Look, it’s no real secret that I am not the biggest fan of the transfer portal, and a player like Malik Dia is a good place to explain this (because player empowerment, but really, there’s a downside here.)
Dia was a local player from nearby Ensworth, came in as a 6’9”, 240-pound freshman who shot 35.3 percent from three in his limited playing time, which included dropping 14 points on 4-of-5 from three against Kentucky in January when he played a season-high 21 minutes. A decade ago, we would have seen the upside and said “hey, come back and see us in a couple of years.”
These days, though, the necessity of waiting around for a player like Dia to develop is gone. If you want to see how he develops, well, you’ll have to watch Belmont, where he transferred after a year at Vanderbilt. In the current iteration of college basketball, you don’t have to wait around: why do that when you can bring in a transfer who’s already developed and get him immediately eligible?
I don’t know, that might make Vanderbilt better next year. It still feels like something has been lost in the sport because of the constant player movement. As far as Dia’s grade goes, well, his freshman year was about what we expected. He was a guy who showed flashes of potential, but wasn’t there yet. It’s really too bad that he won’t be around when he gets there.