Blum: Mizzou basketball is riding the transfer portal carousel — the new normal
Supply won't meet demand. It's cruel and reasonable at the same time.
There isn't a way around it now: The NCAA transfer portal as it pertains to Division I men's basketball players is bursting at the seams.
It's overloaded, overwhelmed and frankly, soon to be overworked.
Per multiple online reports, more than 1,200 men's basketball players are looking to leave their current Division I program. And that number should rise by the end of the week now that the pandemic-backdropped season has concluded.
There are only 357 Division I teams. Only 228 more student-athletes need to inquire about a new hardcourt destination for there to be an average of four players per school.
Each D-I team is allowed 13 scholarship spots annually.
We're already guaranteed to see a tremendous amount of roster turnover in the 2021-22 season, a storyline that could dominate the game like the pandemic did this past year.
There might not be a high-level team with as much turnover as Missouri. At best, three players from the 2020-21 roster will return to Columbia: Kobe Brown, Javon Pickett and Jordan Wilmore.
Four Tigers in their final year of normal eligibility decided to leave the college ranks instead of return for an extra season, and five MU players entered the transfer portal.
After the program returned 88% of its scoring and 82% of minutes played from 2018-19 to 2019-20, those numbers plummet for Cuonzo Martin's fifth season at Missouri.
Martin is tasked with replacing at least 79.6% of his scoring from this year's NCAA Tournament team, 78.3% of minutes played and 72.8% of rebounding.
There remain two open scholarship spots, and a variety of players could join the fold. Team chemistry will come into question as many on the new-look roster have yet to play together — look at Kentucky this year for evidence of how that could work.
Plus, it's likely that only two members of the 2020-21 Missouri squad (Brown and Pickett) will have played more than 30 minutes in the Southeastern Conference.
Green Bay transfer guard Amari Davis will join the Tigers with three years of eligibility remaining despite playing two seasons for Green Bay, as a result of NCAA relief rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In his time with the Phoenix, Davis averaged 16.5 points, including 17.2 per game last season, earning him second-team all-Horizon League honors.
Davis committed to Green Bay when it was coached by Linc Darner, former Purdue teammate of current Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin.
Then there's Kansas State transfer guard DaJuan Gordon, also with three years of eligibility remaining.
The 6-foot-4 Gordon started 22 of Kansas State's 25 games this past season and was third on the team in minutes played (28.5 per game). Gordon averaged 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season.
One of the biggest boxes on Missouri's transfer portal wish list was checked off Saturday with Ball State transfer point guard Jarron "Boogie" Coleman, who likewise could be a Tiger the next three years.
After the transfer of Xavier Pinson and graduation of Dru Smith, Missouri needed a primary point guard and ball-handler. Coleman could fill both those voids.
In 2019-20, Coleman earned Mid-American Conference freshman of the year honors. He played in all 31 of the Cardinals' games and made 25 starts.
As a sophomore, Coleman missed the first 10 games of the year while recovering from foot surgery. He played in 13 games, starting 10, while averaging 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
A welcomed statistic for Tiger fans: Coleman's 42.5% 3-point shooting mark.
Martin has had success in Columbia bringing in mid-major transfers (Kassius Robertson and Dru Smith) and helping develop them into elite college talent.
Missouri will surely look to use one of the final two scholarship spots on a SEC-ready big man. The two players on next year's team that are 6-foot-8 or taller are Wilmore and DeSmet signee Yaya Keita, who is coming off a torn ACL.
A resume filled with high-level experience would be a key addition to that group.
Missouri's offseason roster overhaul was expected — at least to some extent — and not purely an indictment of Martin's coaching tenure.
Entering the portal has become the trendy thing to do for any player in an adverse situation in college basketball. The pressures of a COVID-filled season, combined with the expected passage of a one-time free transfer anywhere from the NCAA in the coming weeks, widens the possibilities.
Pinson will have that opportunity because of the dynamic skills he showed in Columbia. He has narrowed his choices to a top four of Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas and Nebraska.
How well Missouri lands this transfer plane won't be immediately clear.
A return to the NCAA Tournament for the Tigers over the next two seasons isn't out of the question, nor are years hovering around .500.
More certain: The transfer portal is now indefatigably part of the sport.
Contact Eric Blum at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.
Follow Mizzou basketball with the Tribune’s Tiger Extra newsletter. Sign up at columbiatribune.com/tigerextra for stories, galleries and podcasts in your inbox every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.