Channing Toney, concerned about his status on UGA's squad as a starter, and perhaps discouraged over an earlier suspension for academic reasons, decides to transfer. He ended up at UAB.
Fast Forward to 2008:
Jeremy Jacob, reportedly wanting to be the focal point of a team, opts to transfer from Georgia to Chipola Junior College. One of Chipola's key players, Casey Mitchell, is a UAB signee for the 2009/2010 season.
Will Jacob end up, like Toney, at UAB? It could happen.
When Jacob initially announced that he would leave UGA, it looked as if LSU would be his ultimate destination. LSU has the advantage of offering Jacob the opportunity to play in the SEC for a team based in his home town.
However, Rivals.com has reported that Jacob could be close to signing to play in Birmingham, not Baton Rouge. Although I can't access the Rivals article, I don't doubt their information. If Jacob has talked things over with Mitchell, they might want to try to play together after junior college.
The question is: Will Jacob be better off at UAB than at Georgia?
Channing Toney's experience suggests that the answer might be, "no."
Not too long after arriving in Birmingham, Toney was apparently part of an argument between several UAB basketball players. He was arrested in September 2007, and faced a fairly serious charge of physically harassing a police officer. Toney was disciplined by Coach Davis. As I recall, due to the combination of the transfer rules and the suspension, Toney missed the first 16 games of the year.
From a purely basketball perspective, UAB has arguably not proven to be a substantial improvement over Georgia for Toney. Toney averaged just over 9 points a game while at Georgia. He has averaged less than one basket more, right at 10.5 points per game, at UAB. In fact, his shooting percentage went down from his last year at Georgia.
While Toney is guaranteed starter minutes at UAB, it is likely that had he stuck with UGA, he would have been the starter anyway, given Mike Mercer's injury and later dismissal, and Billy Humphrey's knee problems and later dismissal.
Meanwhile, Toney is playing in Conference USA, which while a good conference, does not have the stature of the SEC. Although Conference USA boasts Memphis, a perennially powerful program, the conference's other teams, like Tulane, Central Florida and Houston, are not nearly as successful. Again, they are decent basketball programs, but not on the level of University of Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and other SEC schools.
And as far as head to head comparisons are concerned, UAB has the advantage in games won last year. However, they played in the NIT. Georgia made it to the NCAA tournament and was the "feel good" story of the initial field of 64.
As for Jacob, he will arrive at UAB in 2009, if that's where he indeed ends up, and he will have to make his own way. Using Channing Toney's past year as a comparison to what Jacob might experience is somewhat unfair. Jacob's time there might go very well.
The fact remains, however, that if Jacob left Georgia so that he could be a starter or the focal point of the offense, he may or may not find what he wants at UAB. If Demarcous Cousins, UAB's top 2009 recruit, arrives, then chances are that Cousins will get a ton of shots. Casey Mitchell will shoot a lot. Jacob would probably get his share, but would that amount be more than what he would have gotten at UGA? It's impossible to predict.
Besides that, Jacob will be on his fourth year removed from high school. He played a year of post-high school ball at Hargrave, then went to Georgia and red-shirted. Next will be junior college. What happens if he's not happy at UAB?
It all might work out, and I wish Jacob well, especially since it looks like he won't be playing against UGA in the short term.