rules at UNLV last season. 

More importantly who would win? A team made up of UNLV transfers or UNLV’s 2020-21 roster?

PGCaleb GrillAmauri Hardy
SGDavid JenkinsTrey Woodbury
SFBryce HamiltonBen Coupet
PFDevin TillisDonnie Tillman
CMbacke DiongJonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua
Bench 1Moses WoodTervell Beck
Bench 2Nick BlakeJonah Antonio
Bench 3Edoardo Del CadiaJay Green

I’ll set the line: The transfer team is favored by 2.5 points. 

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