COLUMBIA — Next season's Missouri men's basketball team will look a bit like this season's Iowa State team.
Four of Iowa State's players, including two starters, transferred from other schools last season. Because of NCAA rules, all of those players had to sit the season out in coach Fred Hoiberg's first season.
Sat out 2010-11, Eligible for 2011-12
Chris Allen (senior, Michigan State)
Chris Babb (junior, Penn State)
Anthony Booker (junior, Southern Illinois)
Royce White (sophomore, Minnesota)
Sitting out 2011-12, will be eligible in 2012-13
Will Clyburn (senior, Utah)
Korie Lucious (senior, Michigan State)
Sitting out 2011-12, will be eligible 2012-13
Keion Bell (senior, Pepperdine)
Earnest Ross (junior, Auburn)
Danny Feldmann (sophomore, Columbia University)
Jabari Brown (sophomore, Oregon - will only be eligible in second-half of season)
Missouri coach Frank Haith is building his program a similar way. In his first season at Missouri, Haith has four transfers that can practice with the team but not play. They will be eligible to play next season, after Haith loses all of his seniors.
The experiment has worked out well so far for Hoiberg. The Cyclones, which haven't had a winning season in the Big 12 since 2005, are in fourth place in the Big 12 and in a position to make the NCAA tournament. Iowa State's top two scorers are both transfers. Royce White transferred from Minnesota, and Chris Allen came from Michigan State.
"I think the biggest thing with these four guys that were sitting out last year was that they were able to build very valuable chemistry by playing on the scout team together," Hoiberg said.
Missouri's four transfers — Keion Bell (from Pepperdine), Earnest Ross (Auburn), Danny Feldmann (Columbia University) and Jabari Brown (Oregon) — play together on the Missouri scout team this season. Haith said the practices between the current players and the scout team get very competitive, and that the games go both ways.
"I think it's going to help them (to sit out this season), definitely," senior Ricardo Ratliffe said about the transfers. "They're playing against us as Big 12 players. They're learning the plays. They can help the freshman that are coming in next year."
Off the court, the transfers also get a chance to build chemistry with each other.
NCAA rules dictate that transfers cannot travel with the team to road games. Hoiberg's players used that extra time to get to learn about each other, something that he thinks has contributed to their success this season.
"They would stay back and work out together and watch the games together and just start building those relationships," Hoiberg said. "I think it was appealing when those guys were trying to decide where to go to school that they'd be sitting out with other players."
Iowa State and Missouri will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mizzou Arena. Missouri won the first meeting between the two schools 76-69 on Jan. 11 in Ames, Iowa. The Tigers will clinch the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament with a win.
"(Hoiberg has) done a tremendous job with that," Haith said about Iowa State. "Getting those guys to buy in, it's a process. It takes time and they're now playing probably their best basketball right now."