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Shannon Evans' transfer the unfortunate, tiring "new normal" for Buffalo Men's Basketball

Let's assume Shannon Evans is gone. Right now, in the big picture, I don't care much either way. He's a young guy trying to figure out the best way to pursue his dreams. This is the second time he's done this with UB, and if he comes back, I'll cheer for him, and if he doesn't, I won't.

In the meantime I'd like it to be finalized so I can spend more time talking Track and Field, a team having just as historic a year as Men's Basketball just finished. But before that, let's look at the turnover on UB's roster the last few years, because even though we expected some fallout from Bobby Hurley's departure, it still feels more significant on this side.

First, I'll present a table, an expanded version of a format I use frequently on this site. As always, please don't get hung up on specific position assignments; if there's something that looks off, I know, I just wanted the table to work better.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
PG Jarod Oldham Shannon Evans Lamonte Bearden
SG Josh Freelove, Corey Raley-Ross Jarryn Skeete Torian Graham Christian Pino, Mory Diane, Deyshonee Much
SF Auraum Nuiriankh Will Regan Rodell Wigginton Maurice O'Field, Bobby Frasco Nate Navigato*
PF Javon McCrea Xavier Ford, Raphell Thomas-Edwards Justin Moss, Andre McPhail David Kadiri Nick Perkins
C Cameron Downing Raheem Johnson, Jamir Hanner Ikenna Smart

Bold: Player finished his career with UB - Strikethrough: Player did not finish his career with UB - Italics: Player did not begin his career with UB - Regular: Player began his career and is still with UB

I bring this up because I had a thought that ultimately proved too big for Twitter: With Evans out, UB is in position that at best, over a four year span, only four players will leave this program having entered as freshmen and being honored on Senior Night. Xavier Ford, Jarryn Skeete, Lamonte Bearden, and Mory Diane. That's at best.


In preview pieces for the 2014-15 season, I applauded Hurley's work to build the roster quickly to something he wanted. He was helped by a small final recruiting class from Reggie Witherspoon and a few transfers/departures from bit players. Just 15 months after taking over, only three players on the roster had amassed significant playing time under Witherspoon.

Similarly, despite the disappointment of the 2014 season-ending loss to Eastern Michigan, it was the addition of Josh Freelove and Hurley keeping Evans on board that helped the team succeed from 2012-13.

For the past two seasons, high roster turnover and immediate-impact transfers were what the program needed. It's a solid strategy for any coach looking to win early in his tenure, and looking at the current roster, Nate Oats' move to bring in PF David Kadiri is much of the same. And it's entirely likely we see another transfer added before next season.

It's also tiring. In the last three seasons, 24 different players have worn a Bulls uniform. We're already adding four more to that list next year, with room for two more. We're in a period right now where it's rarer for a player to be in Amherst for four full years than to come here from somewhere else or to bounce early. That will be true for the next three seasons, minimum. For what it's worth, Oats has also offered some unsigned high school seniors, notably Muskegon-area Joviair Kennedy, recently.

Right now, you could make a nearly full 2015-16 team of players who started with UB: Skeete, McPhail, RTE, Evans, Weir, Bearden, Diane, Much, Frasco, Smart, Perkins, Navigato*, but only five of those are still with the Bulls.

It's no secret that UB's gotten a lot of attention for Bobby Hurley and his style, and a lot of newer fans haven't developed a longterm connection with the program that can weather serious turnover like this. With even more transfers - certainly in, perhaps out - on the horizon, I find myself fatigued and hoping for a longer period of stability that we've gotten from anyone - save Skeete, Regan, and Ford - lately.

Go Bulls.