SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It is a confusing time in the world of college basketball. The transfer portal has opened up a world of opportunity, not only for a program but for its players as well.
But what coaches like Syracuse’s Quentin Hillsman might not have anticipated how the effects would be felt in many aspects of his life.
“My five-year-old asked me if I was in the transfer portal, because he didn’t understand what it was,” Hillsman said.
Syracuse had 11 players leave the program this offseason. Even with the new transfer rules, that is a lot of turnover. The mass exodus has turned some heads and Hillsman has noticed.
“The main reason I’m doing this (press conference) today is because you all are going to lose your mind if I don’t,” Hillsman told the media Tuesday.
Hillsman, who has been at the helm of the program for 15 seasons, is not worried about player movement and is not worried about how the perceived negative look it might have towards the program. When asked if he is okay, Coach Q, as he is nicknamed, pulled off his glasses and responded, “Look at me, man. Don’t I look good? I’m cleaned shaved. I’m good.
And he says the same can be said about his program.
“We’re in a good place and we’re not in a panic mode.”
“If we had a problem, I would tell you we have a problem.”
Hillsman believes there is a misconception about the portal and how it reflects your program. Things are not as simple as ‘having players in the portal means you’re doing bad’ and vice versa. He believes this is more about players being given something they have not been given before… freedom.
“I have no issues with that. Those are the rules. They can go where they want to go.”
“This world is about choices. And at the end of the day, we have very good players. We’re going to have very good players on our roster,” Hillsman says. “We’ve under-performed some years, but we’ve never not been successful. And we’re going to continue to be that way.”
In response, the program has went out and recruited transfers of their own. SU has four new players coming in from other programs – including the likes of Eboni Walker, a transfer from Arizona State.
But Q would not be the head coach that he is without a little spin. His ability to bring positivity to the program is almost unmatched. 11 players leaving the program might discourage other coaches but not Hillsman.
“Everybody wants our players. So, we must be doing something right.”