Jeff Hunter
USU athletic director John Hartwell, right, explains the tradition of "The Scotsman" to new Aggie basketball coach Craig Smith at the beginning of Tuesday's press conference in Logan.

In my first interview with new Utah State basketball coach Craig Smith, I asked him about the high number of transfers in college basketball nowadays, and whether it’s a worry.

I brought up David Collette, a former Aggie who transferred to Utah, helping that team to the championship game of the NIT last week. The Aggies would have been a different team, and possibly Tim Duryea would still be the coach, if Collette had stayed.

Smith said over 800 student-athletes transferred last year. With 351 Div. I schools, that’s more than two per school. Is it a major worry for coaches?

“You know, I just think it’s part of the territory now,” Smith said. “It is what it is. You have to operate your program the way you believe is best, and if that’s what those guys want be part of and invested in and treat people right and it’s a great style of play, it’s going to be great for them. And if they think the grass is going to be greener on other side of the bush, then that’s their decision.”

An NCAA study showed 40 percent of players who enter a Div. I college leave by the end of their sophomore year.

But Smith doesn’t put all the blame on the players.

“I think a lot goes to recruiting. Players leave for their reasons, but I think some blame is on the coaches, too. I think sometimes they don’t do their due diligence in recruiting the type of players that will have success with them, and the type of people. So I don’t worry about it; it’s just part of the landscape.”

He concluded, “If you worried about that, and are coaching because of that, then I think you may be worried about the wrong thing.”