College Basketball's Top 20 Transfers for 2012-13

Scott HenryFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2012

College Basketball's Top 20 Transfers for 2012-13

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    CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman undertakes the valiant task of maintaining a running list of college basketball transfers. With nearly 500 players moving from program to program this season, it's a wonder Goodman has been able to get any actual writing done.

    In each season, there are players who change schools and are never heard from again. Some, though, find a much better fit and put themselves on the national radar in their new surroundings.

    Look for these 20 players to veer much more toward the latter condition. Some may even emerge as stars for their new teams. I'll check back after the season to see which ones succeeded.

20. Aaron Dotson, Utah

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    It's anyone's guess how the roles will shape up in Salt Lake City this season, as Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak is going into the year with 10 newcomers among his 13 players. Guard Aaron Dotson, a transfer from LSU, is the only one of those new faces with power conference starting experience.

    Dotson led the Tigers in three-point percentage as a sophomore, draining 37.5 percent from outside. While his shooting from inside the arc was in the 40 percent range itself, Dotson proved that he could score points against schools like Kentucky, Memphis and Mississippi State. He's that much less likely to be intimidated by Colorado and Washington State.

    Dotson was a four-star recruit by Rivals coming out of high school in Seattle. His experience grants him a major opportunity to be a leader with the Utes.

19. Isaiah Armwood, George Washington

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    Isaiah Armwood was a captain at Villanova, but he could hardly get on the floor. At George Washington, the 6'9" Baltimore native should obtain more minutes and a more enjoyable role.

    As a Wildcat, Armwood played with his back to the basket, watching the offense run through the guards. He told the Washington Times that he expects to be allowed to face up and attack off the dribble more often.

    Armwood has the ability to crash the glass, proved by his 3.6 rebounds in 17 minutes per game in 2010-11 (8.5 per 40 minutes). He also had a 5.0 block percentage, a figure that ranked 16th in the Big East.

    Coach Mike Lonergan said in the above Times story that he expects Armwood to "fill a stat sheet," even if he's not a dominant scorer. He could be capable of doing just that, even in the expanding and improving Atlantic 10.

18. Korie Lucious, Iowa State

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    Korie Lucious was Michigan State's starting point guard when a season-ending injury felled Kalin Lucas in 2010. After being dismissed from the team in January 2011, Lucious joined the transfer exodus to Iowa State, following former Spartan teammate Chris Allen.

    Lucious will now very likely get his chance as a starter, and Cyclone fans may find themselves cautiously excited about his potential.

    While his shooting percentages steadily backslid (true shooting percentages of 52.8, 46.5 and 43.3), Lucious is capable of being a very steady distributor for ISU. His assist percentage never dropped below 25 as a Spartan, and he recorded a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio over his past two seasons.

    If Lucious can discover some kind of respectable shot, he'll have a much easier time dropping dimes for his new teammates in Ames.

17. Bryce Jones, UNLV

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    Bryce Jones has only 18 games of college experience, but he may carry the biggest burden of any transfer in America this season.

    Jones, who allegedly faced dismissal from the USC team before transferring to UNLV, was off to a hot start before guard Jio Fontan became eligible. He averaged 12.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals over his first eight games. In his final 10 games, Jones carded 3.5 points in only 12.3 minutes a night.

    At UNLV, coach Dave Rice has assembled a ludicrously loaded frontcourt featuring talents like Anthony Bennett, Khem Birch, Mike Moser and Quintrell Thomas. What a great frontcourt needs, though, is a player who can spread the court with three-point daggers.

    Rice needs Jones to be the 37 percent three-point shooter that started that 2010-11 season for USC. If he is, there's little risk that he'll return to being the 12-minute man that left USC in a storm of controversy.

16. Eric Wise, USC

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    Eric Wise is pictured here playing against USC. The next time we see him driving the rock to the hole, he'll be wearing one of those gold jerseys.

    A starter from day one at UC Irvine, the 6'6" Wise joins several other D-I veterans on the revamped Trojan roster. He may seem undersized for his role as a low post glass-eater, but it hasn't stopped him from producing against bigger opposition in the past.

    In the Anteaters' 2010-11 season opener, Wise hauled in 12 rebounds and scored 11 points against Illinois bigs Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale, who towered over him by three and seven inches, respectively. A month later, he went for 16 and 10 against UCLA.

    While he may not tear down eight boards a game in the Pac-12 like he did in the Big West, Wise is still very likely to stick his nose into every loose ball pileup this season.

15. D.J. Newbill, Penn State

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    Penn State fans need some good news right now. If they're willing to visit the Bryce Jordan Center for once, they might find some in Philadelphia native D.J. Newbill.

    Newbill is listed at 6'4" and 205 pounds, but his stat line as a freshman at Southern Miss reads like that of a somewhat bigger man. His 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds are impressive enough, but his 11.5 offensive rebound percentage also ranked sixth in Conference USA. Almost half of his 199 rebounds were on the offensive end.

    Newbill recorded six double-doubles, including tearing down 16 boards in a win over UTEP. Surprisingly, Penn State led the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game last season, but no one approached Newbill's three per game.

    Did I mention he's from Philadelphia? Penn State needs all the help it can get recruiting the City of Brotherly Love, and if Newbill can forge a successful career in Happy Valley, it could get coach Patrick Chambers in a lot of Philly doors.

    According to an interview on the Penn State Athletics site, Chambers thinks he's got "the best backcourt in the country" with Newbill joining Tim Frazier and Jermaine Marshall. That certainly remains to be seen, but we know Frazier can ball at an All-Big Ten level. If Newbill is anywhere close to that, PSU fans may have a very fun diversion from their football team's malaise.

14. Keion Bell, Missouri

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    Few of this offseason's transfers have been proven scorers at their previous stops the way Keion Bell was at Pepperdine. Bell recorded back-to-back seasons of better than 18.5 points per game, finishing second in the West Coast Conference both times.

    The 6'3" Bell was often relied on for good all-around games, averaging 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game over his three years in Malibu.

    He should be an immediate starter on the wing in Columbia, unless coach Frank Haith wants to replace Michael Dixon's scoring punch off the bench.

    Bell is also a budding rapper who had a track played at last season's final home game. If Mizzou's multiple transfers blend well with the returning veterans, Tiger fans will be hoping Bell takes a new track to the Dirty South for the Final Four in Atlanta.

13. Malcolm Armstead, Wichita State

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    Wichita State lost its top five scorers from last season, including ever-reliable point guard Joe Ragland. Of the several new faces joining the program for 2012, the two best may be freshman Fred Van Vleet and Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead.

    Where do they both play? Point guard.

    Armstead was one of the top distributors in the then-Pac-10, finishing second in assists in 2009-10 and third the following year. He also ended up second in steals both seasons. He's just enough of a scorer to command some attention, averaging 9.4 points per game in Eugene.

    Armstead has connections to the staff, having played for Shocker assistant Greg Heiar at Chipola Junior College. Look for Armstead to start during his senior year, mentoring Van Vleet to take over in 2013.

12. Juwan Staten, West Virginia

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    Similar to Korie Lucious, Juwan Staten is not likely to set the world on fire with his scoring touch as a West Virginia Mountaineer. His playmaking abilities, however, should keep Bob Huggins' offense humming.

    Staten posted an abysmal 42.6 true shooting percentage as a freshman at Dayton. In the Flyers' balanced attack, however, he emerged as the Atlantic 10's leader with 190 total assists. His 39.7 assist percentage was 10th in the nation in 2010-11.

    Other than his wildly inaccurate shooting, Staten also took good care of the ball, managing a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. With players like Aaric Murray, Deniz Kilicli and Jabarie Hinds to set up, Staten should be perfectly capable of posting another season near 200 assists.

11. Luke Hancock, Louisville

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    Luke Hancock is a player who commands respect on the court, or at least he's one who has already commanded Louisville coach Rick Pitino's respect.

    Hancock will be a co-captain for the Cardinals next season and the likely starter alongside point guard Peyton Siva.

    In two years at George Mason, Hancock was never the primary scoring option, but when he took his attempts, he made them count. He recorded a 60.1 true shooting percentage as a sophomore.

    He wasn't the point guard, but he still led the team in assists at 4.3 per game in 2010-11.

    Now he brings his skills to a Louisville team already boasting talents like Siva, Chane Behanan, Russ Smith and what Cards fans hope is a healthy Wayne Blackshear. Even though those players took him back to the Final Four, Pitino said of Hancock (via Jon Hancock of KentuckySports.co), "He's our best basketball player."

    That makes Hancock sound like a player who's going to get all the minutes he can handle and all the shots he wants. Don't be surprised, though, if he makes that one extra pass to somebody who's got an even better look.

10. Khem Birch, UNLV

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    Khem Birch is not quite Anthony Davis. In his brief time at Pittsburgh, though, the 6'9" Montreal native's advanced stat lines could have resembled the NBA's top draft pick if one looked closely enough.

    Playing only 15 minutes per game before bolting, Birch still averaged five rebounds and almost two blocks a night. His 14.2 block percentage would have ranked third nationally and was actually a half-point better than Davis'.

    Birch also ripped down 17.2 percent of all available offensive rebounds, which would have been good for fifth in America. Davis came in eighthin the SEC.

    UNLV lacked a dominating post defender and often had trouble keeping their opponents off the boards, finishing last in the Mountain West in rebounds allowed. Birch can fill both of those roles once he becomes eligible for the spring semester.

9. Trent Lockett, Marquette

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    Marquette appeared at a loss for vocal leadership with the graduation of stars Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. The addition of Arizona State transfer Trent Lockett should help fill that bill immediately.

    Lockett's athleticism manifested itself in several ways as a Sun Devil. He recorded 1.5 steals per game last season in a defense that spent most of its time in a passive zone. Also, Lockett has averaged 5.5 rebounds per game over the past two seasons in spite of his 6'4" stature.

    Lockett is immediately eligible to suit up for Marquette because he graduated from ASU in three years. The addition of a player who combines proven high-level skills on the court with a serious work ethic in the classroom is a move that every coach in America would make if given the chance.

8. Will Clyburn, Iowa State

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    Will Clyburn played one season at Utah, and that was plenty enough to establish himself as a capable offensive weapon.

    In the Utes' final Mountain West campaign, Clyburn finished second in the league at 17.2 points per game, scoring in single digits only four times all season. Eight double-doubles dotted the schedule, helping him also average 7.7 rebounds per game, third in the MWC.

    He did finish eighth in the league by committing 2.5 turnovers per game, but he caused a few as well. Clyburn was good for a steal per night, and even carded a career-high six against Pepperdine.

    At 6'7" and 205 pounds, Clyburn's hardly built like the departed Royce White, but if he can record a stat line anywhere close to his 2010-11 totals, he could be a candidate to follow in White's All-Big 12 footsteps.

7. Wally Judge, Rutgers

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    Wally Judge was a McDonald's All-American and a top-15 recruit in the 2009 RSCI rankings. Despite all that, Kansas State was not the place for him, and he bailed midway through his sophomore season.

    Rutgers coach Mike Rice hopes that he's got a fully engaged Judge, who is a 6'9", 250-pound athletic marvel. He'd like the Judge who strung out a three-game stretch of 49 points and 34 rebounds near Christmas 2010. Bear in mind, though, that those three games were against Missouri-Kansas City, North Florida and Savannah State.

    In Judge's limited 2010-11 playing time, he was productive, averaging better than 12 points and 10 rebounds per 40 minutes. Even that comes with a downside, as he also racked up 6.3 fouls per 40.

    Judge can't afford to be so reckless with his physicality as a Scarlet Knight, as he won't do Rutgers a lot of good watching from the bench. If he keeps that in check, though, he could be the missing piece that helps RU back to .500 in Big East play.

6. Trey Zeigler, Pittsburgh

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    The NCAA raised a few eyebrows when it allowed Trey Zeigler to play for Pitt immediately after the firing of his father, Central Michigan coach Ernie Zeigler. If it hadn't, however, Panther coach Jamie Dixon might have much more of a depth crisis in his backcourt.

    Zeigler's CMU numbers may have to be taken with a grain of salt, considering Mid-American Conference opposition and his status as the coach's kid. Still, he made a marked improvement in his shooting from his freshman season (39 percent from the floor) to his sophomore year (46 percent).

    Zeigler dropped 22 points on Temple and 19 on Minnesota last season, so there is precedent for him scoring on power conference opponents. There's also precedent for him running down a good number of rebounds, as he tore down eight or more boards 13 times last year.

    The next piece of major improvement will have to come from the line. Zeigler's 52 percent career free-throw shooting will not fly in the Big East, especially considering his 40.1 career FT/FG rate. He attacks the basket and draws contact, but the third step is hitting the free throws. If he can do that, perhaps he can threaten 15 points per game against Big East defenses.

5. Alex Oriakhi, Missouri

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    Alex Oriakhi, like Wally Judge, was a 2009 McDonald's All-American. In fact, he placed one spot below Judge in the RSCI rankings. While Judge had a lot of time on the bench, Oriakhi was a major contributor to a national championship at UConn.

    With UConn banned from the postseason, Oriakhi is free to suit up for Missouri immediately. He'll work next to the returning Laurence Bowers, giving Frank Haith the kind of size that his Tigers sorely lacked last year.

    Never a great scorer, Oriakhi has proved that he can crash the glass against top opposition, finishing second in the Big East at 8.7 rebounds per game in 2010-11. Rebounding and post defense will be his primary responsibilities.

    Well, that and championship experience. Bowers and Michael Dixon are the only other players on this season's roster that have been part of an NCAA tournament win, so Oriakhi's championship bling provides a concrete reminder of what everyone's playing for.

4. Ryan Harrow, Kentucky

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    John Calipari cranks out one-and-done point guards like Chevrolet produces Corvettes. The lineage is tremendous, flowing from Derrick Rose to John Wall to Brandon Knight to Marquis Teague.

    NC State transfer Ryan Harrow is not one of those guys. Still, he's slated to be the leader of Calipari's latest collection of McDonald's All-Americans.

    A player who records a double-double in his second college game, as Harrow did against East Carolina, is not one to take lightly. Neither is one who can drop 17 points in 21 minutes on Florida State. Harrow did that, too.

    Harrow's 28.8 assist percentage and his 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio show that he can set up his teammates and take care of the ball. With skilled freshmen Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin and low-post threat Nerlens Noel to feed, Harrow should surpass the 3.3 assists per game that he recorded in 2010-11.

3. Mark Lyons, Arizona

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    Mark Lyons bailed Arizona coach Sean Miller out of a potentially difficult backcourt situation by transferring from Xavier, where Miller recruited him in 2008.

    Lyons has never been a true point guard, but he's being tapped for the leadership role after essentially shooting his way out of Cincinnati.

    He's made incremental improvement in his shot, his turnover percentage has steadily slid and his assist percentage has risen. Still, Lyons spent a couple of seasons in Tu Holloway's shadow, so his point guard credentials aren't quite established. Likewise, his leadership credentials need some polishing themselves.

    Lyons has never made any secret of his pro prospects being his driving priority, and he joins a team with a talented young frontcourt. If he works within the offense and allows teammates, rookie or veteran, to take over the game when they have the opportunity, Arizona could contend for a Final Four berth.

    Even if Lyons seeks opportunities to expand his highlight reel, the Wildcats should have enough talent to return to the NCAA tournament. They may, however, turn into a bickering casualty of the round of 64.

2. Rotnei Clarke, Butler

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    In his sophomore and junior seasons at Arkansas, Rotnei Clarke finished with true shooting percentages ranking in the top 70 nationwide. That's a major feat for a player who took 442 three-point shots in those two seasons.

    Fresh off their trips to consecutive national championship games, the Butler Bulldogs were undone last season by ridiculously bad 28 percent three-point shooting. With the addition of Clarke and freshman gunner Kellen Dunham, that shouldn't be a problem again.

    The biggest change for Clarke will be a planned switch to point guard, a position he has never played. Butler fans can take heart in the fact that the transition is still in the cards after Clarke spent a season honing those ballhandling skills in practice against now-departed defensive stalwart Ronald Nored.

    If Clarke can operate an offense under Nored's pressure, he shouldn't have much to fear from Butler's new Atlantic 10 opposition.

1. Aaric Murray, West Virginia

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    Aaric Murray was a do-it-all big man at LaSalle, averaging 15 points and almost eight rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2010-11. He arrives at West Virginia just as All-Big East forward Kevin Jones leaves the school and the school leaves for the Big 12.

    Murray has gotten a taste of Big 12 opposition, producing 49 points, 33 rebounds, six steals and 10 blocks in 2010 games against Baylor, Oklahoma State and the now SEC-bound Missouri Tigers. Those averages would dwarf Jones' production if sustained over the course of a season, but that's likely an unreasonable expectation.

    Murray will form a potent paint duo with senior Deniz Kilicli, but there's not a lot of frontcourt depth behind those two. The Mountaineers will need great health and strong production out of a young backcourt to truly contend in the Big 12.

    By the time Bob Huggins has his team ready to contend in its new conference, Murray will likely be an NBA draft pick.