All the Transfers: Does Kelly Graves feel SCORNED?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 29 Comments

I was thinking about all the transfers out of the women’s basketball program the other day, and I could not help but notice a change of thinking on the part of Coach Kelly Graves. His actions in recruiting lately do not correspond with what he has told us in press conferences! I was wondering if you noticed it too, and what you had to make of it.

After all — pondering Oregon Sports and discussing it in civility is what we are about here at FishDuck, so let’s dive in…

I recall Graves announcing that giving so many players extended minutes this last season hurt the continuity of the team, and thus this next year he only needed 10 women on scholarship. Yet after the recent JUCO transfer announcement, the press release states that he is looking for one more to make it 12 on scholarship going into next season. This seems like a pretty rapid pivot in recruiting strategy and player-rotation tactics. Might there be more than that in the background?

Is Coach Kelly feeling scorned, and consequently altered a bit of his coaching philosophy?

Gary Breedlove

Losing so many had to hurt initially…

Pivoting is not a bad thing, as we all mature in our careers as we learn more and experience life. Goodness knows that the challenge of recruiting so many of the nation’s best players and yet keeping them all happy is not something he experienced at Gonzaga, and is a new event at Oregon in women’s basketball. Adding to that, last season and post-season did not turn out as any of us could have anticipated.

To keep players engaged (and to prevent them from transferring at the end of the season) he played many probably longer than he should have, and hence his admission of it. Yet at the end of the season, a raft of Ducks swam away from the pond anyway. Thus his good intentions were not rewarded, and in the end actually hurt the progression of the team. That had to smart…

Boy, as I look at the returning guards, the 5-Star point guard coming in and the transfers? Not enough playing time for all the guards, and perhaps Coach Graves no longer cares? Perhaps he has become a bit more callous, considering the way players leave so easily via the transfer portal? Could his philosophy now be what we see below?

“Recruit a bunch, find out who is best … play them, and whoever leaves at the end of the season — leaves. We are Oregon, and we will do just fine replacing whoever transfers out.”

Eugene Johnson

Jaz Shelley-not her best shooting year…

As I look at the players transferring in, and recall how many who left did not shoot that well when the Ducks needed it — I believe a case can be made that Graves improved the team over what left.

The transfer portal has changed pretty much everything, so perhaps it has also changed Coach Graves’s recruiting strategy and his plan for game-rotation of players. Thoughts?

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer    (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove 

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My sense of the “new normal” in college basketball is that the flood gates have been opened with regard to the loosened transfer rules. Altman was an early adapter before they loosened things up, and I think he’ll continue to reel in transfers. As to Graves, I think he’s just having to adjust to this new environment. I think most high school “stars” enter into their college careers with unrealistic expectations about how well they’ll play against the improved competition at the college level. Once they see that there are players ahead of them with eligibility remaining (e.g., Dugalic), many look to move to a program where they can get more minutes. I don’t think Graves will have any major problems adjusting–provided that he snags the right kind of transfers.


Hi Charles,
I’ll try to be brief?
I hope Coach Graves pulls a Hoosier Coach Norman Dale and points to the court and says my team is out there.
Wish nothing but the best for the Ladies who decided to transfer, but I felt before they made their announcements, they weren’t going to be big time contributors. Just my opinion!
As we get a healthy and,very active Sedona, a fully healed Te-Hina, Maddie, Nyara over bad ankle sprains, coupled with the rest of last year’s young team and the new recruits coming in, I say watch out!
The only caviot to saying that is we have to have a couple of players step up as true leaders, that pull the complete team together!
I for one am looking forward to seeing the Lady Ducks become an instant contender for the Pac-12 Championship.
One quick aside, we definitely don’t want to sleep on any of the other teams, but especially those Lady Beavers they have reloaded.


Coming soon; Coaches Transfer Portal.

Aka: Musical chairs for adults

But some coaches must must wish it was so. A coaches TP is funny to think about.


Transfer is here to stay. The 2 guards, Chavez and Shelly, who transferred out seemed to play with little enthusiasm. Only one of the five star recruits was a consistent outside ,scoring threat. Hopefully Scherr and Parish will develop, and at least one of the transfers in will be a consistent outside scoring threat. That will open up the post area for Prince, Sabally, Watson and Kyel. If that happens Ducks could be a top team in the Pac 12 and in the nation.

Jon Sousa

“Recruit a bunch, find out who is best … play them, and whoever leaves at the end of the season — leaves. We are Oregon, and we will do just fine replacing whoever transfers out.”

This is how it is working in the upper echelons of football. Alabama recruits a ton of 4 and 5*s. They also get top notch 3*s. The ones who rise to the top, play; many of the ones who don’t, leave.

That’s how Kelly Graves has to adapt his mentality. They have to coach everyone the best they can… and then play the best in a rotation that gives the best players the best opportunity to jell as a team. The rest have to work harder to develop their skills or jump over the fence to where the grass looks greener.

Jon Sousa

I was gone this last week. I drove 3,800 miles to give the son of a friend a ride from Ciudad Juarez to Albany, Oregon. I did it from Monday thru Friday. I’m still exhausted.


I’m a band wagon wbb fan. I got most interested during the Sabrina years. So I don’t know much about coach Graves,
but it seems that if you don’t adjust to the times, you get passed by.

Amateur athletics is now a thing of the past, at least at the D1 college level.
We are about to pay some players for their image, etc.
There is some pro-level for about every sport, so players have to be concerned about playing time and development.

I also think some kids get pressure from parents. Think of all the $$ and time investment it takes for a kid to get good enough to play their sport, it’s a year round effort. Parents may want more return for all that investment.

Players have demanded $$, more freedom to transfer, it follows they want playing time.
If kids want to be treated like professionals, coaches should be allowed to be more mercenary in their approach to recruiting also.

Santa Rosa Duck

The new transfer rules are diluting a teams ability to put together a team with experience together for 3-4 years. One and done basketball has just about lost me as a fan. Everything is changing and I wonder if in five years I will still be a fan of some of these teams.

David Marsh

Aboslutely brutal year for the Oregon Women’s Team… and not entirely because of Covid. Our expectations as fans were high because of all the young five-star talent but young talent isn’t the same veteran talent no matter how you want to spin it. Finding replacements for Sabrina Ionescu, Ruth Hebard, and Satou Sabbaly wasn’t going to happen this year (or in Sabrina’s case.. ever?). Keep in mind those three were all drafted to the WNBA in the TOP 9!

It was going to be a rough year this year with those losses, perhaps compounded because last year’s team had an incredibly good shot at winning a National Championship.

Now put Covid on top of those losses with the regular injuries… now you have a year that was really down from a fan perspective. The transfer outs had to hurt, especially with a chunk of the coaching staff leaving as well. If the coaching staff had stayed fully intact we may not have seen as many transfers which means Kelly may have had the squad he wanted.

However… circumstances changed and he had to change as well. I am sure behind closed doors he is feeling scorned but he won’t admit it in public. He just needs to make adjustments and rebuild his team. Finding a path forward in a post Sabrina Oregon was going to be tough no matter what.

Jon Sousa

And she just got her first in the pros.


I understand the desire to transfer, as no one wants to sit on the bench for four years. But. How many good players have just taken a little longer than they’d thought to develop, be it in basketball, baseball/softball, or football or any sport and then become good-to-great players?

Graves may well have had an initial reaction of feeling scorned and thinking, “Fine. I’ll just go with 10 players.” But then, due to the very portal that took away some Ducks, he’s found other players who could add significantly to the team and so chose to take them.

Jon Sousa

Closer to home, Dana Altman is working it to perfection.


For one thing, I know it is safe for me, as a woman, to comment here, due to both the rules and the fact that the others who post are the type to gladly follow such rules. The same can not be said for other sports message boards. I hope other women who come here to read will feel free to comment, knowing that what I just said is true.


Looks as if the same thing is happening with the softball team. What’s up?

Annie posted a link to an ESPN article in which football coaches were complaining “tampering” was becoming rampant. It is worth a read.

So much of what I grew up adhering to regarding loyalty, honoring commitment, working hard to advance appears pass’e in today’s amateur team sports. Athletes seem loyal to only their own goals and willing to move on if those personal motives don’t mesh with their team’s.

I’m sure coaches blow lots of “smoke” during recruiting. Unreal expectations are created. Such an odd time all around.

David Marsh wrote a fine piece about the transfer policy now in place. He postulated the policy was overall a good thing. David had a valid point. However, the evidence is mounting, in my opinion, suggesting things are getting out of hand.

Graves has to pivot his approach to building a team, what choice does he have?

David Marsh

Football has had a different set of rules than other sports. In truth I don’t know all the differences off the top of my head but football has been far more restrictive than other sports, in particular the non-revenue ones.

I am working on another piece about the transfer portal and where Oregon football sits in it. The transfer portal and the freedoms are all really new to everyone and the portal is in itself very accessible. In another year or two things are either going to have to change rules wise to accomidate the portal or players are going to stop entering into it because spots are going to disappear.


The transfer portal is here to stay. And it should stay. Coaches/recruiters build kids up during the wooing stage, playing right to the recruits’ ego and the promise of becoming a star in college, and maybe beyond, especially if your a 5-star. But things don’t always work out.

And why should an athlete be required by some NCAA rule to stick around when his or her prospects don’t measure up to expectations and they are relegated to the bench, with dwindling opportunity, while somebody else’s career is flourishing. An athlete’s desire to transfer may also be due to an inability to connect with the coaches or there may be other issues not related at all to their sport.

Look at football…Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Justin Fields and Joe Burrow, all transferred from other colleges. Mayfield, Murray and Burrow won the Heisman. Burrow rode the pine at Ohio State for three years before transferring to LSU, where in two years he went from bench warmer to the number one pick in the NFL draft. I think transferring worked out well for them. Every athlete should have the option to leave, for whatever reason.

Someone said in a previous thread, regarding the portal: “It’s all about playing time.”

In the case of Syracuse’s Quincy Geurrier transferring to Oregon, it certainly wasn’t about playing time. But he was unhappy about something, something serious enough to move 3,000 miles to the west coast. And he should have that right.

But in the majority of cases I would agree……it comes down to playing time.

David Marsh

I’m in complete agreement that the transfer portal is a good thing for players and player rights.

We are in the early stages right now and because it’s new it is being used by anyone who wants to test the waters.

I do think things will calm down in the future.