Transfer News – Finn Sullivan Commits to Vermont

The Former USD Standout Will be Trading his Surfboard for a Snowboard

Surprise summer news dump! While there’s been no official announcement from the school or media outlets, it’s all but confirmed that former University of San Diego guard, Finn Sullivan has transferred to Vermont. It’s unclear why there has yet to be an official announcement, but the soon-to-be senior junior should be a great veteran addition to John Becker’s squad. 

Before word got out that Sullivan would be joining the Cats this year, Vermont’s roster was already overflowing with 18 players currently committed. With Sullivan in tow that number has now ballooned up to 19. Is Coach Becker planning on deploying a platoon system this year? One reputable local source has indicated that a current walk-on will be leaving the team to focus on life outside of basketball, though that still leaves 18 players competing for what is likely to be a 9-10 man rotation. Luckily there’s still plenty of time for Coach Becker and his staff to sort out roles and playing time before the season tips off.

As an upperclassman and proven contributor, Sullivan likely has a leg up in earning a spot in Coach Becker’s rotation, but Vermont has been hit-or-miss as late with their transfers so Sullivan will have to work every minute of floor time. That’s not a knock on Sullivan by any means, as the 6’4’’ guard is more than capable of becoming a solid contributor for the Cats. The west coast native started all but one game a season ago for the Toreros and has played in 74 games thus far throughout his career. While his statline won’t jump off the page at you, Sullivan has managed a respectable 6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists a game for his career.

(2018-19): 32 games played, 16.4 minutes, 4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 33% 3PT

(2019-20): 28 games played, 23.5 minutes, 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 27% 3PT

(2020-21): 14 games played, 27.2 minutes, 6.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 37% 3PT

Sullivan was a solid, dependable player for San Diego during his tenure. One possible red flag to note from these statistics is Sullivan’s regression from beyond the arc during his sophomore campaign. Are his long-range shooting woes behind him? Sullivan did bounce back in big way the following year by inflating that percentage up to 37%, but considering that last years season only ran 14 games it’s hard to tell if that small sample size could carry throughout an entire year.

Strengths & Weaknesses

There’s not an abundance of available tape from Sullivan’s time at San Diego, but I highly encourage you to parse his highlights against number one ranked Gonzaga just a season ago. Sullivan would finish with 16 points and 6 assists in that one.

>Strengths – Sneaky athletic. Strong explosiveness and quick twitch muscles. Solid length for a guard. Great vision and passing ability. Can contribute in every aspect of the game. Solid perimeter shooter. Handles the ball well. Great glue guy. Looks like Kurt Rambis.

Weaknesses – Good at everything, great at nothing. Lacks strength to take on bigger wing players. Can play out of control at times. Statline won’t ‘wow’ you. Has likely reached his ceiling.

Sullivans fit at Vermont

To be completely honest I don’t love the addition of Sullivan to this Cats team, but I also don’t hate it. Sullivan is similarly comparable to Bailey Patella in many ways. Both players are incredibly hard-working and fill up the stat sheet by doing a little bit of everything – and throw in all the work they do that doesn’t show up stat sheet (hustling for loose balls, drawing charges). I can’t say for certain that a team full of Patellas and Sullivans would win every game, but it’d be damn fun to watch.

Obviously having another Patella-esque player on the Cats is always welcome, but the reason I don’t love this addition is that Sullivan joins an already overly crowded backcourt. Starters Ben Shungu and Mazzulla return for another year, as do Robin Duncan, Aaron Deloney and Eric Beckett who are all trying to earn minutes. Kam Gibson just transferred over as well and surely has to be accounted for. Then there’s the two incoming freshmen of Sam Alamutu and Evan Guillory and the three walk-ons in Kevin Garrison, Deng Adiang and Michel Ndayishimiye. How the hell does Sullivan fit into that equation?

Due to his length and athleticism there is a possibility that Sullivan plays more as a wing than a guard. However, his lack of strength could cause some issues when trying to defend against bigger wing players. Beckett and Alamutu are also slightly bigger guards and could find themselves out on the wing as well from time to time to help alleviate the abundance of guards. Sullivan has likely reached his potential and will likely never lead the Cats in scoring or rebounds, but the west-coast native wasn’t brought in to be that type of guy. Sullivan’s work ethic, dependability and leadership are what’s going to impact this team more than anything else, which frankly might be exactly what the Cats need. Welcome aboard Finn Sullivan.

*Unrelated news – as you’ve likely noticed, there hasn’t been much content coming out of From the Parking Lot as of late. There’s a number of reasons for this, but more so than any of them I’ve been enjoying the summer catching waves and working on my bronze. I promise there will be more content in the coming weeks, such as diving into upcoming season projections and a look at the few 2022 recruits UVM as already extended scholarship offers too. As a teaser my first bold prediction of the year is that freshman guard Sam Alamutu becomes a starter by the end of the year. Stay tuned.

3 Responses

  1. If Becker et al brought in a 13th guard, that tells me that there aren’t really a dozen other guards to be utilized. I have to wonder whether all three graduates with another year of eligibility are truly committed to returning. I have to think that Deloney, Beckett, and the three walk-ons are not being considered for meaningful minutes and that Guillory and Alamutu are both seen, at least initially, as developmental. That leaves a backcourt roster of Sullivan, Gibson, Duncan, and perhaps a couple of the super-seniors. And that would make Sullivan’s addition make sense.

  2. I have followed this player for a long time. He comes from a program at USD that was basically in shambles the last two years. The head coach at USD chased off all his assistants pretty much as soon as humanly possible. Every player except for 3 scholarship players left this last year. Not the best utilization of Sullivan’s talents to be sure. In a good program, with a great coach like Vermont, I think you may be surprised what Sullivan can bring to the court. He has great vision, is a great passer, and can make everybody around him play better. He is a great defensive player as well. He did have a 25 point game, and the 16 point effort against Gonzaga last year was impressive for the mere fact that he was one of the only players on USD’s team that didn’t seem intimidated by Gonzaga. This kid is not easily rattled, and he is still on the young side. I disagree that he has reached his ceiling. A great addition.

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