Just when you thought the transfer season was over, Tennessee Tech went out and landed a point guard. Jeremiah Samarrippas, from Southern Methodist, has now found out that he'll be eligible immediately. Good for him. In case you missed it - Samarrippas was the player cut by new SMU coach Larry Brown in order to make room for troubled Arizona star Josiah Turner. Of course Brown didn't have the stones to tell him straight up that it was a business decision and he needed room for a 5* transfer. No, instead he simply told Samarrippas that he wasn't good enough. And then - in a move that will make you a believer in the concept of karma - Turner spurned Brown and SMU and instead decided to turn pro. Good for him.
Backstory aside, what does this mean for the Golden Eagles? The finished fourth in the Ohio Valley last season, and this year's OVC just gets tougher with the addition of Belmont.
Tennessee Tech had four players who played more than 80% of the minutes, and two of them are gone, as is Zach Bailey, another senior who played 63% of the minutes.
But it's the loss of the other Zac which makes the immediate eligibility of Samarrippas important. Zac Swansey was a two-year starter at point guard (after transferring from Georgia). And now Samarrippas will compete for those minutes.
Like Swansey, Samarrippas is excellent at setting up his teammates. He had the 2nd highest assist rate in Conference USA. Swansey had the best assist rate in the OVC. But - the down side for Swansey - is that he was also remarkably turnover prone, with a turnover rate north of 30. Samarrippas turns the ball over as well, but he keeps his rate under 28, which barely qualifies him for the "bad but not horrible" category.
What about 3-point shooting? Swansey was a solid shooter, and made 36% and 37% of his 3s in his two years at TTU. Samarrippas shot great as a freshman (39%) but struggled as a sophomore (32%). At only 5-10 he needs some help to get off clean shots. And which shooter shows up - freshman or sophomore - will go a long way in determining the success of his new team.
It seems that Tennessee Tech, at worst, gets a solid replacement for Swansey. And at best they just upgraded. Not bad for a player "not good enough" for Larry Brown.