Last month, college basketball writer Scott Richey put the spotlight on 10 important transfers joining Big Ten teams. This time? The top-10 teams that have crushed it in the portal this offseason:
John Calipari has been content with stacking five-star freshmen on his roster. A 9-16 record last season clearly has him rethinking his approach, as he mined the portal for some legitimate transfer talent. Kellan Grady (Davidson) and CJ Fredrick (Iowa) alone shore up the Wildcats’ woeful shooting.
New Texas coach Chris Beard had some roster rebuilding to do this offseason after getting hit by the NBA draft and transfers. And only Kentucky landed a better quartet than the Longhorns, who snared Timmy Allen (Utah), Devin Askew (Kentucky), Christian Bishop (Creighton) and Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt) from the portal.
It’s an interesting mix of transfers headed to Lawrence, Kan., for the 2021-22 season. It includes a seventh-year senior in Jalen Coleman-Lands (Iowa State), a breakout star from the NCAA tournament in Joseph Yesufu (Drake), a Division II All-American in Cam Martin (Missouri Southern) and one of the Pac-12’s best in Remy Martin (Arizona State).
Alabama’s was another quality over quantity offseason taking advantage of the transfer portal. Furman forward Noah Gurley was one of the more hotly pursued transfers in the portal, and the Crimson Tide also landed a former five-star guard in Nimari Burnett in winning his recruitment a second time around.
It’s not just quantity of transfers that matters. Quality does, too, and Tony Bennett got plenty in his two new additions. Armaan Franklin (Indiana) gives the ‘Hoos a playmaking scorer/shooter, and Jayden Gardner (East Carolina) was one of the best mid-major players in the country during the past three seasons.
6. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs would have benefited from D.J. Stewart pulling his name from the NBA draft and returning for a third season. Still, coach Ben Howland managed to add three intriguing high-major transfers in Garrison Brooks (North Carolina), D.J. Jeffries (Memphis) and Shakeel Moore (North Carolina State).
First-year coach Mike Woodson got Trayce Jackson-Davis to return by promising a rebuild was off the table. The way the Hoosiers attacked the portal to add the quartet of Xavier Johnson (Pittsburgh), Miller Kopp (Northwestern), Michael Durr (South Florida) and Parker Stewart (UT Martin) could help Woodson keep that promise.
Steve Alford’s predecessor at Nevada, Eric Musselman, used the portal to his advantage to make the Wolf Pack nationally relevant. Alford essentially got himself a pair of lottery tickets in Will Baker (Texas) and Addison Patterson (Oregon), both of whom were both four-star, top-45 prospects coming out of high school.
9. New Mexico
Jamal Mashburn Jr. was coming on strong at the end of Minnesota’s 2020-21 season, and he followed coach Richard Pitino to New Mexico to keep building on that. Jaelen House (Arizona State) is another former high-major guard, and why not take a flyer on a bouncy big like Gethro Muscadin (Kansas)?
10. Grand Canyon
Sometimes, context has to be considered when evaluating a transfer. It’s not a stretch to think former high-major players like Taeshon Cherry and Holland Woods II (Arizona State), Aidan Igiehon (Louisville) and Yvan Ouedraogo (Nebraska) could have real success playing down a couple levels in the WAC.
Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is email@example.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).