College Basketball: Power Ranking the Top 25 Transfers of the 2012-2013 Season

Rob WeilCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2012

College Basketball: Power Ranking the Top 25 Transfers of the 2012-2013 Season

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    Every player would ideally love to sign the letter of intent at his chosen school and play his four years there without any issues cropping up. Unfortunately, that is wishful thinking and
    every year numerous players make the decision to change the scenery around them
    and finish their college basketball careers at a different school.

    A player's reason for leaving a school are too numerous to list individually. Whether it be playing time issues, homesickness, family issues, an issue with playing style or an unpatchable
    divide with the coach each situation is unique in its own way.

    The following 25 players that I will be ranking will each be taking their talents to new schools next season.
    Their coaches hope that they will be the missing link that pushes their new school over the top. Dick Vitale refers to them as 'Marco Polo' players, regardless you will want to remember these new faces in new places as the upcoming college basketball season draws near.

    So sit back and read on as I rank the top 25 impact transfers of the 2012-2013 college basketball season.

25. Sam McLaurin (Coastal Carolina to Illinois)

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    With the exception of guard Brandon Paul, new head coach John Groce is inheriting a pretty bare cupboard as he enters his first season at Illinois.

    No one will confuse the Fighting Illini for a Big Ten title contender this season, but Groce could use some immediate firepower now rather than later. The Illini were understandably excited/relieved when 6'8" Coastal Carolina forward Sam McLaurin announced that he would be transferring to Illinois for his final collegiate season.

    Sam McLaurin's frontcourt presence is an especially welcome addition after sophomore center Myers Leonard forewent his final two seasons of eligibility with Illinois and entered the NBA Draft. McLaurin adds depth to a thin Illini frontcourt and gives John Groce an experienced post presence who performed at a high level during his time at Coastal Carolina. It is quite possible that McLaurin will immediately step into a starting role in the frontcourt for Groce. None of Illinois returning big men averaged more than five points per game last season.

    McLaurin will have to adapt to competing in the post against Big Ten competition after playing in the Big South conference throughout his collegiate career. Competition aside though, Sam's 10 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season are impressive and should help an Illinois team that desperately needed a low-post presence.

24. Julius Mays (Wright State to Kentucky)

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    Chalk this transfer up as the big fish in the small pond who is now moving on to swim with the sharks.

    Julius Mays served as the leader of a Wright State team that only won 13 games last year and finished in the bottom tier of the Horizon League standings. Mays led the Raiders in points and assists last season, scoring 14.1 points and dishing out 2.5 assists per contest. Julius will now take his talents to Lexington for his senior campaign where he will play for a Kentucky team that will win slightly more than 13 games next season.

    The only question now is what role Mays will play on John Calipari's talent rich roster. Kentucky is receiving in Julius Mays a deadly accurate three point shooter and a guard who has proven his capability as a scorer albeit at the Horizon League level. It should be noted that Julius initially began his collegiate career at NC State where he played more sparingly as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Wright State.

    Mays won't receive the 33.4 minutes per game that he did last season with the Raiders as he will be competing for time in the backcourt with NC State transfer Ryan Harrow as well as prep phenom Archie Goodwin. Nevertheless, Julius outside shooting and scoring prowess should prove helpful as he serves as a role player for this elite Kentucky team.

23. Nurideen Lindsey (St. John's to Rider)

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    As I watched St. John's play Arizona and Mississippi State in the EA Sports 2k Classic early last year in Madison Square Garden, I couldn't help but focus my viewing attention on Red Storm guard Nurideen Lindsey.

    Lindsey's explosiveness and penetrating ability was quickly evident as the 6'3" guard got to the rim often. He quickly made his presence felt on a young St. John's team scoring in double figures in each of the club's first five games.

    Alas, Nuri's time with the Red Storm proved to be short lived as he transferred from the school just nine games into the season. The former junior college product admittedly flailed during the end of his nine game stretch with St. John's. Lindsey's minutes and points took a dramatic drop-off during his final two games versus Kentucky and Detroit.

    Lindsey will now resume his collegiate career at MAAC based Rider University. He will attempt to elevate Rider, a team who was competitive in the MAAC last year, but did not have the firepower to keep pace with conference frontrunners Iona and Manhattan.

    One possible downside to Lindsey's game is that he can be a high volume shooter to a fault sometimes. With that being said, Nuri should be encouraged to look for his own shot when he sees it as he will be joining a Rider team that loses their two top leading scorers from last season.

22. Colton Iverson (Minnesota to Colorado State)

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    Colton Iverson originally transferred to Colorado State under the assumption that he would play under then Rams head coach Tim Miles. Alas, Miles masterfully lead Colorado State to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2003 and was rewarded shortly after with an offer to become the head coach at Nebraska, which he accepted.

    Now Iverson will come to Colorado State and play for new head coach Larry Eustachy. Colorado State will receive in Colton Iverson a 6'10", 260-lb post presence who brings with him high-major playing experience from his time at Minnesota. Colton should provide the most immediate assistance in the rebounding department where Colorado State finished 300th amongst Division I teams in rebounds per game last season.

    Colton Iverson will likely start from day one for a Colorado State team that has established backcourt personnel, but lacks a legitimate big man in the frontcourt. Iverson never overwhelmed at Minnesota, but he could be a crucial cog for Colorado State as they attempt to continue their ascent up the Mountain West pecking order.

21. Wally Judge (Kansas State to Rutgers)

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    Mike Rice has been quietly building a roster at Rutgers that has the necessary talent to return the Scarlet Knights to the ever elusive NCAA Tournament. Rutgers last NCAA Tournament appearance came in 1991 when Jerry Tarkanian still had 'The Greatest Show on The Strip' that was the UNLV Runnin' Rebels flying high.

    There is no denying that the ship is moving in the right direction in Piscataway though. The young guard trio of Eli Carter, Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears showed tremendous promise as freshmen and should continue to show further progression in their sophomore seasons.

    The frontcourt is on far less stable footing though, but the addition of Kansas State transfer Wally Judge does give the Scarlet Knights a legitimate post presence to play with in the rugged Big East conference. Judge is a former five-star recruit who never found his footing while playing under Head Coach Frank Martin at Kansas State as a freshman and sophomore.

    Wally will man the post area next season along with Lithuanian forward Gilvydas Biruta. For the improvements that Rutgers has made, the Scarlet Knight offense was far from high octane last season. Mike Rice is banking on the idea that a change of scenery will bring out the potential that scouts saw in Wally Judge coming out of high school. He will need Wally to provide some much needed scoring and rebounding assistance.

20. Juwan Staten (Dayton to West Virginia)

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    Darryl 'Truck' Bryant leaves West Virginia after four seasons of being the driving force (pun intended) behind head coach Bob Huggins' Mountaineer offense. Bryant's ability to drive to the basket as well as push the ball up the floor became staples of his time in Morgantown. It is only fitting then that Bryant's successor at point guard is a young man who was nicknamed 'The Blur' in high school.

    Juwan Staten was a former top 50 recruit coming out of high school who committed to Dayton as a sophomore  despite being recruited by nearby Big 10 powers Ohio State and Purdue. Despite the early commitment, Staten left Dayton after one season amid concerns that the offense put too many restrictions on the speedy point guard.

    “Nobody wanted it to end like this. But when you recruit better kids, you’ve got to adjust your philosophy to fit the kids you’ve got there. But it was, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’ You start saying to yourself, ‘What am I?’" Juwan's father Bill Staten ultimately said of his son leaving Dayton.

    Now Juwan will take his game to a West Virginia program that is in need of playmakers who can create their own offense after losing the aforementioned 'Truck' Bryant as well as Kevin Jones. With that being said, West Virginia is also a program that has a head coach in Bob Huggins that does not have a history of letting players adjust his coaching philosophy.

    Either way it should be very interesting to see how Juwan Staten's tenure at West Virginia ultimately plays

19. Dwayne Polee Jr. (St. John's to San Diego State)

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    After playing in 'The Big Apple' as a freshman for Steve Lavin at St. Johns, Dwayne Polee Jr. is now returning to his home state of California to play for San Diego State.

    Dwayne Polee Jr. is a 6'7" forward out of Los Angeles that has outstanding length and athleticism. Polee Jr. received substantial playing time as a freshman at St. John's. He also showed the potential that has San Diego State head coach Steve Fischer excited. Dwayne scored 12 points during the Red Storm's second round loss to Gonzaga in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

    Polee Jr. should benefit from playing alongside dynamic guards Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley as well as Virginia transfer James Johnson. San Diego State is similar to UNLV in that the Aztecs would have had a top 25 caliber squad without Polee Jr., but the transfer's addition will only make SDSU that much better. 

18. Jabari Brown (Oregon to Missouri)

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    The validity of a transfer such as Jabari Brown depends largely on how much stock you put in the rankings and projections of the good people at websites such as Rivals, Scout and ESPN.

    Jabari came out of high school highly regarded (ranked the 19th overall prospect in the class of 2011 by Rivals) and signed to play basketball at Oregon after compiling a scholarship offer list that included many of the country's top programs.

    Jabari Brown would ultimately leave Oregon after starting the first two games of the season. Now the highly touted guard will re-emerge at Missouri where the Tigers will need to replace the production of guards Marcus Denmon and Kim English.

    Judging by his prep highlights, Brown has a sweet stroke from the perimeter and shows no problem attacking the basket. These two traits should prove especially useful in a Missouri offensive system where three pointers are fired at a premium and the shot clock rarely goes under 10 seconds.

    Jabari will join established mainstays Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey as well as transfers Earnest Ross and Keion Bell to a backcourt mix that appears to once again be fully loaded.

    Jabari Brown appears to have all the makings of an elite talent, but the final verdict will hang in the balance until we see his production on the college hardwood.

17. Malcolm Armstead (Oregon to Wichita State)

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    Wichita State's second round loss to 12 seed Virginia Commonwealth in the NCAA Tournament served as a bitter end to what was otherwise a highly successful 27-win season for the Shockers.  Despite the departures of senior leaders Joe Ragland and Garrett Stutz, the Shockers should once again be highly competitive next season as they have shown the ability to reload rather than rebuild.

    Adding Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead is a welcome addition for Wichita State and exemplifies the program's aforementioned reloading ability. Armstead will play his senior season for the Missouri Valley program. He should blend in seamlessly as the floor general for head coach Gregg Marshall. Malcolm averaged over four assists per game during his final season at Oregon and his distributing ability will likely be a greater asset than his scoring.

    Malcolm Armstead should start immediately in the backcourt next season at Wichita State as the Shockers will be losing veteran guards Joe Ragland and Toure' Murry.  Armstead's play at point guard next season will be critical as Wichita State challenges a fully loaded Creighton squad for conference supremacy in the Missouri Valley.

16. Korie Lucious (Michigan State to Iowa State)

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    Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg had tremendous success last season with Minnesota transfer Royce White and to a lesser extent with former Michigan State product Chris Allen. With that being said, it only makes sense that Hoiberg and the Cyclones should dip into the Big Ten transfer well again. This time the Cyclones will add Allen's former teammate at Michigan State Korie Lucious.

    Lucious showed moments of greatness during his time in East Lansing and also brings with him an abundance of winning experience. Korie is a welcome addition for an Iowa State team that loses the services of the aforementioned Royce White and Chris Allen as well as Scott Christopherson.

    One interesting subplot to follow in Lucious' transfer to Iowa State will be whether he can flesh out a better chemistry with Fred Hoiberg than he did with Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. Lucious was never on the same wavelength with Tom during his time at Michigan State and eventually was dismissed from the team by Izzo.

    Korie Lucious is a gamble of sorts as are many of the players on this list. Nevertheless, Iowa State is taking on heavy losses from its NCAA Tournament team. The Cyclones will need Lucious to contribute in a big way if they hope to not fall too far.

15. Eric Wise (UC Irvine to USC)

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    USC only won six games last season and clearly lacked the talent that is necessary to ascend the PAC-12 standings. Needless to say, the Men of Troy need some immediate reinforcements. Help is needed in more than one area, but USC will get some much needed assistance in the form of UC Irvine transfer Eric Wise.

    The 6'6" Wise impressed during his three seasons at UC Irvine. Eric was not only a high volume scorer, but also proved to be a relentless rebounded for the Anteaters. In just three seasons, Wise came just a few points and rebounds short from cementing his name on the school's all-time leader board in both scoring and rebounding. The former UC Irvine product averaged 16.3 points per game as a sophomore and a junior which is welcome news for a USC team that only put up 52.6 points per game as a team last season.

    This transfer serves as a win-win for both sides. Eric Wise wants to play on a stage bigger than the Big West conference tournament during his senior season. USC meanwhile is looking for any prospects that will help them win more than six games next season. Wise will not carry the Trojans to Selection Sunday, but it will be interesting to see if his presence can vault USC out of the bottom floor of the Pac-12 standings.

14. Luke Hancock (George Mason to Louisville)

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    This is a case of the filthy rich just getting richer.

    Louisville already returns talents such as point guard Peyton Siva, swingman Wayne Blackshear and forwards Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan. In addition, the Cardinals will welcome George Mason transfer Luke Hancock into the fold.

    If the name Luke Hancock sounds strangely familiar, this clip from the 2011 NCAA Tournament may help jog your memory.

    During his time at George Mason, Hancock showed great skill as a distributor and was also a very efficient shooter. Hancock's willingness to distribute the basketball should allow him to blend in seamlessly as a newcomer on this Louisville team. Luke won't require a set number of shots per game, rather he will fit in nicely as another versatile talent on what was already one of the deepest teams in the country.

    Luke Hancock will not put up gaudy stats, but his all around solid game will further aid this Louisville team that has legitimate national title aspirations.

13. Bryce Jones (USC to UNLV)

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    UNLV had a top 25 caliber squad already with Mike Moser, Anthony Marshall, transfer Khem Birch and elite recruit Anthony Bennett on board for the upcoming 2012-2013 season. That is why, the addition of USC transfer Bryce Jones only further stockpiles this talented Runnin' Rebels squad.

    Bryce Jones was a former top 100 recruit as rated by Rivals who played extensive minutes during the beginning of his freshman season at USC, but Bryce left the team halfway through the year after seeing his playing time decrease. Jones' exit from USC may not have been graceful, but he did show why he was such a coveted prospect coming out of high school during his brief time with the Trojans. Bryce scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds during his debut performance at USC in a game against UC Irvine.

    Bryce will play alongside Anthony Marshall in the Rebels' backcourt and serve as a replacement for departed senior Oscar Bellfield. Jones time in Los Angeles didn't go as planned, but he will now put down new roots in Vegas where he will play for a UNLV team that is equipped to make a deep run next March.

12. Khem Birch (Pittsburgh to UNLV)

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    Forward Khem Birch was widely considered to be one of the top prospects in his class last season as he entered his freshman year at Pittsburgh. Birch was rated as the ninth overall prospect in the class of 2011 by rivals ahead of prospects such as Cody Zeller, Chane Behanan and Tony Wroten.

    Panther fans anxiously expected the highly regarded Birch to be an immediate impact post presence for head coach Jamie Dixon, but little did anyone know that Khem Birch's collegiate career at Pittsburgh would end before it ever really began. Khem left Pittsburgh 10 games into his freshman campaign with the Panthers.

    The highly regarded Birch elected to transfer to UNLV where he will begin playing in January for a Runnin' Rebels team that already has some serious talent in place. Khem Birch could give UNLV a talented big man to roam the post area once conference play and ultimately tournament time rolls around.

    With that being said, Birch will have to adjust to the Runnin' Rebels up-tempo style of basketball that places a high emphasis on getting out in the open court. He will also have to mesh with his new teammates and find his place on a roster that already features some established veterans.

    Khem Birch always had the potential, but now more than ever the former five star recruit will need to turn his potential into substance.

11. Desmar Jackson (Wyoming to Southern Illinois)

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    Former NCAA Tournament darling Southern Illinois has fallen on hard times. The Salukis are now five years removed from their last NCAA Tournament appearance and finished last season with a dismal record of 8-23. Needless to say, Southern Illinois needs a shot in the arm if they are to once again fight it out with Missouri Valley heavyweights Creighton and Wichita State for conference supremacy.

    As luck would have it, that shot in the arm that I spoke of may be arriving in Carbondale this season in the form of Wyoming transfer Desmar Jackson. Jackson is a 6'5" guard who proved to be one of the few bright spots while playing on two Wyoming squads that were less than stellar. Jackson averaged 14.6 points and 4.9 rebounds as a sophomore and was named to the Freshman All-American team by during his debut season at the school.

    Desmar should make an immediate impact next season playing for a Salukis team that struggled mightily both rebounding and scoring the basketball. Jackson's presence alone will not vault Southern Illinois back to the top tier of the MVC, but it will go a long in ensuring that the Salukis show a competitiveness that was often missing last season.

10. Will Clyburn (Utah to Iowa State)

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    Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg certainly has not shied away from bringing transfers into his Iowa State program. Honestly though, I can't blame him for continuing to travel down this route after the success he had last season with Royce White and Chris Allen.

    Along with former Michigan State guard Korie Lucious, Iowa State will also welcome Utah transfer Will Clyburn to Ames. Clyburn will play his final collegiate season at Iowa State after leading Utah in scoring and rebounding during the 2010-2011 season. At 6'7" and 200 lbs., Clyburn has impressive measurements for a guard and will be a tough matchup for opposing defenses. Will's arrival to Iowa State couldn't be more timely as guards Chris Allen and Scott Christopherson have both exhausted their eligibility at the school.

    Iowa State incurs significant losses after making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005. Hoiberg will need transfers Will Clyburn and Korie Lucious to have significant impacts if the Cyclones hope to have any chance of hearing their named called on Selection Sunday for a second straight season.

9. Earnest Ross (Auburn to Missouri)

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    As Missouri begins their first season of SEC college basketball, the Tigers add to their already loaded backcourt by bringing in transfer Earnest Ross who previously played for in-conference competitor Auburn.

    Earnest Ross lead the Tigers in scoring and rebounding during the 2010-11 season. The addition of Ross gives Missouri a high-major level transfer who has already proven himself capable of performing at a high level in the SEC while at Auburn. Earnest is one of four transfers that Missouri will bring into the fold next year as they begin their debut season in the SEC.

    At 6'5, Ross is a big guard who is a proficient scorer as well as a strong rebounder. Expect the Auburn transfer to receive heavy playing time next season in Columbia as he should compete for a spot in Missouri's starting lineup.

8. Ryan Harrow (NC State to Kentucky)

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    John Calipari has had great success churning out freshman phenoms to run his wide open, unhandcuffed offense. Names such as Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall immediately come to mind. With that being said, expect a change in the tried and true script this season as it will be a transfer directing the Kentucky offense in 2012-13.

    Ryan Harrow was a highly sought after prospect coming out of high school and ultimately signed with NC State. Harrow contributed as a freshman at NC State averaging 9.3 points and 3.3 assists, but he ultimately became frustrated with the team's more restricted offensive scheme and elected to leave the school.

    Ryan will now direct a Kentucky offense in which decision making and improvisation are both critical. Ryan will likely start alongside prized freshman Archie Goodwin in the backcourt for the Cats this winter in Lexington.

    For the abundance of talent that Kentucky has in place for next season, the Wildcats needed a trigger man to replace first-round draft pick Marquis Teague. Ryan Harrow will fill that role as he tries to match up with the highly successful point guard alumni that have ran Calipari's system before him.

7. Aaric Murray (LaSalle to West Virginia)

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    Do-it-all forward Kevin Jones departs from West Virginia and leaves a tremendous amount of production that needs to be replaced in the process. Jones averaged 20.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Kevin willed West Virginia to victory in many instances.

    Head coach Bob Huggins will obviously rely on senior big man Deniz Kilicli to further increase his production and development. Kilicli has steadily improved throughout his time at the school and is a strong rebounder as well as a deceptively proficient scorer. With all due respect to Deniz though, the player to watch in the paint for West Virginia will be LaSalle transfer Aaric Murray.

    Murray was a top 50 recruit coming out of high school as rated by Rivals who turned down a scholarship offer from West Virginia to play at the smaller Atlantic 10 program. Aaric was highly productive during his two seasons at LaSalle averaging 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds as a sophomore.

    Murray will benefit from Huggins brand of basketball that places physicality, toughness and defense at a premium. He will also be the go to scorer down low that the Mountaineers will need in the upcoming post-Jones campaign.

6. Alex Oriakhi (UCONN to Missouri)

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    Alex Oriakhi's junior campaign at Connecticut was a story of incredible preseason 'hype and projection' that was met with a season filled with a lack of 'production and substance.' Ironically, Oriakhi's individual season followed the same script that the Huskies played out as a team.

    Alex decided to leave UConn after it was learned that the Huskies will have to sit out next season's NCAA Tournament due to their past low APR rating. Oriakhi ultimately made the decision to transfer to Missouri for his final season. Needless to say, the last 12 months have hardly been smooth sailing for the big man. 

    With that being said, Alex Oriakhi has the opportunity to carve out a great senior campaign with Missouri. Oriakhi should receive heavy playing time as the frontcourt presence in the Tigers fast-paced four guard offense. Alex will likely rotate with veteran forward Laurence Bowers who is returning from a torn ACL that cost him his 2011-12 season.

    Alex played great during Connecticut's 2011 National Title season averaging 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. Oriakhi's success is far from a certainty, but if Missouri gets the Alex Oriakhi that produced a double-double in UConn's National Title game versus Butler, then the Tigers will once again be one of the nation's elite teams next season.

5. Rotnei Clarke (Arkansas to Butler)

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    Butler played in the Final Four of a postseason tournament last season, but this time the Bulldogs had to settle for the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) rather than the Big Dance.

    One of the main causes of Butler's drop-off was a Bulldog offense which lacked the scoring punch that the 2010 and 2011 Final Four teams displayed. Butler only scored 63.3 points per game, which ranked 270th in college basketball, and shot 41 percent from the floor. which placed them at 284th amongst Division I teams.

    Luckily for Butler fans as well as head coach Brad Stevens, help is on the way in the form of Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke. Clarke is a three point marksman and fills a gaping need for Butler as a guard who can score points in bunches.

    Rotnei shot a blistering 44 percent from three point range in 2011 for Arkansas and averaged 15.2 points per game. Rotnei Clarke should start immediately for a Butler team that has some solid pieces in place with big man Andrew Smith and forward Khyle Marshall, but sorely needed a lift in the backcourt.

    Rotnei Clarke is a perfect fit for Butler and gives the Bulldogs a dynamic scorer as they try to push their way back into the NCAA Tournament.

4. Trent Lockett (Arizona State to Marquette)

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    The departures of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder have caused some people to speculate as to whether Marquette will slide in the Big East pecking order next season.

    Despite what the doubters may say, Marquette fans should not expect too much of a drop off from their Golden Eagles next season. Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson and Vander Blue are promising talents that should take on expanded roles next year under head coach Buzz Williams. The return of Gardner, Wilson and Blue is definitely significant. With that being said, it is the arrival of guard Trent Lockett that has the Golden Eagle fans buzzing.

    The 6'4" Lockett formerly played at Arizona State where he averaged 13.0 points per game last season and led the Sun Devils in scoring. Trent excels at getting to the basket on offense and is also a solid rebounder as well. He also has great athleticism and showed no problem playing above the rim during his time at Arizona State.

    Trent Lockett may have flown under the radar nationally while playing for some less than stellar Arizona State teams. Expect to hear Lockett's name more frequently next winter though as he joins a Marquette team that will strive to return to the NCAA Tournament.

3. Mark Lyons (Xavier to Arizona)

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    After a tumultuous three year roller coaster ride at Xavier which included some steep highs and also some cavernous lows, Mark Lyons is finishing up his collegiate career at Arizona. The move to Arizona reunites Mark Lyons with head coach Sean Miller, who initially recruited Lyons to come to Xavier while he was still the Musketeers head coach.

    Arizona receives in Lyons an electric scorer who can generate points driving to the basket, shooting from outside or getting out on the fast break in transition. Mark's ability as a scorer and playmaker can't be questioned and he will have no problem generating offense for the Wildcats next season.

    In addition to his dynamic scoring, Lyons also brings a significant amount of baggage with him as well though. Mark was suspended for two games after the infamous Crosstown Shootout brawl versus Cincinnati. Xavier head coach Chris Mack ultimately announced Lyons decision to leave Xavier by saying "expectations were outlined for his fifth and final season, areas in which I believe needed improvement. Mark did not recognize these expectations as being important and ultimately it was decided that a change of scenery would be in his best interest."

    However you slice it, Sean Miller is gambling on his belief that he can bring the best out of the young man that he formerly recruited.

2. Trey Zeigler (Central Michigan to Pittsburgh)

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    Pittsburgh's 13th place finish in the Big East was an occurrence that no one saw coming. The traditionally strong Panther program's descent into the bottom tier of the conference with Providence and DePaul is a season that no coach, player or fan associated with the program is eager to relive.

    The return of guards Tray Woodall and Lamar Patterson should spark optimism for Pitt fans. The end of Ashton Gibbs storied career with the Panthers would be reason to fret, but it appears that Head Coach Jamie Dixon has already covered that base with the arrival of guard Trey Zeigler.  

    Zeigler comes to the Panthers from Central Michigan where he torched his fellow MAC competition during his two years with the Chippewas scoring 1,011 points and collecting 382 rebounds. Trey Zeigler was the 28th ranked prospect in the class of 2010 according to Rivals. Zeigler spurned scholarship offers from Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and UCLA to play for his father Ernie Zeigler at Trey's hometown school of Central Michigan.

    Transitioning from the Mid American conference to the Big East is no easy feat, but Zeigler looks very capable of making the jump. Trey should quickly assert himself as one of the top talents on a Pittsburgh team that is looking to re-establish their position near the top of the Big East conference.

1. Keion Bell (Pepperdine to Missouri)

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    The average college basketball fan is not familiar with Keion Bell, but that is likely to change by the time next March rolls around.

    Keion Bell spent the first three years of his collegiate career playing at Pepperdine where he established himself as one of the West Coast Conference's top scorers. In fact, Bell led the Blue Wave in scoring during each of his three seasons at the school. Keion is highly athletic and shows great comfort when playing in transition situations.

    Keion Bell will now transfer to a Missouri team that could use some new backcourt firepower as mainstay guards Marcus Denmon and Kim English have departed. Missouri's high tempo offense should be the perfect fit for Keion's explosive offensive prowess. Bell will play with a host of other capable talents in the backcourt next season in Columbia. This will be a change in comparison to Pepperdine where he carried the brunt of the production load throughout his time at the school.

    Keion Bell's move to Missouri will thrust him into the college basketball spotlight where his scoring ability as well as his ridiculous dunks should cement his name in the memories of college basketball fans all across the country.