Winners and losers from college basketball’s 2022 transfer portal cycle: Illinois, Miami land potential stars

Nearly all of college basketball’s major offseason transfer action is complete after another whirlwind year in which more than 1,700 Division I players entered the portal. We’ve been tracking the mayhem for the last several months through the top 25 individual transfersbut now it’s time to figure out who the winners and losers were from a team perspective.

Sometimes, all it takes is the addition of one extra piece to fuel a team to the next level. Just look at Brady Manek, who transferred from Oklahoma to North Carolina last offseason and wound up playing an integral role as a stretch forward on a Final Four squad. Kansas guard Remy Martin was another example, as he flipped a switch in the postseason and helped Kansas win the national title after transferring in from Arizona State.

Clearly, the Tar Heels and Jayhawks wound up as a couple of the big winners from last season’s transfer cycle. On the flip side, the programs from which those players came missed the NCAA Tournament after losing such productive veterans to the portal.

As college basketball’s 2022-23 rosters grow ever closer to becoming finalized, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the 2022 transfer cycle.

It’s no secret that Miami is pushing the limits of NIL in pursuit of talent in multiple sports, and it was particularly evident during this transfer cycle. The Hurricanes added our No. 2 transfer, Nijel Pack, from Kansas State and No. 2 14 Norchad Omier as well. With no outgoing transfers of note, Miami should be well-positioned to withstand the loss of graduating stars Kam McGusty and Charlie Moore to be a factor in the ACC once again.

Loser: LSU

First-year coach Matt McMahon did an admirable job of restocking the Tigers’ roster, but there’s no getting around the fact that Will Wade’s unceremonious firing led to a mass exodus for the program. At one point, LSU was down to zero remaining scholarship players from the 2021-22 roster, though a couple of guys did decide to stick around. The situation left McMahon little choice but to raid his former program and bring key Murray State players KJ Williams, Trae Hannibal and Justice Hill in to stop the bleeding.

The Illini picked up our No. 6-ranked transfer in Terrence Shannon Jr. from Texas Tech and our No. 13-ranked transfer in Matthew Mayer from Baylor. They lost the No. 17 transfer, Andre Curbelo, to St. John’s and another key contributor, Jacob Grandison, to Duke. But landing two proven and productive veterans from the Big 12 makes Illinois one of this portal cycle’s big winners. With last season’s top three scorers graduating, the Illini will have some regrouping to do. But Shannon and Mayer will ensure they don’t slip much.

Providence’s veteran-laden roster carried it far last season, and it’ll be tough for the Friars to replace the likes of Al Durham and Nate Watson overnight. It will have a chance to return to the NCAA Tournament, however, after stocking up on quality depth in the portal. Noah Locke is a career 38.7% 3-point shooter with 124 games under his belt at Florida and Louisville; Devin Carter is a guard who showed great promise as a freshman at South Carolina last season; and Clifton Moore is an excellent rim protector from La Salle. With former Class of 2021 four-star prospects Bryce Hopkins (Kentucky) and Corey Floyd Jr. (UConn) also entering, the Friars have added a nice mix of proven and promising players.

Loser: Texas Tech

Texas Tech coach Mark Adams proved to be a portal guru last year with a crop of transfers who helped the Red Raiders to a Sweet 16 appearance following Chris Beard’s departure. The addition of big man Fardaws Aimaq — our No. 5 transfer — from Utah Valley is clutch, but the departures of No. 6 Terrence Shannon Jr. (Illinois) and No. 19 Kevin McCullar (Kansas) will make replicating last season’s success tough. Gardner-Webb transfer D’Maurian Williams and Oregon transfer De’Vion Harmon will need to hit in a significant way for Texas Tech to stay on last season’s pace.

First-year coach Thad Matta wasted little time restocking the roster, as he landed our No. 21 transfer Manny Bates from NC State to serve as a rim protector in the middle. The Bulldogs also snagged four-year Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr. and a couple of mid-major additions with size in Jalen Hunter (Georgia State) and Ali Ali (Akron). Butler did lose a productive veteran in Bryce Golden during the transition from LaVall Jordan to Matta. But on the whole, the portal looks to have given more than it took away.

The addition of Baylor Scheierman, our No. 16-ranked transfer, and the loss of little production via the portal makes this a nice transfer cycle for the Blue Jays. Scheierman averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for a 30-5 South Dakota State team last season. Creighton also added TCU transfer guard Francisco Farabello, who is a career 40.2% 3-point shooter in 73 games.

Second-year coach TJ Otzelberger has experienced the highs and lows of life in the portal during his short stint at ISU. The Cyclones benefitted greatly from transfers Izaiah Brockington (Penn State), Gabe Kalscheur (Minnesota) and Caleb Grill (UNLV) during an improbable Sweet 16 run last season. But now they are losing Big 12 Freshman of the Year Tyrese Hunter to Texas while failing to land Northern Iowa’s AJ Green, who was in the portal before opting to turn pro even though his dad is on the ISU staff. A hefty incoming transfer class of Tre King (Eastern Kentucky), Jaren Holmes (St. Bonaventure), Osun Osunniyi (St. Bonaventure), Jeremiah Williams (Temple) and Hason Ward (VCU) looks solid, but it stings to lose Hunter and miss out on green.

The Buckeyes lost a couple of solid role players to the portal in Justin Ahrens and Meechie Johnson Jr. But, overall, they upgraded by landing Tanner Holden, our No. 12 transfer, from Wright State, along with former West Virginia 3-point specialist Sean McNeil and ex-Oklahoma State guard Isaac Likekele. Ohio State is losing a lot to graduation, so coach Chris Holtmann will likely rely heavily on the incoming trio.

Loser: Kansas State

Kansas State lost Nijel Pack, the Big 12’s third-leading scorer, to Miami in a high-dollar NIL deal. Pack averaged 17.4 points per game on 43.6% 3-point shooting for the Wildcats. Some quality depth pieces also left amid the transition from Bruce Weber to Jerome Tang, and this has the makings of a rebuilding season.

The Huskies added a trio of solid power conference transfers in Kentucky forward Keion Brooks Jr., Washington State guard Noah Williams and Oregon big man Franck Kepnang. They diid lose second-leading scorer Emmitt Matthews Jr., who is transferring back to West Virginia. But overall, this transfer haul is a net-positive for sixth-year coach Mike Hopkins.

Loser: USC

The Trojans are welcoming the nation’s No. 9-ranked recruiting class to campus, and that four-player group may be called upon to make significant contributions since USC added nothing from the portal. Role players Max Agbonkpolo and Ethan Anderson left for Wyoming after three seasons of steady contributions. With no incoming transfers to replace them, this team looks a bit lean on proven depth.

Winner: Florida

New coach Todd Golden did a nice job of ensuring his first Florida team will be competitive by snagging Belmont’s Will Richard, St. Bonaventure’s Kyle Lofton, VMI’s Trey Bonham and LSU’s Alex Fudge from the portal. The first three are guards who each averaged double figures last season, while Fudge is a versatile former four-star prospect who played 13.9 minutes per game for LSU last year.

Loser: Washington State

The Cougars took strides in Kyle Smith’s third season as coach by finishing 11-9 in Pac-12 play and reaching the NIT title game. Then the roster took a hit. Veteran guard Noah Williams transferred to Washington after seeing his role diminished in the season’s second half, and double-figure scorer Tyrell Roberts exited for San Francisco as well. Perhaps the toughest blow, though, is former Pac-12 All-Freshman center Efe Abogidi, who left for the G League Ignite program. Landing Tennessee transfer guard Justin Powell is a nice get, but he will need to regain the form he showed as a freshman at Auburn in 2020-21 in order to become an impact player.

Winner: St. John’s

With do-it-all wing Julian Champagnie, graduated, veteran coach Mike Anderson landed a couple solid transfers in David Jones and Andre Curbelo to help mitigate the loss of production. Jones is a 6-foot-6 stat-sheet stuffer who averaged 14.5 points for DePaul last season, while Curbelo is a point guard who was the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year at Illinois in 2020-21. If Curbelo can find the form he enjoyed as a freshman, he’ll be a force in the Big East.

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