Arizona State basketball head coach Herb Sendek called it the "circle of life." Calaen Robinson, Egor Koulechov and Brandan Kearney have all announced that they will transfer out of the Arizona State basketball program. The reasoning for each player may be different but one thing is for certain, it's part of the growing culture of college basketball.
"Often times, not always, it makes great sense for someone to transfer. You look at the three guys who are leaving our program in the Pac-12 they combined to average less than one point a game," Sendek said. "So I mean when guys don't play often times they look at the situation and say ‘where can I go to have a better opportunity?' and don't we all do that same thing?"
Kearney played in 19 games for the Sun Devils after transferring in from Michigan State averaging just 6.5 minutes and 1.2 points per game. Robinson, a local product out of Corona Del Sol High School played in 20 games averaging 6.2 minutes and 1.6 points per game.
"We've talked about it for years, what we basically have at some level here is free agency in college athletics," Sendek said. "We've lost guys but we've also been the benefactor."
Sendek cited the example that if Kenny Martin and Evan Gordon hadn't transferred out of the program then Shaquielle McKissic and Jermaine Marshall who were a huge part of the Sun Devils' success this past season wouldn't have been allowed to transfer in. He also explained how college basketball has changed. Sendek said that when he first began his coaching career, it was looked upon as the player not being good enough for the program and then the roles flipped and something had to be wrong with the program internally.
Nowadays Sendek described it as players and coaches continuously communicating about their roles on the team and if a certain player wants an opportunity where he may be able to succeed more elsewhere, the coaches will provide that chance.
"Guys can transfer in and still really improve so even if a guy changes schools there can still be tremendous improvement if they find a good fit," Sendek said.
The biggest loss for the Sun Devils was Egor Koulechov who is headed to Rice to be with Scott Pera, the coach that originally recruited him to Arizona State. The Russian native averaged 3.7 points per game and averaged 14 minutes of playing time in 27 total games. Koulechov was an x-factor for the Sun Devils at times and brought a lot of physicality to the court. He played a mix of the three and four spots for Arizona State this past season.
"I think Egor is looking for a different role," Sendek said. "It would be silly to be frustrated over something you can't control and in most cases is a pretty good thing."
The evolution of transfers in college basketball has changed the recruiting game as well according to Sendek who now says the Arizona State basketball program just "never stops recruiting." He noted that the recruiting period used to wrap up in the fall but with so many transfers a new recruiting window has now opened up in the spring as well.
Pending Shaquielle McKissic's eligibility which is still to be decided by the NCAA, the Sun Devils could have two or three spots left for scholarship players which Sendek says the team is looking to fill with more depth and presence down low in the paint.