The transfer portal has changed how the NCAA basketball offseason operates. Which programs have navigated the portal best in the 2022 offseason so far?
Good get. Great land. Huge addition.
The transfer portal has quickly become one of the most discussed topics in NCAA basketball in recent years. With well over a thousand players “portalling” every spring, securing transfers is now almost a necessity to cultivate a consistently successful program. The sheer number of transfers — and high-impact ones — has created a seismic shift in the recruiting calendar. The opening two months of every offseason now feature a frenzy of frantic recruiting battles for established college players.
Over 1,500 Division-I players (including walk-ons) entered the transfer portal this year alone. This current level of roster turnover in the sport is well-documented, and the importance of playing the transfer market has risen over the past few years. The value in landing a high-quality transfer is evident in how many significantly impact winning teams each year.
Being able to navigate the portal successfully does not mean just securing commitments from newcomers, though. After all, the transfer portal is a two-way street of arrivals and departures. It is equally as crucial for programs to be able to retain their preexisting talent as it is to add new pieces. Every team wants to get better via the transfer portal, but not every team does.
With many of the top transfers still on the market, the offseason is far from complete in NCAA basketball. Yet, several programs have already made their marks in the transfer portal with their ability to secure top talent while also retaining their key pieces. Here is a look at some teams that have benefitted from the 2022 transfer cycle.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Bluebloods are always at the forefront of NCAA basketball discussions, but Miami (FL) stole the spotlight for a portion of this offseason with its work in the transfer portal. Perhaps most importantly, the Hurricanes used robust NIL packages to land new talent and retain the stars already on their roster.
Miami landed one of the top guards in the portal this summer in Nijel Pack (Kansas State). Being able to lure the Midwest product away from Purdue and Ohio State is a big deal, and he will immediately fill a post-Charlie Moore void at point guard as a likely All-ACC performer. Just a sophomore this past season, the 17.4 points per game scorer also has plenty of eligibility remaining.
In the frontcourt, the Hurricanes landed Arkansas State transfer Norchad Omier. The forward is fresh off winning the Sun Belt Player of the Year award while averaging a double-double of 17.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. His offensive and defensive rebounding rates ranked in the top 11 nationally.
Miami was also able to keep Isaiah Wong from entering the transfer portal. He is going through the NBA Draft process, but it will be for Miami if he returns to college basketball. This past year, Wong was a key figure on the Hurricanes’ Elite Eight team, averaging 15.3 points per game.
Pack and Omier form one of the better transfer classes in the country while retaining Wong is enormous. The ‘Canes appear poised for another NCAA Tournament berth.
Providence posted one of the best seasons in program history during this past campaign, thanks to a fantastic group of transfers. Head coach Ed Cooley did a superb job traversing the transfer portal to find key figures, and the likes of Jared Bynum, Noah Horcler, Justin Minaya and Al Durham all stepped up and guided the Friars to their first Sweet 16 since 1997. Now, Coach Cooley appears to have reloaded again with another strong group of transfer additions.
Providence is bringing in four high-major transfers to bolster its wing for next season. Noah Locke, previously of Florida and Louisville, is a career 38.7 percent 3-point shooter who should instantly provide perimeter scoring in The Dunk. He will join SEC All-Freshman Team member Devin Carter, who transferred from South Carolina, in the guard rotation for Providence next season.
The Friars also landed former four-star recruits Bryce Hopkins (Kentucky) and Corey Floyd Jr. (UConn). Neither has played much in college yet but they were both highly regarded out of high school. They will have plenty of time to blossom in Providence uniforms.
The Friars did lose some players to the transfer portal, but all of them moved down a level. Coach Cooley upgraded his roster since the end of the season.
Star guard Jordan “Jelly” Walker guided UAB to the NCAA Tournament last season, and he is back for more in 2022-23 after withdrawing from the NBA Draft process. And while he lost his running mates Michael Ertel and Quan Jackson, he might have a better supporting cast around him this year. Head coach Andy Kennedy navigated the portal brilliantly to secure the necessary pieces to repeat in the CUSA and possibly make some national noise.
LSU transfer guard Eric Gaines is the prized addition to UAB’s roster next season. The 6-2 guard averaged 9.0 points and 2.9 assists per game for LSU last season while proving his abilities as a defensive menace. Rated as a five-star transfer (No. 11 overall) by EvanMiya, Gaines is arguably the best pick-up by any mid-major in the country this offseason. His defensive impact will lead to a dynamic backcourt duo with Walker.
UAB was also able to secure commitments from the Brewer brothers of East Tennessee State. Ledarrius Brewer is a two-time All-SoCon performer as a 6-5 guard who has been a double-digit scorer in each of his four collegiate seasons (at SEMO and ETSU). His brother, Ty Brewer, is a 6-9 forward fresh off averaging 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season; he started his career at Southeastern Louisiana before transferring to ETSU and now UAB.
Coach Kennedy’s transfer class includes Javian Davis from Mississippi State and Tyler Bertram from Binghamton. UAB is primed to be one of the best mid-majors in the country next season.
Florida made a coaching change this offseason, turning to rising star Todd Golden as the next program leader. Coach Golden retained key pieces Colin Castleton and Kowacie Reeves while also landing four big-time transfers. Point guard Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure) is the most experienced of the group as a three-time All-A10 selection with career averages of 13.9 points and 5.2 assists per game. He will instantly start at the 1 and be an excellent pick-and-roll partner for Castleton.
Belmont transfer Will Richard is likely Florida’s best addition this offseason. The 6-5 wing averaged 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a freshman last season for one of the best mid-majors in the country. He has a bright future ahead of him and should continue to produce at a high-major. LSU transfer Alex Fudge was another high-ceiling addition as a 6-8 forward rated as the No. 57 overall player in the 2020 recruiting class. He is an excellent defender.
With those three commitments stealing the headlines, the addition of VMI transfer Trey Bonham has flown a bit under the radar. As a sophomore last season, the 6-0 guard averaged 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. He will be a piece in the backcourt rotation right away and a possible starter down the road.
Florida’s most significant loss this offseason was Tyree Appleby (transferred to Wake Forest), but it upgraded with Lofton. Fudge, Richard and Bonham are all substantial additions with the eligibility to be long-term difference-makers. There is a lot to like about the early trajectory in Gainesville under Coach Golden.
Butler entered this offseason with an uncertain future. After firing LaVall Jordan and subsequently hiring Thad Matta, though, the Bulldogs quickly regained momentum. Matta’s ability to retain Chuck Harris, Simas Lukosius, and Jayden Taylor – among others – was the first step. Butler struggled the past two seasons but was not without young talent. The program then took to the transfer portal to build around that core.
Akron transfer Ali Ali was the first to ink his commitment. A versatile wing, Ali brings excellent size to the perimeter at 6-8 with three-level scoring and multipositional defensive abilities. He was named All-MAC last season while guiding the Zips to the NCAA Tournament. In 11 games against the KenPom top 151 last season, Ali averaged 16.0 points per game on 42.5 percent from three; the likelihood of his game translating appears high.
Butler then bolstered its frontcourt with Manny Bates and Jalen Thomas. The Dawgs have lacked shot-blocking in the past, but that is about to change. Bates missed this past season (shoulder) but ranked first and 18th nationally in block rate during his first two seasons at NC State. Thomas is similarly strong in that department, posting three straight seasons in the top 100 at Georgia State.
Eric Hunter Jr. finished Butler’s transfer class as an ultra-experienced two-way guard. The Purdue transfer was named to the Big Ten’s All-Defense Team last season while shooting 43.6 percent from three on the other end. He started 74 of 128 career games with the Boilermakers and is a proven contributor ready to end his career right in his hometown.
Butler accomplished its primary goals in the transfer portal. Adding shot-blocking, perimeter shooting and experienced ball-handling should go a long way in Coach Matta turning the Dawgs around.
California Baptist Lancers
California Baptist made the jump to Division-I just a few years back and is yet to reach the NCAA Tournament. Could that change in 2022-23? Head coach Rick Croy’s work in the transfer portal plays a significant role in that possibility. Losing Daniel Akin in the frontcourt is substantial, but the program landed four transfers who should all be impact players in the WAC.
The most notable of these newcomers is Utah transfer Riley Battin. The 6-9 forward brings legit size and experience to the frontcourt, having started 80 of 118 games with the Utes. He averaged a career-low 4.4 points per game this past season but is still a solid stretch forward who should fit nicely in a CBU system that ranked 60th nationally in 3-point attempt rate last season.
Loyola Marymount transfer Joe Quintana’s fit with California Baptist is easy to spot due to his floor-spacing. The 6-2 guard averaged a career-high 13.1 points per game last season and is a deadly 3-point shooter. He hit 122-of-284 (43.0 percent) from beyond the arc over the previous two seasons while also drilling 87.5 percent of his free-throw shots. Albeit on less volume than Quintana, New Hampshire transfer Blondeau Tchoukuiegno is a reliable shooter at 38.4 percent for his career (138 attempts).
California Baptist’s returning roster features one of the best passers in the entire country in Taran Armstrong. Providing Armstrong, who ranked fourth nationally in assist rate last season, with more perimeter shooting threats opens the door for a dangerous offense next year. California Baptist also continued its Australian pipeline, including Armstrong, by landing South Dakota transfer Hunter Goodrick.
Nobody traverses the transfer portal quite as often, or as well, as Eric Musselman. He did an incredible job building Nevada via the portal and has done much of the same at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are experiencing a ton of roster turnover this offseason, but expectations are sky-high in Fayetteville. Jaylin Williams’ looming NBA Draft decision will determine their preseason ranking, but a top 10 spot feels likely regardless. Bringing in elite recruits, including the No. 1 player in the nation, contributes to that but so does the transfer class.
If nothing else, Arkansas piled up size this offseason. Starting in the frontcourt, Arizona State transfer forward Jalen Graham brings length at 6-9 and a 7-2 wingspan, averaging 9.9 points per game for the Sun Devils last season. Another high-major transfer, Trevon Brazile of Missouri, stands at 6-9 and started 23 of 25 games last season. The Razorbacks secured commitments from Rhode Island transfers Makhel and Makhi Mitchell. Both averaged over nine points per game for the Rams last season and stand at around 6-10.
Coach Musselman also prioritized positional size in the backcourt with Ricky Council IV (6-6). He brings plus-size to the guard position and is a proven contributor at the collegiate level. Council posted 12 points per game at Wichita State last season as the AAC 6MOY. He was also an All-Freshman Team member the year before. He should fit nicely with elite recruits Nick Smith and Anthony Black in the backcourt.
The Muss Bus is about as good as it gets in the transfer portal, and he was a winner yet again.
UConn was not without defections this offseason. The Huskies lost a trio of former four-star recruits to the transfer portal in Akok Akok, Corey Floyd Jr. and Rahsool Diggins. Those are not easy departures to overcome, especially as RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin both graduated after the season. Yet, the more the offseason progresses, the better UConn’s transfer class looks.
First and foremost, Tristen Newton is one of the most underrated additions in the entire country. The 6-5 guard from Eastern Carolina is fresh off an All-AAC season in which he averaged 17.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. While his career 31.6 percent shooting from three leaves some to be desired, Newton is an elite free-throw shooter (85.2 percent for his career). He brings plenty of size to the backcourt and is a superb creator both for others and himself.
UConn paired Newton with two other high-major transfer guards in Nahiem Alleyne and Hassan Diarra. Alleyne posted three straight seasons averaging at least eight points per game on better than 37 percent from three for Virginia Tech before transferring. He is an excellent shooter and has experience with 84 career starts. Diarra, who spent the last two seasons at Texas A&M, is returning to the northeast and is a strong competitor on both ends of the floor.
The Huskies already featured a star big in Adama Sanogo, but they revamped their backcourt in a big way with this transfer class. Newton is the group jewel, but there is a lot to like about the trio.
Last season, Bryant reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, winning the automatic bid after a 15-2 NEC record. The Bulldogs have performed well under head coach Jared Grasso but faced the arduous task of needing to replace the nation’s leading scorer this offseason. Peter Kiss is gone, but the talent pool in Smithfield still increased.
The highest-profile addition is Memphis transfer Earl Timberlake. The 6-6 wing started his career at Miami (FL) before averaging 17.1 minutes per game this past season for the Tigers. He is a former top 40 recruit and could be an elite performer in the NEC. Timberlake has received his waiver to be eligible next season, as has fellow addition Miles Latimer of Stony Brook/Bucknell.
Antwan Walker is also coming to Bryant via a highly regarded conference, having played at Georgetown and Rhode Island. He averaged 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game over the last two campaigns for the Rams.
Moving to the backcourt, Chauncey Hawkins might be undersized, but the intra-conference transfer is a proven contributor. The 5-8 lead guard posted 16.0 points and 4.4 assists per game last season for St. Francis Brooklyn. Coach Grasso also landed March Madness cult hero Doug Edert to supply perimeter shooting either in a starting or reserve role.
The transfer class also features former CAA All-Freshman performer Kvonn Cramer (Hofstra) and former A10 Sixth Man of the Year Sherif Kenney (La Salle). There are a lot of new faces coming to Bryant next season. Timberlake and Walker are both regarded as top 100 transfer additions by EvanMiya, and the Bulldogs could be competing for another NCAA Tournament bid in 2023.
This past season, Richmond reached the NCAA Tournament – and the second round – mainly on the back of an experienced core. And while the majority of that core has since departed, the Spiders secured strong reinforcements via the transfer market. Leading scorer Tyler Burton has the option to return for next season but is currently testing the NBA Draft waters. Richmond could be pretty strong if he returns alongside an intriguing transfer class.
The Citadel transfer Jason Roche stands out as a crucial addition due to his proven elite skill and remaining eligibility. The 6-5 guard was only a freshman during this past season and is an absolute flamethrower from beyond the arc. The Citadel shoots more threes than just about anyone, but Roche remained efficient from three even with one of the greenest lights in the country. He shot 110-for-277 (39.7 percent) from three. Everyone needs a sniper, and Roche is one.
However, the best fit for Richmond’s system might be Lafayette transfer Neal Quinn. Coach Mooney’s Princeton-inspired offense helped Grant Golden thrive over the past few years, and Quinn is similarly skilled. The 7-footer averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game last season. The Spiders also landed 6-7 Wofford transfer Isaiah Bigelow to add more size to their roster.
Richmond might have difficulty reloading after graduating several key pieces, but this transfer class is a solid place to start.
Creighton reached the NCAA Tournament last season despite rating as one of the youngest teams in the entire country. Ryan Nembhard, Arthur Kaluma and Trey Alexander form a tremendous underclassmen trio to build around, while Ryan Kalkbrenner is the anchor inside. Before the transfer season, there was much to like about the Bluejays; many prognosticators placed them as an early top 10 squad.
Head coach Greg McDermott upgraded his already-strong roster with a pair of transfer additions. The most notable is, without a doubt, South Dakota State’s Baylor Scheierman. While he is currently testing the NBA Draft waters, Scheierman committed to Creighton if he does return for another year of college ball. The 6-6 guard guided one of the nation’s top offenses last season while averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
Creighton also added some backcourt depth with TCU transfer Francisco Farabello. A 6-4 guard with 73 games under his belt, Farabello should be a solid reserve behind Big East Freshman of the Year Ryan Nembhard.
Creighton was firm defensively last season but lacked a program staple: 3-point shooting. Both Scheierman and Farebello are excellent perimeter threats, shooting over 40 percent from distance for their careers. Coach McDermott filled what appeared to be his only need this offseason, and Scheierman returning from the draft process would make the Bluejays a preseason top-5 team.
San Diego Toreros
Former St. John’s and UCLA head coach Steve Lavin is back on the sidelines, this time with San Diego. The Toreros have not posted a winning record in WCC play since the 2008 season, which was also their last NCAA Tournament berth. While the road to the Big Dance will be a long and winding one for USD, the program should improve this season thanks to Coach Lavin’s work in the transfer portal.
The transfer portal headlines are dominated by top-tier programs landing the best mid-major players in the country. The flip side of that is that mid-majors can swoop in for down transfers to make a big difference in smaller conferences. San Diego was able to do just that this offseason with two high-major down transfers coming to the program.
Jaiden Delaire and Eric Williams Jr. committed to San Diego after spending their past few seasons in the Pac-12. Delaire, the conference’s Most Improved Player in 2020-21, averaged double-figures in back-to-back seasons with Stanford before transferring. Williams similarly put up good numbers, averaging 9.0 points per game over two seasons with Oregon. The last member of the transfer class is Lehigh big Nic Lynch, who was an All-Patriot selection this past season.
Delaire (6-9), Williams (6-6) and Lynch (6-11) all provide more size for the Toreros. San Diego was also able to bring Marcellus Earlington back from the transfer portal. The former St. John’s guard averaged 13.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Toreros last season. With him in the fold, and the incoming transfer class, USD appears poised to finish in the upper half of the WCC.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State quietly put together one of the better transfer classes in the country this spring. While none of their additions necessarily jump off the computer screen, the Buckeyes added three high-quality pieces that can impact games differently. Justin Ahrens (Loyola Marymount) and Meechie Johnson (South Carolina) were the only two departures. Meanwhile, head coach Chris Holtmann upgraded his roster with a new-look backcourt.
Former Oklahoma State guard Isaac Likekele is Ohio State’s highest-rated newcomer on EvanMiya, coming in as a five-star transfer at No. 21 overall. While a non-threat as a shooter, Likekele is a dynamite defender who can help set the tone at the point of attack. He started 110 of 114 games with the Cowboys over the last four years and brings good size to the backcourt at 6-5.
Ohio State also prioritized positional size by landing 6-6 Wright State guard Tanner Holden. A two-time All-Horizon selection, Holden averaged 20.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season for an NCAA Tournament team. He started all but one game in three years with WSU. While not a high-volume 3-point shooter, Holden is an excellent foul shooter who gets to the stripe often.
Ohio State rounded out its transfer class with a perimeter shooter in Sean McNeil. The West Virginia transfer guard averaged precisely 12.2 points per game in each of his last two seasons. He connected on 126-of-333 (37.8 percent) attempts from three over those campaigns.
Frank Martin is back on the sidelines. The longtime South Carolina head coach took the UMass job this spring and immediately landed several high-major down transfers who could help lead a resurgence. The Minutemen have not finished in the KenPom top 100 in eight seasons. With a new head coach and a ton of roster turnover due to transfers both in and out, UMass will look substantially different next season. All five of the Minutemen’s transfer additions for next season are coming to the program via down transfers from power conferences.
A pair of players are following Coach Martin to UMass from South Carolina: Wildens Leveque and TaQuan Woodley. The former is a 6-11 forward who was a full-time starter for the Gamecocks last season while posting the nation’s 131st-best block rate. On the other hand, Woodley filled a reserve role as a 6-7 freshman forward but showed strong rebounding instincts.
Coach Martin also landed a pair of former four-star recruits hoping to find their footing in a new environment. Sharpshooting forward Matt Cross has bounced around throughout his career, playing one season each at Miami and Louisville. UConn transfer guard Rahsool Diggins is the other high-profile land. Last season, he appeared in just nine games for the Huskies and might need a change of scenery; he was the No. 59 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class.
Boston College transfer Gianni Thompson is also joining the program. The 6-8 forward appeared in 19 games as a freshman this past season. He was a top 200 recruit out of high school. Thompson, Leveque and Cross are all originally from Massachusetts. Coach Martin has done an excellent job quickly bringing talented players home.
St. John’s Red Storm
With Julian Champagnie departing for the pros, St. John’s had a significant hole to fill. The Red Storm needed to add more star power around Posh Alexander to contend for an NCAA Tournament bid in 2022-23. With the additions of Andre Curbelo and David Jones, both with All-Big East potential, they were able to accomplish just that. St. John’s was efficient in the portal, making its two additions count as both are rated as top 25 transfers by most outlets.
Curbelo returns to the NYC area after two years at Illinois. The former LuHi product was named the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman but struggled to live up to additional hype as a sophomore due to injuries. A stellar yet risky playmaker, Curbelo will push Alexander into more of an off-guard role. The Curbelo/Alexander backcourt is talented but could produce a variety of results. The two guards are a combined 44-for-192 (22.9 percent) from three for their careers.
If anyone can help replace Champagnie’s offensive load, DePaul transfer David Jones is the guy. A major breakout player last season, Jones averaged 14.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while trying his best to pull the Blue Demons out of the Big East cellar. Jones should be the favorite to lead SJU in scoring next season. A career 27.3 percent 3-point shooter, he is unlikely to improve the team’s offensive spacing.
St. John’s offseason feels risky. While Jones’ addition doesn’t require an explanation, Curbelo is a bit of a hit-or-miss player, and his fit alongside Alexander is questionable on paper. Regardless, the Red Storm succeeded in the transfer portal. They needed to upgrade their talent pool post-Champagnie and pulled in two high-profile additions.