Every kid is allowed to transfer, and frankly the rule that makes transfers sit out a year is helpful in several respects beyond its intended purpose, which is preventing full scale free agency in college basketball. The year off helps kids learn how much they love basketball, watching others slows down the game and the hiatus helps players improve their bodies and games. But, as my colleague Gary Parrish has expressed, that doesn't mean this was a good decision for Reinhardt.
Reinhardt was second on the Rebels in shots and minutes, but because he says he wants to be a point guard, he is out.
Reinhardt improved greatly during his year under Dave Rice, but having called eight UNLV games this year, I can tell you he's not a point guard. Sitting out a year will not change this fact significantly. Instead of using the equity he earned at UNLV to remain on the floor for the Rebels, he'll likely end up at a school that will lie to him and tell him he can be a point. Then while he's sitting, the school will recruit another point guard and Reinhardt will end up as the same shooting guard who can pass, instead of a point guard who can score.
It is not that Reinhardt cannot play, he can. In fact despite his defensive inadequacies due to laziness and poor lateral athleticism, despite his inability to handle the point when pressured, despite putrid shot selection much of the season, his ability to score in big spots, his off the point passing and his shooting was vital for UNLV and will be for his next team. But instead of working to improve the parts of the game he struggled with, Reinhardt is running from the problem.
Reinhardt comes from famed Mater Dei High School in Southern California, which has produced more championships than any other school in the state under legendary coach Gary McKnight. Yet like so many other ex-MD stars, Reinhardt is transferring. Though Mater Dei players going back to LeRon Ellis (Kentucky to Syracuse) have transferred, recently this has become a ridiculous trend. Travis and David Wear (North Carolina to UCLA), Tyler Lamb (UCLA to Long Beach State), Max Hooper (Harvard to St. John's) and now Reinhardt have all left their their first school. For those recruiting Mater Dei players, the message has become 'Why not just come in second place for an MD kid and get him on the bounce back?'
Then there is Gary Franklin, the ex-Mater Dei player Reinhardt should have taken a long look at before he made this decision.
The parallels are stunning. Like Reinhardt, Franklin thought he was a point. He went to Cal, started 11 of his first 13 games as a freshman and led the team in shots. Franklin actually has nerve damage in his left arm from a childhood injury, so he physically has trouble going left, yet he left Cal for Baylor 13 games into a season in which he was their third leading scorer. Check out his stats since: four points a game, a little more than one assist per game in 18 minutes (with three starts) for a team that missed the NCAA tournament. This could be your life, Katin Reinhardt. Franklin made a knee-jerk decision and should have either stayed in the Pac-12 where he could develop as a two-guard or transferred to the WCC level where he probably belongs if he wants to play the point.
So that brings us back to Reinhardt who despite his inability to be a point, played huge minutes and had a rare green light to shoot as a true freshman. But since his apparent goal is be a two-and-done, and he doesn't think that happens as two-guard, he moves on. His best choices close to home are a rebuilding USC (where he once was committed) or a WCC or Big West school. To have even a remote chance at success, he needs to drop 10 pounds, become a dead-eye shooter and not just a high-volume guy. And frankly, I believe he needs to forget about being a point guard at the Pac-12 level. He can be a capable No. 2 ball handler if he improves his foot speed, ball handling and decision-making. Hopefully his year off will help Reinhardt, and his parents or whoever is in his ear helping to push this decision, realize what he is and what he's not.