College basketball has turned into an unstable sport.

Kentucky's national championship brought a lot of attention to the one-and-done issue.

All five of the Wildcats starters -- freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, and sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb -- are leaving Lexington early for the NBA Draft.

But that's a problem for John Calipari and a select number of elite teenage talents and programs.

The game's real national dilemma is the transfer epidemic.

During the Final Four in New Orleans, NCAA president Mark Emmert gave the coaches an alarming statistic: 40 percent of Division I men's basketball recruits will transfer by their junior year.

The 2012 end-of-year projected transfers list compiled by had grown to nearly 400 names -- including Colorado sophomores Ben Mills and Shannon Sharpe -- as of Thursday, with final exams looming from coast to coast.

"It's ridiculous," CU head coach Tad Boyle said of the transfer explosion during a recent interview with the Daily Camera. "I think there's a couple of reasons why it's happening. No. 1, it's a societal thing in that everyone wants immediate gratification. Because so many freshmen that are playing are having success, you see what Kentucky's doing, and people are like, 'Why isn't it happening for me?'

"Well, those kids are different-level kids (at Kentucky). The lack of patience is part of the problem."


CU was able to avoid a mass exodus two years ago when Jeff Bzdelik abruptly left for Wake Forest. Boyle met with Alec Burks and other team leaders during his first week on the job to make sure they remained on board to finish the rebuilding job.

The only player on the 2009-10 roster that transferred after Boyle was hired in April of 2010 was Keegan Hornbuckle. The Los Angeles-area forward said he wanted to play closer to home and ended up at UC-Santa Barbara.

One of Boyle's promising recruits, freshman forward Damiene Cain, left the team twice last season. The second departure from CU was for personal reasons and Cain was not on scholarship at the time.

Mills and Sharpe, who watched most of the Buffs' run to the NCAA Tournament from the end of the bench, are still weighing their options.

Even though scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis, Boyle said his players will make the decision whether to transfer to a program where more minutes might be available or to stay at CU to exhaust their eligibility.

"My philosophy is that if a kid is ever going to leave the University of Colorado it's going to be on his terms," Boyle said. "There are coaches who run kids off and don't renew their scholarships for various reasons. If a young man is doing what we expect of him in the classroom, handling himself right in the community, and he's not playing and wants to continue his education here, it's our job to hold up our end of the bargain and do that. That's their choice."

Larry Brown, Boyle's former coach at Kansas, has reportedly told four of the SMU players he inherited that they are not good enough to play for him.

And the transfer list grows on.

Many players are in flux as a result of the 43 head coaching changes around the country. Even traditional powers from UCLA to UConn have been hurt by players leaving in recent years.

"The second part of the problem is that sometimes coaches might over-promise and then they can't deliver. I don't know that for a fact, but I think that goes on in certain programs," Boyle said. "Another part is I think it's just a numbers game. Men's basketball gets 13 scholarships and five guys can be on the court. Most coaches have a rotation of anywhere from six to nine. That means you have at least No. 10, No. 11, No. 12 and No. 13, four kids minimum, that aren't playing. They came to play. And so those kids end up transferring and finding a place where they can play.

"Some kids transfer up, most of them transfer down. There's a lot of different reasons for the transferring. And some of them are legitimate, if kids get homesick or a family member gets sick or something personal."

The Buffs have six freshmen set to arrive on campus next month as part of a top-25 recruiting class.

Boyle has to continue to be better than the national attrition average. To maintain the consistency the Buffs have enjoyed during back-to-back 24-win seasons, he can't afford to have two or three of these prospects transfer in the next year or two.

That's why he says nothing has been promised to Xavier Johnson or Josh Scott, other than an opportunity to earn playing time and a degree at CU.

"What we try to do on the front end is to say, 'Listen, things are not always going to be easy and you're going to face adversity,'" Boyle said. "It might be playing time or an academic adversity or a personal situation. Things are going to come up in your life when you're a college basketball player at this level that aren't easy to deal with, and you've got to be able to fight through that."

Over the last five seasons, CU's sub-par Academic Progress Rate (APR) -- the NCAA's calculation of eligibility and retention in a program -- has been dramatically improved thanks to the efforts of Bzdelik and Boyle.

The data from the last four-year cycle (2006-07 to 2009-10) saw the CU men's basketball score jump from three years below 900 up to 926 in the report released last May. The program had a perfect score of 1,000 for the 2009-10 academic year.

Stars of the 2010-11 team like Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson and Marcus Relphorde all graduated last May. Burks left after his sophomore season for the NBA in good academic standing after finishing the spring semester.

Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault, Trey Eckloff and Nate Tomlinson are all expected to graduate next week or after finishing up class work this summer.

CU's stability in terms of a lack of transfers has also helped the program's APR.

That's a trend Boyle needs to continue to make sure the Buffs avoid some painful March madness in the future.

The NCAA approved rules in October requiring a school have a two-year average APR score of 930 or a four-year average of 900 in order to qualify for the 2013 postseason tournament.

"I say to every recruit and their family, 'The last thing we want is for you to come to the University of Colorado and not finish your career here,'" Boyle said. "Because that's not good for the player and their family, and that's not good for us."