While the transfer portal isn’t completely empty just yet — top-100 transfers Keith Williams (Cincinnati) and Tyrece Radford (Virginia Tech) are still available, for example — it’s slowed down to a point where we can fully assess the offseason transfer landscape. There were an unprecedented number of players in the portal, with more programs than ever constantly refreshing it to find new names to target.
There were teams that needed to rebuild almost entirely via the portal … because of a mass exodus to the portal. The constant churn made for a wild spring, with a number of programs that were clear winners and losers, as well as those that fell somewhere in between.
Texas Longhorns: The clear victor from the transfer window, Chris Beard is bringing in six of the top 30 transfers in ESPN’s transfer rankings — including three of the top five. Minnesota’s Marcus Carr was arguably the best transfer all spring, while Timmy Allen was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection at Utah and Tre Mitchell was one of the more dominant big men nationally at UMass. Christian Bishop (Creighton) and Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt) were productive high-major players and Devin Askew (Kentucky) was a five-star recruit just 12 months ago.
Kentucky Wildcats: We’re used to seeing John Calipari land several of the top high school prospects, but he and his staff hit the transfer portal hard this spring (while still bringing in multiple five-star recruits, of course). Oscar Tshiebwe averaged nearly a double-double at West Virginia two seasons ago, while Kellan Grady is a big-time scorer who earned all-conference honors all four seasons at Davidson. Sahvir Wheeler (Georgia) led the SEC in assists and CJ Fredrick (Iowa) was arguably the best 3-point shooter in the portal.
Auburn Tigers: Bruce Pearl lost a couple of players to the portal, including impressive freshman Justin Powell, but he landed a potential first-round pick in North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler, a former five-star recruit. The Tigers also reloaded on the perimeter with K.D. Johnson, one of the better freshmen in the SEC last season, as well as mid-major transfers Zep Jasper (Charleston) and Wendell Green Jr. (Eastern Kentucky). Green could start at the point.
Oregon Ducks: Surprise, surprise, Dana Altman hammered the portal for impact players. He’s as adept as anyone nationally at finding the right fits for his team, and he might have landed three starters in top-50 transfers Jacob Young (Rutgers), Quincy Guerrier (Syracuse) and De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma). The three players bring scoring, experience and winning — all three helped lead their teams to the NCAA tournament last season.
Arkansas Razorbacks: Eric Musselman is annually one of the busier coaches in the portal, and this offseason was no different. The Razorbacks did most of their damage early in the transfer cycle, landing three potential starters in Chris Lykes (Miami), Stanley Umude (South Dakota) and Au’diese Toney (Pittsburgh) — all ranked among the top 55 transfers this offseason. They also went out and improved their depth with Trey Wade (Wichita State) and Jaxson Robinson (Texas A&M).
Maryland Terrapins: The Terps got off to a hot start in the portal, landing two immediate starters early in the offseason. Fatts Russell is a dynamic playmaker at the point guard spot who was a first-team All-Atlantic selection at Rhode Island in 2019, while former Georgetown big man Qudus Wahab was one of the best frontcourt players in the portal.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: Mike Boynton is clearly banking on the idea that highly touted high school prospects don’t suddenly get bad at basketball after one year in college — bringing in four players who left their previous school after their freshman seasons. Moussa Cisse (Memphis) and Bryce Thompson (Kansas) were former five-star recruits, while Tyreek Smith (Texas Tech) and Woody Newton (Syracuse) both showed potential coming out of high school.
Houston Cougars: After having success going the transfer route with the likes of Quentin Grimes, DeJon Jarreau, Justin Gorham and others, the Cougars went back in this spring. Texas Tech transfer Kyler Edwards is the headliner; he averaged double-figures two seasons in Lubbock and can really shoot. Taze Moore was a first-team all-league player at Bakersfield, while UConn transfer Josh Carlton fits Houston’s offensive rebounding prowess perfectly.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: It was very much the tale of two springs for new head coach Mark Adams. He first had to convince a couple players to stay in Lubbock, but did bid farewell to the likes of Kyler Edwards, Micah Peavy and Jamarius Burton. Over the last couple months, though, the Red Raiders rebuilt to the point they’re now in the preseason top 25 conversation. NCAA tournament breakout star Kevin Obanor (Oral Roberts) is the best of the bunch, but Davion Warren (Hampton) was the runner-up for Big South Player of the Year honors, while Bryson Williams (UTEP), Adonis Arms (Winthrop) and Sardaar Calhoun (Florida State) will all make an impact.
Florida Gators: While each player posted impressive offensive numbers, the transfer quartet Mike White brought in via the portal might be the best defensive class in the country. CJ Felder (Boston College) blocked 2.2 shots per game and was one of the best defensive players in the ACC; Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (Charleston Southern) was the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big South; and Brandon McKissic (UMKC) won Summit League Defensive Player of the Year honors. Oh, and Myreon Jones averaged 15.3 points at Penn State, shooting nearly 40% from 3.
Mississippi State Bulldogs: I think you can make a preseason top 25 case for Mississippi State, mostly due to the Bulldogs’ transfer class. North Carolina transfer Garrison Brooks was the preseason ACC Player of the Year last season, and will hope to return to form. Rocket Watts (Michigan State) and D.J. Jeffries (Memphis) were also ranked inside our top 60. Shakeel Moore (NC State) rounds out the group.
TCU Horned Frogs: The Horned Frogs still might struggle next season, but they quietly had a successful spring. Emanuel Miller (Texas A&M) and Micah Peavy (Texas Tech) were both top-100 transfers, while Shahada Wells was a second-team all-Sun Belt selection at UT-Arlington. Maxwell Evans (Vanderbilt) and Damion Baugh (Memphis) are high-major players, and Xavier Cork (Western Carolina) put up double-figures.
Louisville Cardinals: Chris Mack needed to replace his two best players from a year ago, Carlik Jones and David Johnson, and hit the transfer portal for top-100 transfers Mason Faulkner (Western Carolina), Jarrod West (Marshall), Noah Locke (Florida) and Matt Cross (Miami).
LSU Tigers: With Cameron Thomas, Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart off to the NBA, there are certainly some scoring roles available in Baton Rouge. Former top-30 recruit Adam Miller and Missouri transfer Xavier Pinson (13.6 PPG) should start in the backcourt together, while Tari Eason showed promise at Cincinnati.
Virginia Cavaliers: Tony Bennett’s roster has some serious question marks entering next season, given the lack of proven college production and experience, but two top-50 transfer additions should help. Jayden Gardner was one of the most productive players in the country the last three seasons at East Carolina, while Armaan Franklin averaged 11.4 points and shot 42% from 3-point range at Indiana.
Seton Hall Pirates: The Pirates are flying under the radar a bit entering the season, but their trio of transfer additions should all make an impact. Jamir Harris averaged 20.5 points at American and Alexis Yetna was consistently productive at South Florida, but the biggest optimism surrounds former Syracuse guard Kadary Richmond. He was No. 37 in ESPN’s transfer rankings and has plenty of potential.
Illinois Fighting Illini: They convinced Kofi Cockburn to return to Champaign after he initially entered the transfer portal. That’s enough on its own to be a winner. But Brad Underwood also added Power 5 transfers Omar Payne (Florida) and Alfonso Plummer (Utah). It certainly outweighs the departure of starting guard Adam Miller, who ended up at LSU.
Ole Miss Rebels: Kermit Davis is bringing in three proven Power 5 performers, which should help the Rebels hit the ground running. Jaemyn Brakefield was a top-50 transfer after leaving Duke following his freshman season; he showed flashes in Durham. Nysier Brooks was also a top-100 transfer; he was a solid contributor at both Miami and Cincinnati. Then there’s Tye Fagan, who averaged 9.2 points at Georgia.
SMU Mustangs: After COVID-19 pauses disrupted their quest for an NCAA tournament bid last season, I expect the Mustangs to really push for the Dance this season — mostly due to their transfer additions. Tim Jankovich did lose Tyson Jolly, Ethan Chargois, Darius McNeill and Yor Anei, but the quartet of incoming transfers is superior. Zach Nutall was the Southland Player of the Year at Sam Houston State, while Marcus Weathers was a second-team All-Atlantic forward at Duquesne. Weathers’ brother, Michael, was a big-time scorer at Texas Southern. If Tristan Clark is healthy and can regain his form from a couple seasons ago at Baylor, that will be a boost.
UNLV Rebels: Kevin Kruger isn’t wasting any time trying to turn things around in the desert. While he landed seven transfers, convincing Bryce Hamilton to withdraw from the portal was perhaps his biggest win. Hamilton and Kent State transfer Mike Nuga will form an explosive perimeter duo. Kruger also landed four Big 12 transfers: Royce Hamm Jr. (Texas), Victor Iwuakor (Oklahoma), Jordan McCabe (West Virginia) and Donovan Williams (Texas), as well as dominant shot-blocker David Muoka from Lamar and double-figure scorer Justin Webster from Hawaii.
San Diego State Aztecs: The Aztecs are losing a few key players from one of the best two-year runs in the country the last two seasons, but Brian Dutcher is also bringing in someone who should immediately be one of the best players in the Mountain West. Matt Bradley averaged 18.0 points last season at California and is an outstanding outside shooter. But that’s not all. Chad Baker (9.5 PPG at Duquesne), Tahirou Diabate (9.6 PPG at Portland in 2019-20) and Jaedon LeDee (5.8 PPG at TCU) also join the team.
Iona Gaels: Rick Pitino worked his magic in his first season at Iona, and that’s carried over to the recruiting trail. He went into the AAC to land two impact players: Tyson Jolly, who averaged 14.5 points and 9.3 points in two seasons at SMU, and Elijah Joiner, who put up 11.3 points at Tulsa. Pitino also signed Louisville transfer Quinn Slazinski, a rotation player for the Cardinals. All three could start right away for the Gaels.
UAB Blazers: Andy Kennedy won 22 games in his first season with the Blazers, and he’s looking to build on that in year two. He’s bringing in six new transfers, including five with experience in a top-seven league. KJ Buffen started 21 games at Ole Miss last season; Jamal Johnson was a prolific 3-point shooter at Auburn; Josh LeBlanc Sr. played 25 games at LSU in 2020-21; Jordan Walker (Tulane) was second in the AAC in assists; and Justin Brown started 53 games the last two seasons at South Florida. That group doesn’t include Tyreke Locure, who averaged 13.5 points at South Alabama last season.
Stony Brook Seawolves: Just getting Elijah Olaniyi back after one season at Miami might have been enough to get the Seawolves on this list; Olaniyi was a first-team all-America East selection in 2019-20 after averaging 18.0 points — he also put up double figures for the Hurricanes last season. But Geno Ford also landed Anthony Roberts, who averaged 12.7 points at St. Bonaventure in 2019-20, and two-time all-league guard Jahlil Jenkins, who put up 16.8 points at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Loyola Marymount Lions: Stan Johnson clearly has the Lions on the upswing in the WCC, leading the Lions to a surprising third-place finish in his first season at the helm. And now LMU is getting an influx of talent. Landing All-Big Sky guard Cameron Shelton (19.2 PPG) was a steal, while Alex Merkviladze (10.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG) was productive at Cal State Northridge and Kwane Marble II (9.5 PPG, 4.1 APG) came on strong down the stretch at Wyoming. Siena transfer Gary Harris Jr. also joins the fold.
Charlotte 49ers: The 49ers fell apart down the stretch last season, but the talent they’ve brought in via the portal should prevent a collapse in 2021-22. Ron Sanchez landed three Power 5 transfers: Clemson’s Clyde Trapp, Syracuse’s Robert Braswell and Ohio State’s Musa Jallow. He also went out and landed productive wing Austin Butler, who averaged 16.1 points and 8.8 rebounds at Holy Cross, as well as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi transfer Perry Francois.
San Diego Toreros: After two down years, the Toreros badly needed to upgrade the talent on the roster — and they did this offseason. In the backcourt, Jase Townsend averaged 19.2 points at Denver last season, while Bryce Monroe (Sam Houston State) was the Southland Freshman of the Year. Up front, Terrell Brown (Pittsburgh) is an outstanding shot-blocker and Marcellus Earlington has been a consistent contributor at St. John’s the last two seasons. They also added Georgetown transfer T.J. Berger.
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles: Michael Fly enters a key season with the Eagles, and the transfer additions will likely determine how good they are in 2021-22. Fortunately for Fly, he’s bringing in three double-figure scorers and a borderline top-100 transfer. Tavian Dunn-Martin put up 10.2 points at Duquesne, Carlos Rosario averaged 12.0 points at McNeese State and Matt Halvorsen went for 12.1 points at Western Carolina. But the two best additions might be TCU’s Kevin Samuel, a 6-foot-11 center who was one of the best defensive players in the Big 12, and Tulsa’s Austin Richie, who started 11 games for the Golden Hurricane last season.
Added a missing player for a title chase
Kansas Jayhawks: With the loss of Marcus Garrett, Bill Self needed a point guard in order to really vault the Jayhawks into the national championship conversation. So he went out and landed two-time first-team All-Pac-12 guard Remy Martin from Arizona State. Martin averaged 19.1 points and 3.7 assists last season and gives the Jayhawks a dynamic and speedy playmaker at the point of attack.
Baylor Bears: Scott Drew had the best backcourt in college basketball last season, but all three starting guards departed. In steps Arizona transfer James Akinjo, a top-15 transfer who earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors during his lone season with the Wildcats. He had his best season yet, averaging 15.6 points, 5.4 assists and shooting 40.8% from 3.
Michigan Wolverines: Much like the two aforementioned teams in this category, the Wolverines needed a boost at the point guard spot this offseason. Juwan Howard landed Sun Belt Player of the Year DeVante’ Jones, one of the best two-way players in the country last season. Jones made a positive impression during NBA workouts, and averaged 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals last season.
UCLA Bruins: UCLA brings back every contributor from last season’s NCAA tournament run, but the Bruins were a little undermanned down low at times. There might not have been a better pick to fill that role than Rutgers graduate transfer Myles Johnson, one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten, who averaged 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.
North Carolina Tar Heels: Not many teams brought in a frontcourt duo as productive as Dawson Garcia, a former McDonald’s All-American from Marquette, and Brady Manek, a four-year producer at Oklahoma. But not many teams lost a frontcourt duo as talented as Garrison Brooks, last year’s preseason ACC Player of the Year, and Walker Kessler, a former five-star recruit who showed flashes late in the season in Chapel Hill. New head coach Hubert Davis also signed Virginia transfer Justin McKoy.
South Alabama Jaguars: Richie Riley is always busy in the portal, and this spring continued that trend. He went out and landed six high-major transfers, highlighted by Texas A&M transfer Jay Jay Chandler. Lance Thomas (Memphis), Tyrell Jones (Auburn), Javon Franklin (Auburn), Charles Manning Jr. (LSU) and Diante Smith (TCU) joined that group. The Jaguars also signed double-double threat Emanuel Littles from North Alabama, as well as high-scoring all-league wing Greg Parham from VMI. To make room for the newcomers, out the door went the team’s top three scorers, including first-team All-Sun Belt guard Michael Flowers, who took his 21.0 points to Washington State.
UT Martin Skyhawks: It wasn’t the easiest situation for Ryan Ridder to take over when UT Martin hired him from Bethune-Cookman. All 19 players on the Skyhawks’ 2019-20 roster entered the transfer portal, with 14 coming after the season ended. Ridder quite literally needed to start from scratch. So he went out and reloaded via the portal, bringing in seven transfers. The best of the bunch might be Division II transfer Darius Simmons, who averaged 18.2 points the last two seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne and shot better than 40% from 3.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Steve Forbes turned over most of the Demon Deacons’ roster this offseason, and considering they haven’t won more than six league games since 2017, maybe they ought to be in the “winners” category. Wake Forest lost seven players to the portal, but replaced them with two players, Dallas Walton (Colorado) and Alondes Williams (Oklahoma), who were starters on NCAA tournament teams, as well as second-team All-Missouri Valley forward Jake LaRavia. Ole Miss’ Khadim Sy brings size.
Georgia Bulldogs: Tom Crean did land a couple promising players from the portal, but they’re going to have to replace a ton of talent. Sahvir Wheeler (Kentucky) was one of the best point guards in the SEC, K.D. Johnson (Auburn) is an explosive offensive player, Toumani Camara (Dayton) averaged 12.8 points, while Justin Kier (Arizona), Tye Fagan (Ole Miss), Andrew Garcia (Kent State) and Christian Brown (Tennessee State) all left too.
Boston College Eagles: The Eagles lost their top four scorers from last season: Jay Heath (14.5 PPG) went to Arizona State, Wynston Tabbs (13.3 PPG) headed to East Carolina, Rich Kelly (11.0 PPG) stayed in the state at UMass and key defender CJ Felder (9.7 PPG) signed with Florida.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Jacob Young, Montez Mathis and Myles Johnson — three players partially responsible for one of the best two-year runs in program history — all hit the transfer portal. Young (Oregon) and Johnson (UCLA) were ranked as top-50 transfers, while Mathis (St. John’s) will be expected to make an immediate impact at a local rival.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: New head coach Ben Johnson did a solid job of getting an impressive five-man crop of mid-major transfers to join the Golden Gophers this offseason, but he needed to replace essentially last season’s entire roster. Star guard Marcus Carr (Texas) was arguably the most talented transfer all spring, while fellow starters Liam Robbins (Vanderbilt), Brandon Johnson (DePaul), Both Gach (Utah) and Gabe Kalscheur (Iowa State) all entered the portal, as did key rotation players Jamal Mashburn Jr. (New Mexico) and Tre’ Williams (Oregon State).
Pittsburgh Panthers: Justin Champagnie’s departure for the NBA draft was the most crushing personnel loss, but the productive backcourt duo of Au’diese Toney (14.4 PPG, Arkansas) and Xavier Johnson (14.2 PPG, Indiana) will also be tough to replace. Jeff Capel also lost frontcourt depth with the departure of three bench players.
South Florida Bulls: South Florida struggled last season en route to a 9-13 campaign, but the Bulls watched three starters — David Collins (Clemson), Michael Durr (Indiana), Alexis Yetna (Seton Hall) — go to the high-major level, and two other key players — Justin Brown (UAB) and Xavier Castaneda (Akron) depart.
Marquette Golden Eagles: I really like the additions of Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and George Mason transfer Tyler Kolek, a promising scorer — but Shaka Smart lost all five starters from last season, including four to the portal. Koby McEwen (Weber State), Theo John (Duke) and Jamal Cain (Oakland) left early in the offseason, but it was the departure of Dawson Garcia to North Carolina in July that was crushing.
Colorado Buffaloes: Tad Boyle didn’t have great luck with the transfer portal this spring. Not only did he lose Jeriah Horne (10.8 PPG), D’Shawn Schwartz (9.3 PPG) and Dallas Walton (6.5 PPG) to Tulsa, George Mason and Wake Forest, respectively, he also had Western Carolina transfer Mason Faulkner re-enter the portal in early August after picking the Buffaloes a few months prior. Faulkner, an all-conference guard in the SoCon, eventually landed at Louisville.
Utah Utes: Craig Smith balanced out some of the departures, but it is going to be tough to replace four players that ultimately left for Power 5 programs. Timmy Allen (Texas) was a first-team all-Pac-12 selection and one of the top five transfers in the country, while Alfonso Plummer (Florida) averaged 13.6 points. Pelle Larsson could start for conference rival Arizona, while Ian Martinez went across the country to Maryland.
Eastern Washington Eagles: After running through the Big Sky and then throwing a scare into Kansas in the NCAA tournament, it all came apart for the Eagles. Coach Shantay Legans left for Portland and all seven players who played more than three minutes in the game against Kansas hit the transfer portal. Big Sky Player of the Year Tanner Groves was the biggest loss; he and his brother, Jacob, both went to Oklahoma. Defensive Player of the Year Kim Aiken Jr. ended up at Arizona, and three players followed Legans to Portland.
Green Bay Phoenix: They lost their first nine games of the season, but ended up going 8-8 in the second half of the season — before losing their three best players to the portal. Amari Davis (17.2 PPG), Josh Jefferson (14.8 PPG) and PJ Pipes (14.5 PPG) all transferred after the season, leaving Will Ryan with a difficult job entering year two.
Ball State Cardinals: James Whitford’s team showed flashes last season, including a win over Toledo and three straight wins in late February and early March — but then lost all three of their double-figure scorers to the portal. Second-team All-MAC guard Ishmael El-Amin went to Rhode Island, honorable mention selection K.J. Walton went to Akron, and consistent scorer Jarron Coleman headed to Missouri.
Charleston Cougars: Pat Kelsey was one of the best hires of the coaching carousel, but he entered a difficult spot. All but a couple of last season’s rotation players opted to hit the transfer portal, with only Brenden Tucker and Osinachi Smart returning. Out the door went Zep Jasper (Auburn), Payton Willis (Minnesota), Brevin Galloway (Boston College) and several others. Kelsey did bounce back with a pair of solid additions in John Meeks from Bucknell and Fah’Mir Ali from Radford.
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