Transfer Watch: Keegan Bell

Dylan Burkhardt

Keegan BellKeegan Bell is a new name that has surfaced on the recruiting radar. Bell, a 6-1 freshman at Vanderbilt has announced his plans to transfer. Keegan averaged 2.7ppg and 2.8apg in 13.5 mpg while shooting 34.6% from long range. Interestingly he was only 32.3% from the field overall (only attempted 3/15 two point shots compared to 27/78 three point shots) and 50% from the stripe (10 attempts). The Wolverine has a report with Bell’s high school coach, his dad. Vanderbilt blog The Sports VU put up a question and answer session with Keegan that sheds some light on his reasons for transferring, the timing, and his game. Apparently Keegan fashions himself a young Steve Nash:

SV: You talked before about you and coach Stallings not seeing eye-to-eye. I remember you were very enthusiastic about coming here, what did you think was going to be your role?
KB: I thought it was going to be more of my style, where I’m a little more of a flashy player.

SV: Like Steve Nash, right?
KB: Right, I kind of like to do that. (Stallings) was just kind of negative about that sort of stuff, and with a number of things it just felt I couldn’t play as much my game as I thought I was going to be.

Coming out of high school was offered by much of the SEC, Illinois and others and at one time was a top 100 kid. He made an early commitment to Georgia and later re-opened his recruitment before ending up at Vanderbilt. A free-blurb from Rivals at last years NBAPA camp about Keegan (with a mention of a Mr. Lucas from EL)

Kalin Lucas has a way of making his opponents look bad, but after struggling against Lucas in his first outing, Georgia commitment Keegan Bell has played confident and strong basketball in his last two outings. Bell has exercised restraint shooting the ball and has distributed the ball proficiently. He has also played with energy and passion on the defensive end.

Keegan BellMessage boards tend to bring the worst out in sports fans but you can see Vanderbilt fans reactions here and here. From the Vanderbilt blogosphere the reaction seems to be confusion about Coach Stalling’s reaction in a situation that leaves with one point guard on the roster.

The question for Michigan is what this does to roster composition, Keegan would be eligible to play in the 08-09 season and that basically makes him an 09 recruit with 3 years to play. With Michigan limited on scholarships (only 2 to give in 09) this would mean (without other attrition) they would only be able to take one more recruit in 09. The interesting part here is that we are reportedly very strong with the recruitments of Darius Morris (PG) and Andy Brown (PF). This would probably end our chances at Morris or any other PG. If Beilein offers Bell you would have to assume that he likes his game better than Morris’ which will leave a lot of recruitniks heads spinning with frustration and confusion.  Morris strikes me as much more of a scoring threat than Bell who admittedly does not always look to score:

“In a perfect world, Coach Stallings wants a point who averages about three assists with no turnovers and takes two or three shots a game,” Dan Bell said. “(Keegan) knows he’s not going to shoot as much as in high school – he doesn’t want that – but he does want to be in a position to let it go.”

The other issue here is what I will call the “Alex Legion effect”. Bell decommitted from Georgia and now is transferring after one year from Vanderbilt. I am not going to say that he is not a team player because I know little to nothing about him personally but it’s always a red flag when kids are switching schools this often. Second, Bell’s father & high school coach is doing a lot of talking for him, this is very reminiscent of Alex Legion’s mom doing plenty of talking for Alex. You never want to get in a situation where parents feel too involved.

“We didn’t feel like Keegan was a great fit there,” said Dan Bell, Keegan’s father and a longtime coach in the Alabama high school ranks. “We just felt like he’d have an opportunity to do some more things somewhere else.”

Does Keegan Bell want to transfer or does Dan Bell want Keegan to transfer?

Transfer recruitments usually move quickly so the action will probably be fast and furious with respect to Keegan’s recruitment in the next couple weeks.

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  • AC

    If it would be possible for Keegan to be eligible NEXT season I would say we should make a run at him. But I don’t think it makes sense to get him knowing that it eats up our scholarship for two years from now. The Legion factor scares me here, especially since he’ll have to sit out a season and that’s a long time to get cold feet. I’m also not sure how his playing style fits in our offense.

  • a2matt

    I would take 4 years of Darius Morris over 3 of Keegan bell.

  • Ky Fox

    we do not need a keegan bell!! What are poeple thinking?? This guy would do nothing in my eyes as far as taking this program to the next level! We desperatley need darius or c.j. Harris!! Lets just let this guy fade away…too much of a risk anyway!!

  • ky fox: Have you ever seen Bell, Morris or Harris play?

  • Ky Fox

    Have YOU!!??
    lemme tell you i know enough about our program at UM and enough about bell and cohen to tell you that if we want to see this program take the next step WE DONT need guys like this!
    Dylan…we already have enough players on this team that need much much develpment…gibson, wright, grady, and coming in you know cronin is going to need some developing along with Stu! I hope im wrong but…
    we need a few more guys coming in that already have some skill, some weapons, a little more athletetiscm!! We dont need any more 3 year projects! A few guys like that arent bad(if they show very good potential) which i think JB is a good judge at! But we have those guys already now…its bad enough trying to get these Amaker recruited guys thinking straight, and playing to theyre ability! Look at the final four teams!! Not saying we should duplicate theyre roster…but it should be something along those lines. You have to have a mixture…and we need to add a little more athletesicsm to our mixture here at UM!!!

  • Heres the thing.

    I have not seen either play. But I have talked to someone who has seen Morris play a lot.

    The issue is that Morris has some athleticism but he is not an instant contributor from what I hear. There are very good parts of his game but he’s not a blow you away type kid.

    Bell would get a year in the system and then 3 years to play. He would be eligible to play at the same time as Morris, be two years older, have one year of real college experience and one year in the system and still have three years to play.

    It will be interesting to see what Beilein does.

  • Ky Fox

    Bell just doesnt fit the bill! On top of being limited it looks 2 me like hes transfer happy(NOT GOOD) and looking at it from a programs standpoint…I would just hate to see us start to look like Wisconsin! Winning some games during the season, maybe in your best year your in and around the top 10(like just this past year) but then you get into the tournament and you dont have enough athetesiscm to break through the sweet 16!! Lemme tell you…as long as Bo ryan continues to run the stupid swing offense and has the mindset that he does…he will never go far in the tourney! Now yes its great to have a good program and ya the argument is at least he gets the badgers in the tourney…but why not build your team to run with the best of them!?? Bo doesnt construct his teams that all! Its been proven that you have to have a fair amount of athletes on your squad to be succesfull!! Thats just the way it is!

  • Ky Fox

    i understand where your coming from dylan. Its just that i do not think it would be smart to waist a scholarship and time on a guy like this…we already have a guy like that in stu douglass(and we needed Stu) but i would rather JB take an athletic wing or powerforward over a limited shooting gaurd! If your looking for shooters, i think look more along the lines of a forward/wing type position…I would even be happier getting a cassity type guy over this bell guy! If it had to come to that!

  • First of all if you think being like Wisconsin is a bad thing, your crazy. How many Big Ten titles do they have?

    I don’t think the main point in Bell’s game is being a shooter either.

    I would have been happy with Cassity too (although he would play next year). The main need in 09 is PG and PF. He fills the need at PG. we’ll see.

  • Bluebufoon

    Let’s all root for Tony Bennett to take the Marquette job, which hopefully will open up the recruitment of Klay Thompson.

  • Ky Fox

    yep! call me foolish or whatever…but NO, i dont want to be like wisconsin! At all!! I want to be like Michigan!! A team that can potenially win the ntl! Heres a good question for yall!! Would you rather see UM build a team year in year out that could make a push for the final four and possibly win a ntl every 3 to 4 years, or would you like them to construct a team that would win theyre conference everyother year but would only get to the second round maybe sweetsixteen(wisconsin) every 3 to 4 years?!? And you have to think that having a team built for national success would get you a few conference champs while your at it! We have to get away from the Bo Schembechler philosophy where the conference is the only thing that matters!! If your going to do something..whatever it is…why not do it to the best it can be…otherwise why do it at all!!

  • Ky Fox

    and i understand we need to take things 1 step at a time! But getting a player of bell’s ability i dont think is a step in the right direction! But….what do I know eh!

  • You make a point but again heres the issue. I don’t know if Morris is a huge step in the direction you want to go either. And we aren’t even a lock to land Morris or any type of player who will send us catapulting toward the Final Four.

  • Giddings

    I just don’t know about the fit… if he didn’t like Stallings, I don’t think he’ll love Beilein. Coach B isn’t looking for guys who brag about how “flashy” their game is, not to mention small guards (Grady has had trouble with the 1-3-1 and shooting threes over people due to his size). Even though Morris is only an inch or two taller than Bell, I think I would rather have him than the Vanderbilt transfer (I also agree about the potential “commitment” issues ala Legion).

  • Giddings

    Hmmm, I’m having second thoughts now after looking at his season game log. His assist numbers were quite impressive, especially for a guy coming off the bench…

    – 8 assists, 0 turnovers at Depaul (20 mins)
    – 7 assists, 3 turns vs Rice (15 mins)
    – 7 assists, 1 turn vs Alabama (30 mins)

  • cwood

    “I want to be like Michigan!! A team that can potenially win the ntl!”

    Ummmm, unfortunatly being like michigan is barely getting double didget wins. So you should probably settle down and focus on us being competetive before you start talking about a 10 win team winning any title.

  • Come on Giddings :-) he’s Steve Nash of course his assists numbers are nice.

    But if you multiply his stats out to 40 minutes he would average
    8pts and 8 assists.

    Grady on the other and would average 9 pts and 8 assists over 40 minutes.

    They actually both averaged 2.8 assists per game with Grady playing almost 10 more minutes per game. Then again Vandy probably scored a lot more baskets than we did :-)

  • Giddings

    Ok, I guess I should have looked at Grady’s stats as well. As much as I love him, I forgot about some performances like the 9 assists, 0 turnovers at Iowa and 8 assists, 2 turnovers vs CMU.

  • Ky Fox

    cwood i understand that we should worry about being competetive before worrying about final fours…but do you see where im coming from?? Do you honestly deep down think that grabbing a guy like bell will even make us more competetive?? The guy doesnt even know what he wants or who he wants to play for!! And what i meant as far as being like UM is lets blaze our own trail!! Lets grab players that are going to help us compete and win some games against the MSU’s and OSU’s. Thad, and tom were not succesfull the last couple years with keagan bell running the show I will assure you that…they wouldnt even be successfull with him coming off the bench. I dont think it matters anyway because I would be astonished if JB would welcome in keagan bell!!

  • Ky Fox

    and dylan i know that even morris wouldnt catapult us towards a final four…..but i think its a better step than bell!! Um to get to even the sweet sixteen is going to be a process, but one of the things thats going to make that process even longer is grabbing players who are processes themselves…or projects if you will! We already have a spark of the bench in anthony wright! If we do not get morris Id say the next best thing would be cj harris….and not a guy whos transferred twice already!!

  • BL11

    The list of suitors for bell out of high school compared to morris right now would have to favor bell.
    Dylan’s point about bell possibly having a year to learn this system is something that is VERY important.
    I like Morris simply because he is a combo guard that COULD become very good but Bell is someone who could really help this team too.
    Also….. if Bell helps us become Wicsonsin-esque. SIGN ME UP!

  • hoosierine

    I’m confused as to why PG is our #1 concern for the next class. I love Grady, and everyone says that Douglass will eventually get there with the ball skills, plus LLP seems to be able to play some 1. I understand we want depth eventually, but at this point PG is one of three positions where we even have a legit starter. As of now, we have no legit big, and no legit 3. We have guards, we have shooters coming, I agree we need some athlete types (Alex Legion would have been so nice…minus the psycho mother…or Terelle Pryor woulda been nice) at the 3.

  • troublet0605

    I will take Morris over Bell he just seems to be a little bit better from what I’ve read and saw plus I agree with kyfox i will take a kid who will have 4 years in our system rather than a kid with 3 years left. I think it also boils down to their respective ceilings. I fill in ’09 they both will have the same impact but morris will help more in the long run.

  • old fan

    I am with Hoosierine. I am not as uncomfortable with point guard as others.

    I am very much looking forward to a review of Grady’s season. My sense is that point guard is the hardest position to learn and that we should expect the most improvement from Grady. I didn’t get to watch every game and I know that he had some clunkers. I saw some good things though and I expect him to be the solution in a year or two.

    How often do Freshman Point Guards dominate right away (if they aren’t named Rose)? Not a rhetorical question, actually want to know if this is more common place than I am thinking of.

  • Ky Fox

    thank you you Trouble!! I mean i guess i dont understand why we want to imitate wisconsin so badly!?? I would rather us look like an izzo or matta type team!! At least then your run in the tournament is going to be a heck of a lot more interesting!! I also agree with hoosierine…not so much that we dont have a ligit 3…but about the love of all these gaurds and with oldfan in that i think we should be looking at 2 possible guys…morris or harris. And after that we should be more than set with both the 1 and 2 positions! Grady is going to get better, Stu will be good very soon, llp will be an instant contributor, and even novak im sure will play a gaurd postion throughout the year! We could use a wing to spell manny or deshawn now more than another gaurd…especially if we get morris or harris! I also agree with oldfan in that bells respective ceiling of potential isnt going to be as high as say a morris or a harris type player!

  • Ky Fox

    but my looming question is what is going to happen to grady if llp steps in and shows he can run the show and be a bit more of an offensive threat than Grady?? Because you will have to imagine Novak will probably start…we just simply need someone who can be a threat from deep on the court at all times! So would llp run the point?? Would it go something like this:
    pg-Lavell Perry/Grady
    sg-Zach Novak/Stu
    sf-Manny Harris/Shepherd
    pf-deshawn sims/Wright/Gibson
    c-epke udoh/Cronin/Gibson
    I do believe shepherd will develop enough to warrant him some minutes(he just needs to make some strides…he has some athletic ability)how many minutes i dnt know!

  • hat

    It’s hard for me to criticize recruiting decisions by Beilein because I just don’t have enough information at my disposal. If JB believes this kid is worth bringing in, I’m sold, because of JB’s track record of identifying talent. The only thing that gives me concern, as mentioned above, is Bell changing schools repeatedly. When it happens once, no big deal. Twice, and you start to wonder about the kid’s character. But then, JB’s got to be thinking the same.

  • Ky Fox

    very good point hat! I wouldnt argue JB either! But i understand that bell might have been on JB’s list from the getgo when bell was right out of HS which would have sent bell to probably west va where JB could have possibly used a guy like him at that certain position in time! But now JB already has a couple of those players at UM with the signing of Novak and Douglass! I would like to think even JB(especially after watching the final four) would want to head more in the athletic direction for his next couple of recruits! And for point gaurd if not morris than c.j. Harris! Not only would those 2 guys have a higher ceiling of potential, I like theyre size that they bring to the table as well!

  • steven

    I was with him at high school his dad always had a lot of say so. If he plays his game he will be fine but if he plays his dads game it won’t be worth the three