OPINION: Transfer portal brings player success

Guard Nijel Pack during the game against Iowa State on Feb. 26, 2022. Pack entered the transfer portal in March 2022, committing to Miami in April 2022. (Archive photo by Elizabeth Sandstrom | Collegian Media Group)

The question looming over everyone: is the transfer portal a good or bad thing? Generally, athletes and fans have differing opinions.

Kansas State men’s basketball has lost a majority of its roster to the transfer portal, and there are mixed reasons for players transferring. Take a look at standout player Nijel Pack, who recently committed to Miami. From his point of view, you would transfer, too.

If the coach who coached you into the player you are today — the same coach who helped you jump from 12.7 points a game in the 2020-21 season to 17.4 points a game this season — if that coach left, you would leave too. You can say that you wouldn’t, but you would.

I will never have a bad thing to say about Nijel. He brought the basketball team a lot of excitement, and he is doing the same thing that anyone does when they get a job. They are picking a job that gives them the best opportunity for success in the future. Sure, maybe he won’t score as much wherever he goes, but the opportunity to succeed is still there.

When you look at this from a fan perspective, people will say, “He gave up on this team.” Sure, it can look like that from the outside, but truth be told, college sports is a business. It’s not easy to sit and watch people you’ve known and grown with for the past two years just leave or get fired.

Another vital point about the portal being better for a player’s success is Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow wouldn’t have played at Ohio State at all while he was in college, as he would have had to compete against three very big names: Dwayne Haskins, J.T. Barrett and Tate Martell.

From a fan perspective, it might look like Burrow “ran away from competition,” but when you think about it, Burrow transferred to LSU to give himself the best opportunity for his future. Ohio State will always be a powerhouse in college football and in the Big 10, but Burrow chose to leave to go to a more competitive SEC at the time. So no, Burrow didn’t “run from competition,” he bet on himself and became a Heisman Trophy winner, national champion and first-overall pick.

The last point to make is that sometimes the school these athletes originally choose just isn’t the right fit for them. My personal example, in this case, is Mac McClung. Originally, McClung was at Georgetown for two years. He didn’t quite get the minutes he wanted but also didn’t quite fit into the system like he did after transferring to Texas Tech.

McClung’s stats went up or were the same as they were during his two years at Georgetown. When he transferred, he looked like he flowed a lot smoother and fit into the offense better, which resulted in better confidence in his game. Not to mention Texas Tech used him in the right way, raising his draft stock and it putting him in the best position to succeed.

While you might not agree with some players leaving their selected schools, there are reasons that they leave. Student-athletes know what commitment is, and none of them would shy away from a challenge because it’s “too hard.”

Cooper Deters is a staff writer for the Collegian and a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.