Monday, July 13, 2015

Hinton Transferring to App. State

Rising junior forward Craig Hinton will be transferring to Appalachian State, according to Brant Wilkerson-New of the Winston-Salem Journal.

As mentioned, Hinton averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13 minutes of action last season. He missed the All-Military Classic with a foot injury but played in every subsequent game and started twice (home vs. The Citadel and Western Carolina). Other than that, his only minutes were off the bench. He scored in double figures three times, all in November, including an incredible 23-point performance against Maryland where he shot 6-of-6 from three and 8-of-9 from the field. From there, though, his averages dipped down and his shooting stroke was wildly inconsistent. He shot 3-of-14 and 1-of-11 from three against WCU in January, and shot 2-of-11 the final five games as his minutes and production decreased. He ended up shooting 40% overall and 35% from behind the arc.

In his freshman year Hinton started 8 games and played in 24 but was again hampered by injury early in the year. He averaged 2.6 PPG on 33% shooting in limited action. He was notable for finishing second in the High School Slam Dunk Contest back in 2013.

Hinton, who is listed as a small forward at 6'7, came from East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, NC. The town is only about 90 minutes from Boone, where he will be playing. Hinton was recruited by former VMI assistant Jason Allison, who is now at ASU. We can assume that Allison tried to pick up Hinton, and that Coach Earl found no place for him in his sytem. It should be noted that App State was one of Hinton's top choices as a recruit, but Coach Baucom and staff won him over as he signed in November of 2012.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Hinton will sit out the 2015-16 season but should have two years of eligibility left after that. He will not cost the Mountaineers a scholarship this season, but they can offer him one next year if the coaching staff likes what they see.

As for VMI, Hinton's departure shakes up the depth chart quite a bit. We should see much more of freshman D'Andre Mahaffey at SF, as well as junior Trey Chapman and sophomore Armani Branch. Mahaffey is probably the most athletic of the three, but Trey by far the most experienced, having logged significant minutes his first two seasons as well as 19 starts. Branch played little his freshman year and was suspended the remainder of the year following the home loss to UNC Greensboro on February 3rd. If Coach Earl chooses not to employ three guards as Baucom often did, those three players should receive significant playing time this season. We are also now down to 11 scholarships, two under the NCAA maximum.

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