Flashes’ first 2021 recruit is a top forward from Indiana

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Bridget Dunn with KSU coaches on a pre-COVID 19 recruiting visit to Kent State. (Photo from her AAU team’s Twitter feed.)

Kent State’s first recruit from the class of 2021 is one of the best junior forwards in Indiana.

She is 6-1 Bridget Dunn, who averaged 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds for Carmel High School last season. The Indianapolis Star’s top prep writer listed her as one of 10 candidates for next season’s Miss Basketball in Indiana. Dunn made the state basketball coaches association’s 15-member all-junior team in 2020. (Indiana names a senior all-state team and a junior all-state team. Above each is a “Supreme 15.”)

Dunn announced though her high school team’a  Twitter feed earlier this month that she had verbally committed to Kent State, which had offered her a scholarship last summer. KSU coaches can’t comment on recruits until they sign a national letter of intent in November.

Here’s what Matthew VanTryon, who writers an “insider” column for the Star, said about Dunn in his list of Miss Basketball candidates:

“Dunn took a big step forward for Carmel during her junior season, averaging 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 47% from the floor and 90% from the line. The Greyhounds have a wealth of young talent returning, meaning Dunn figures to have a chance to have strong numbers and plenty of wins on her résumé.”

Dunn’s Carmel team was ranked 14th in the state and finished last season at 15-8 against what the Star described as one of the toughest schedules in the state. Carmel, a consistent power in Indiana basketball, started at 3-6 but won 12 of its last 14.

Dunn averaged 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.8 blocks last season. according to MaxPreps, a recurring service.

Counting Dunn, the Flashes will have as many as five scholarships available for the 2021-22 season. They have three open now; reserve forward Monique Smith and reserve guard Margaux Eibel will graduate after next season.

No transfer rule change this season

A month ago, the NCAA looked on the verge of approving a rule that would allow football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and hockey players to transfer once without having to sit out a season.

The NCAA’s transfer waiver working group, chaired by MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, had been expected to bring the proposal to the Division I Council in May.

Instead, the council pushed any decision on transfer changes to January, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had made things too unsettled for such a major change at this time. It asked for suggestions from members for suggestions

Currently athletes in every sport except basketball. football, baseball and hockey are allowed to transfer and play immediately. The exception was to prevent the rosters of the most prestigious sports being shuffled every season.

But still athletes still transferred. Currently there are more than 800 men’s basketball players and more than 400 women in the NCAA’s transfer portal, which notifies coaches a player is seeking a transfer. A portion of those are “graduate transfers,” players who have finished their undergraduate degrees. They are eligible immediately while they work on a masters degree (which many athletes never finish).

Athletes are also eligible to play immediately if they received a “hardship” waiver, often based on a perceived need to move closer to home. Asiah Dingle, who transferred from Kent State to Stony Brook, said a large part of her decision was based on a desire to be closer to her father in Boston. He has had several strokes. Dingle has said she would seek a hardship waiver.

But some coaches have argued that hardship transfer rules has been applied unevenly, especially in the case of high-profile players and programs. 

Steinbrecher acknowledged that in February in discussing his working group’s charge.

““The current system is unsustainable,” he said. “Working group members believe it’s time to bring our transfer rules more in line with today’s college landscape. More than a third of all college students transfer at least once, and the Division I rule prohibiting immediate competition for students who play five sports hasn’t discouraged them from transferring.

“This dynamic has strained the waiver process, which was designed to handle extenuating and extraordinary circumstances.

Student-athletes in truth

A record-tying six Kent State players made the MAC all-academic team announced earlier this spring. Here’s the list and their cumulative GPAs and majors, according to the MAC release announcing the team.

  • Senior Sydney Brinlee, 3.449, Communication Studies.
  • Sophomore Asiah Dingle, 3.319, Criminal Justice. (Dingle has since transferred to Stony Brook.)
  • Sophomore Mariah Modkins, 3.557, Fashion Merchandising.
  • Sophomore Annie Pavlansky, 4.00, Middle Childhood Education. (She was one of four players among the 56 on the team to have a perfect GPA.)
  • Sophomore Lindsey Thall, 3.422, Biology/Pre-Med.
  • Sophomore Hannah Young, 3.799, Physical Education.

The group includes Kent State’s entire recruiting class of 2018, which also was one of the best group of athletes ever to enter in the same year.

Only eight KSU players were eligible for all-academic honors. Freshmen (the Flashes had three) aren’t eligible. Senior Ali Poole, a biology major who was an all-MAC academic selection in 2018 and 2019, was injured and didn’t play enough games to qualify. Neither did junior Margaux Eibel, a fashion design major who played sparingly.

To qualify for the team, a player needs to have a 3.2 cumulative GPA and play in at least half a team’s games.

Northern Illinois had eight players on the team. Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Miami joined Kent State with six.

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