YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In 2018, the NCAA created the transfer portal, an online system to help manage the transfer of student-athletes between colleges. Last year, they adopted new regulations that would allow players to transfer once without the penalty of sitting out an entire year. That decision has reshaped the landscape of college basketball and recruiting.

Youngstown State has taken full advantage…

“I think there’s a lot of coaches and a lot of fans that are frustrated by the portal,” said YSU head coach Jerrod Calhoun. “For us this year, we couldn’t have done any better.”

The transfer portal is a double-edged sword, and YSU has certainly lost players to bigger schools. But they have gained more than they’ve lost. Next year’s roster will have at least seven players that have transferred into the program, including Malek Green from Canisius and Adrian Nelson from Northern Kentucky, two players that YSU played against just last season.

“You’re going to lose some guys from year to year,” Calhoun said. “You’re seeing, on average, I think it’s almost five players from every team in the country or four, whatever the numbers are. You just have to adapt to it. I don’t know if we know the answer fully, whether it’s good or bad. I happen to think that this year for us, for our program for this year, I think it was really good.”

The YSU women’s program has enjoyed the same success. They had five transfer players on the roster last year, including their leading scorer and rebounder Lilly Ritz.

“We’re in the early stages of this new era of college basketball. This is all very new to the coaches, to the players, to the fans,” Calhoun said. “I think we’re all changing, we’re all adapting, we’re all learning. That’s the most important thing, you’re trying to learn from year to year. But certainly on paper, certainly there’s a buzz about our recruiting class. There’s a buzz about our women’s recruiting class. There’s a buzz about the returning players on both teams. It’s a good time to be a Penguin.”