Over the course of the past half-decade or so, the graduate transfer market has become a huge part of the college basketball offseason. Because of their immediate eligibility, grad transfers can bring experience to a team that other newcomers simply cannot provide. This will be the fourth time in five seasons that Louisville will add one or more grad transfers to its roster.
Louisville has had plenty of success integrating graduate transfers in the past. Notable guys like Damion Lee, Trey Lewis and Christen Cunningham have proven that a player can come in from a smaller school and make an instant impact in a power conference. Others like Tony Hicks and Khwan Fore served as good bench pieces during their respective seasons as a Card. Today, we preview a pair of graduate transfers from the Atlantic-10 conference who have joined the Louisville Men’s Basketball team ahead of the 2019-2020 season.
@keithoddo on Twitter
Oddo, a 6-1 guard from Roanoke, Virginia, joins the Cards as a walk-on after spending the past three seasons at the University of Richmond. He walked on for the Spiders before earning a scholarship this past spring. Oddo appeared in 15 games during his time at Richmond. He played in a career-high nine games last season. He will look to provide a boost off the bench in his final collegiate season. Here’s a documentary he did last year at Richmond. Tells you a little bit about the man coming to the Ville this year.
Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble
@freshkimble on Twitter
Kimble, a 6-0 guard from Philadelphia, joins the Cards after spending the past four seasons at St. Joseph’s University. Kimble played three seasons in four years at St. Joe’s. He used a medical redshirt after missing all but one game in his third year.
As a freshman in 2015-2016, Kimble averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 assists in 18.1 minutes per game for a St. Joseph’s squad that advanced to the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament as an 8 seed. He took on an increased role during his second year, averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per contest in 24 games as the primary ball handler for the Owls. He was ruled out for the 2017-2018 season after suffering a foot injury in the first game of the next season. An injury to the same foot had sidelined him for the final 7 games of 2017. With the Owls’ addition of freshman point guard Jared Bynum, Kimble moved off the ball for the 2018-2019 season, averaging 15.6 points and 2.8 assists in 23 games.
Kimble was one of the more highly touted graduate transfers following last season. Louisville gains a strong, tough ball handler with experience who has shown an ability as a playmaker with a big role in the offense. Christen Cunningham came in last season and provided reliability and leadership on a team that was undermanned and somewhat a mess offensively at times. Kimble will too bring valuable leadership skills to the Ville, having served as a team captain in each of his final three years at St. Joe’s. He will likely take on primary ball handler responsibilities for the first time since he was a sophomore during the 2016-2017 season.
You often have to wonder how success will translate for a grad transfer from the mid major to the high major conference level. The Atlantic-10 is a top tier mid-major conference and St. Joe’s has played plenty of power conference opponents in the offseason. The bigger concern should be his injury history. Kimble has yet to play a full season since he suited up for 36 games as a freshman. He missed the final seven games of his sophomore year along with the entire following season, and he also sat out 10 games during conference play last year due to a hand fracture. Availability could end up being just as important as any other skill he brings to this Louisville team in 2019-20.
So where does Fresh Kimble fit into this team? You can probably expect him to be the starting point guard to begin the season, especially with the injury to David Johnson. Kimble will be the most proven ball handler on the roster, something that was missing before his commitment. Don’t expect him to put up the same scoring numbers as he did at St. Joe’s, he won’t have too. If Louisville ends up having the season that many are predicting them to, Kimble will likely be a large part of the success.