As for Jermaine Lawrence I am ultimately disappointed that he is moving on, but I am not that surprised. There were rumblings after the season that Jermaine was unhappy with his role on the team this year. But nothing about it ever rose above the level of idle internet chatter. It's not that hard to stumble upon that kind of talk, much harder to find someone willing to verify it.
The nub of the issue would appear to be about the position that Lawrence was playing for the Bearcats. In his heart of hearts it seems that Lawrence views himself as a small forward, and wants to play as a small forward. The staff sees him as a power forward and wants him to develop in that direction. It would appear that Jermaine is convinced that he is the next Kevin Durant, and will do his best to go somewhere that will let him try to be the next KD. That's ultimately what this is about.
The timing of everything is interesting. There are insinuations that Lawrence transferred because of Octavius Ellis coming back into the fold. As far as I know there is no truth to that, Ellis was an insurance policy in case Jermaine actually decided to transfer. Remember that the rumors about Lawrence wanting to transfer cropped up immediately upon the conclusion of the season. If that subject is whispered about on the internet you can be damn sure that it gets discussed openly in the coaches offices.
Much of the job of assembling a roster of 13 scholarship players is determining probabilities of a given event happening; a guy transferring out, retiring due to injury, quitting the program, academic casualties etc. From there you develop contingencies for any potential outflows from the team. Octavius Ellis makes more sense as a contingency for Jermaine Lawrence leaving than as a highly coveted asset from the JUCO ranks.
The forgotten development here is that the Bearcats still have a scholarship available for next years class, and they can afford to be more selective with it. That means that they could very well wind up waiting on Elijah Stewart to make his decision.