The League: Transfer of power

LSU center Justin Hamilton (41) gets tangled with Virginia forward Mike Scott (23) and guard Sammy Zeglinski (13) while going after a rebound late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Baton Rouge, La. Virginia won 57-52. (The Associated Press)

Published: Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 9:04 p.m.

Transfers used to come with a stigma attached to them.

Nowadays, it's just part of Division I basketball. Players may not be happy with playing time or feel they are a right fit in a certain system. A coach that recruited them may have been fired or left for another job.

In the Southeastern Conference, a pair of transfers have made big impacts on their respective teams. Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie, formerly of Texas-El Paso, is in the early running for conference player of the year. And LSU center Justin Hamilton, formerly of Iowa State, has led the Tigers' resurgence after two subpar seasons.

The 6-foot-11 Moultrie has small forward skills inside a power forward's body. Moultrie entered the week ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring (16.5 ppg) and first in rebounding (10.9 rpg).

“He brings a consistent rebounder for us,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “He's gonna go get you about 10 every night. That's a great tool on your side, there.

“Offensively, he continues to get better for us. He gives us another guy who can put a little pressure around that rim.”

Auburn coach Tony Barbee coached Moultrie when he was at UTEP. Moultrie underwent a growth spurt from 6-6 to 6-10 between his sophomore and senior season in high school.

“Out of high school he was always a versatile 6-10, 6-11 player who could play inside and out,” Barbee said. “Those type of players, especially along the baseline, are difficult to guard at our level, and then they translate into terrific NBA players as well.”

The 7-foot Hamilton has given LSU a much-needed scoring threat in the post. Hamilton is averaging 13.3 points per game and is 10th in the SEC in rebounding (7.5 rpg).

“He's obviously leading us in field percentage, he's leading us in scoring and rebounding and all of those things,” LSU coach Trent Johnson said. “But probably his biggest impact is his leadership on and off the floor and his ability of having an understanding of what we are doing.”

Under NCAA Division I transfer rules, players must sit out two semesters before resuming play on the court. Both players used the year off wisely to improve their respective games. Stansbury said Moultrie became a more well-rounded offensive player during his bye year.

“He had a great attitude and he worked,” Stansbury said. “I think that's the biggest improvement in his game is offensively he's gotten so much better in all those areas, as a free-throw shooter, an ability to just score the basketball. His engine always ran, and I thought he could always rebound the basketball, but I think the biggest improvement is on the offensive side of the basketball because he works at it every day.”

Johnson said that Hamilton dealt with the transition from Utah to LSU during the off year and kept his focus on the court.

“It was painful for him and it was painful for us, because we needed to have him on the floor,” Johnson said. “But he works. One of the things about him during the process is he worked on his game continuously. He was always in the gym and he was always practicing hard and trying to look forward to his opportunity when it came.”

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