A lot of recency bias here. Joe Kleine was a pretty good transfer back in the day; Olympic gold medalist, long pro career. If he wants to call it best transfers of the portal era, I could see that.
I saw where Coach Z replied to a thread of this on Twitter and said “Larry Bird”! Good point.
Bird almost doesn’t count. He was homesick and never went through an IU practice. Dropped out, went home, then enrolled at ISU the next year. As I recall, he got a job on a trash truck in the interim, because he had a wife and daughter to support.
Hank Gathers! What a great player and what a tragedy to die so young. I remember that great NCAA tournament game against Loyola Marymount and Hank. I believe that was the year before we went to the final four. I remember both teams scored over 100 points, but we won pretty handily. I think Hank had a 20-20 double double against us, or at least close to it.
Hank should be #1. Oscar had a great season, especially rebounding. But Hank was better. From what I remember, Hank was just a good a rebounder as Oscar, and a much better scorer.
And congratulations to Notae. Very deserving. He was a very, very good college player.
120-101 final. Gathers finished with 28 points and 17 boards. Something I remember after that game is that Lee Mayberry was selected for NCAA drug testing after the game and it took him two hours to produce a urine sample, he was so dehydrated. I drove to Indianapolis the next day and was there for the second round game with Louisville, and it looked like that game had taken a lot out of us,
Something else I remember about that game: Prior to that, Nolan had never won an NCAA Tournament game at Tulsa or Arkansas, and there were people openly questioning if he would ever win one. So with that out of the way, he went on to win quite a few.
Gathers was worth the price of admission. Incredible talent.
A lot of people don’t remember that Gathers and Kimble played at Barnhill while they were at USC, in January 1986 during their freshman season. Kimble scored 24 points, Hank had only 2. USC won the game, breaking a long non-conference win streak at Barnhill. We’ve still never beaten the Broomheads in three tries. They transferred to LMU after SC fired the coaches who recruited them. George Raveling was the replacement, gave them and another freshman a deadline to say whether they were staying; when they didn’t respond, he pulled their scholarships.