Ranking the Top Transfers Eligible to Play in the 2014-15 NCAA Basketball Season
Transfers like Bryce Dejean-Jones and Anthony Lee will be huge contributors for their new respective team during the 2014-15 men's college basketball season.
For a second consecutive year, more than 500 players have filed the necessary paperwork to transfer schools. For many coaches, recruiting via transfers has become an even more lucrative investment than recruiting incoming freshman.
Though the vast majority of transfers barely even cause a blip on the national radar, there are always a few that have a massive impact each year. Both Duke and Iowa State received No. 3 seeds in last year's tournament thanks in large part to the contributions of transfers Rodney Hood and DeAndre Kane, respectively.
Even the 2014 national champion Connecticut Huskies received some help from a transfer. Lasan Kromah wasn't anywhere near as important as Shabazz Napier or DeAndre Daniels, but the George Washington transfer provided some great defense and timely buckets during UConn's six-game winning streak.
We took a look through the list of transfers* who are eligible to play in the 2014-15 season and ranked who we expect to be the 20 most impactful players on their new teams next season.
With the exception of the final slide, only one transfer per new team was ranked. Though, where applicable, we mentioned other key transfers on each team.
* JUCO transfers not included
20. Justin Edwards, Kansas State
For the bulk of the 2013-14 season, it felt like Kansas State was just one player away from putting it all together. Marcus Foster was phenomenal as a freshman, and Thomas Gipson was a workhorse in the paint, but everyone else was hit or miss.
The Wildcats' two primary players are back again, and this year they'll have Justin Edwards in the mix as well.
Playing for Kansas State will be quite a step up from playing for Maine, but Edwards averaged 16.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game as a sophomore in the America East conference.
Edwards isn't much of a three-point shooter—he shot 27 percent from deep in his two seasons at Maine—but that's what Foster is for. Edwards is much more of a slashing ball-handler, and it will be interesting to see what he's capable of doing now that he can drive and dish to players who can actually hit an open jumper.
19. Braxton Ogbueze, Charlotte
Braxton Ogbueze was ranked No. 50 in the ESPN 100 for the 2012 recruiting class, but he never had much of a chance to make an impact at Florida.
In his freshman season, the point guard was stuck behind Kenny Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin on the Gators' depth chart. Though Boynton was graduating that summer, Billy Donovan added Eli Carter from Rutgers and another highly rated recruit, Kasey Hill.
Ogbueze read the tea leaves and jumped ship to a school where he would actually be able to play on a regular basis.
Charlotte hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2005, but the 49ers haven't exactly been a doormat, either. They have a record of 144-138 over the past nine seasons, and they had a pair of huge wins over Kansas State and Michigan last November.
In addition to Ogbueze, Charlotte returns each of its top-six scorers from last season. Ogbueze joins an already solid rotation, and he may be the final piece of the 49ers' tournament puzzle.
18. Jon Horford, Florida
If and when he was able to get playing time, Jon Horford was pretty effective during his time at Michigan. Though he only averaged 13.8 minutes per game last season, he was good for 11 points and 12 rebounds per 40 minutes.
Will he be able to find playing time at Florida?
The Gators do have a lot of openings in the frontcourt with Casey Prather, Will Yeguete and Patric Young graduating, but those spots figure to already be claimed by Chris Walker, Dorian Finney-Smith and incoming freshman Devin Robinson.
It seems likely that Horford will have the same role at Florida that he did at Michigan: mopping up minutes when the starters need a break.
Had he stayed at Michigan, he probably would have started as a senior. With Jordan Morgan graduating and Mitch McGary leaving early for the NBA, Mark Donnal is at the top of the Wolverines' interior depth chart—and he has yet to play a regular-season minute in college.
17. Keith Shamburger, Missouri
Missouri could be headed for one heck of a rebuilding season.
The Tigers are losing their top-three scorers, meaning freshman Johnathan Williams III (5.8 PPG in 2013-13) is their most productive returning player. On top of that, Frank Haith bolted for Tulsa, leading Missouri to make perhaps the most controversial offseason hiring of former D-II coach Kim Anderson.
But if there's one thing that can help a team recover in a hurry, it's a high-quality point guard—and the Tigers once again have one of those in Keith Shamburger.
Missouri didn't have anything resembling a true point guard last season. Jordan Clarkson led the team in assists, but he also led the team in field-goal attempts. On the season, the Tigers had 87 more turnovers than assists.
Shamburger had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7 last season for Hawaii, and he could serve as a lite version of Phil Pressey that the Tigers desperately lacked in 2013-14.
Other transfers joining Shamburger in Missouri include Zach Price (Louisville), Deuce Bello (Baylor) and Cameron Biedscheid (Notre Dame). This team will look nothing like it did in 2013-14—although that's probably for the best.
16. Trey Zeigler, TCU
This is Trey Zeigler's second dip in the transfer pool.
Perhaps this one will go better than the last.
In two seasons playing for his father at Central Michigan, Zeigler averaged 16 points and six rebounds per game. But after Ernie Zeigler was fired by the Chippewas, Trey decided to transfer to Pittsburgh, where he averaged just 4.4 points per game for Jamie Dixon.
He'll now join a TCU program that quite literally has nowhere to go but up. The Horned Frogs closed out the 2013-14 season with 19 consecutive losses and now have a 2-34 conference record since joining the Big 12.
Zeigler will join forces with leading scorers Kyan Anderson and Amric Fields. If he can get back to playing the way he did at Central Michigan, TCU could actually win a few Big 12 games this year.
15. Jesse Morgan, Temple
There's a pretty big asterisk attached to this one, because there's no guarantee that Jesse Morgan will be able to play for Temple.
Morgan sat out his freshman season at Massachusetts as an academic non-qualifier and was dismissed from the team as a junior for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. He practiced with Temple last season, but he will still need an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play.
It's a sticky situation, but let's assume Morgan does play and plays as well as he did for the Minutemen before his dismissal. He was a fearless three-point shooter, averaging 10.3 attempts per 40 minutes during the 2012-13 season and making 35.6 percent of them. Morgan was also a quality defender, as he averaged 1.7 steals per game.
Morgan would really help Temple fill the hole of Dalton Pepper's graduation. Pepper led the team in scoring and three-point shooting last season.
If Morgan is eligible to play for the Owls, expect similar production out of him.
14. Rodney Purvis, Connecticut
Rodney Purvis got off to a hot start as a freshman at North Carolina State during the 2012-13 season. Through his first four games, he averaged 13.0 points per game and shot 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from three-point range.
With the exception of the occasional gem against Boston College or Wake Forest, however, he tapered off considerably from there. Forced to share time with a backcourt of Lorenzo Brown and Scott Wood, Purvis' playing time and scoring opportunities fluctuated considerably from game to game—particularly during the conference portion of the season.
Unfortunately, he could be entering into a similarly fluid situation at Connecticut this season. Though the Huskies are losing stars Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels, they'll still have a pretty crowded backcourt between Ryan Boatright, Terrence Samuel, Omar Calhoun and incoming shooting guards Sam Cassell Jr. and Daniel Hamilton.
If his 38.5 percent three-point shooting travels with him from Raleigh to Storrs, Purvis will certainly find a spot in Connecticut's deep rotation. However, he's far from guaranteed to land a starting job.
13. Ian Chiles, Tennessee
New head coach Donnie Tyndall is going to have his work cut out for him in getting Tennessee back to the NCAA tournament. The Volunteers are losing four of their five leading scorers and every player who averaged better than three rebounds per game.
Ian Chiles won't help them replace Jarnell Stokes or Jeronne Maymon in the paint, but he could be a suitable replacement for leading scorer Jordan McRae.
Chiles averaged 15.8 points per game last season for an IUPUI team that went just 3-26 against D-I competition.
Despite the team's ineptitude, Chiles displayed an ability to compete against superior teams. He scored 19 points in a loss to Northwestern and 21 points in a losing effort against Marquette.
12. Terence Smith, Ole Miss
If you've never heard of Terence Smith, you are definitely not alone.
Playing for a Tennessee-Martin team that has yet to make the NCAA tournament in 22 years of eligibility, Smith averaged 14.6 points per game and shot 43.8 percent from three-point range. He also shot 82.2 percent from the free-throw line and finished second on the team in rebounds and assists.
He and Jarvis Summers (42.3 percent three-point shooter last season) just might become the deadliest backcourt in the country.
Smith joins Tennessee State transfer M.J. Rhett and JUCO transfers Roderick Lawrence and Stefan Moody to give Andy Kennedy arguably the best class of 2014 transfers. If Dwight Coleby and Sebastian Saiz can improve in the paint in their sophomore season, Ole Miss will be a difficult team to beat.
11. Angel Rodriguez, Miami (FL)
The Miami Hurricanes are effectively turning over a new leaf this summer. Of their seven leading scorers from the 2013-14 season, four are graduating, one is transferring and the other two (Manu Lecomte and Davon Reed) were freshman.
Were it not for Angel Rodriguez joining the team after sitting out last season, Miami wouldn't have anything resembling veteran leadership.
The 'Canes are also adding junior guard Sheldon McClellan from Texas, but let's go ahead and assume the point guard who averaged 5.2 assists per game for a 27-8 team is a more suitable leader than the guard who shot 38.2 percent from the field for a team that finished 16-18.
Should Rodriguez carry that success with him to Miami, he'll be the first Hurricane player to average better than 4.6 assists per game since John Salmons averaged 6.1 assists during the 2001-02 season.
10. Katin Reinhardt, USC
Of all the players on this list, Katin Reinhardt seems the most likely to average 20 points per game during the 2014-15 season.
However, since he'll be doing it for a USC team that is losing its four leading scorers from an 11-21 season, it's hard to argue that he'll really be one of the top transfers.
As a freshman at UNLV during the 2012-13 season, Reinhardt averaged 10.1 points per game and attempted 64 more three-pointers than any other player on the roster.
He will almost certainly serve as the starting shooting guard at USC, sharing a backcourt with sophomore point guard Julian Jacobs.
It is time to find out if Andy Enfield has any more Florida Gulf Coast magic up his sleeve.
9. Trevor Lacey, North Carolina State
It's a shame that T.J. Warren left for the NBA and Tyler Lewis transferred to Butler, because North Carolina State's only graduating senior is Jordan Vandenberg.
Even without those three players, though, the Wolfpack should be able to sneak back into the tournament discussion this season thanks to the infusion of Trevor Lacey.
Playing for Alabama during the 2012-13 season, Lacey averaged 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He'll further strengthen an already impressive backcourt of Ralston Turner, Anthony "Cat" Barber and Desmond Lee in Raleigh.
The Wolfpack are also adding a trio of quality freshman forwards in Abdul-Malik Abu, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin.
If Beejay Anya can get into shape well enough to be the starting center, N.C. State may surprise a lot of people who are assuming that Duke, Louisville and North Carolina will be the primary teams battling for the ACC crown.
8. Matt Carlino, Marquette
Having Matt Carlino and Derrick Wilson in the same backcourt should be a lot of fun for Steve Wojciechowski in his first season as a head coach.
Wilson averaged 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game last year for Marquette. Carlino averaged 4.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals for BYU. During the 2012-13 season, his numbers were even higher in all three categories.
Carlino is a much better scorer than Wilson, but Marquette will be in the enviable position of starting two seniors who are fully capable of playing point guard.
The big question for the Golden Eagles is what they plan to do in the paint without Jamil Wilson, Chris Otule and Davante Gardner, but Carlino should go a long way toward helping them improve upon last year's 17-15 record.
7. Stanton Kidd, Colorado State
In his one season at North Carolina Central, Stanton Kidd shot 55.3 percent from the field, averaging 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
In his very first D-I game, Kidd scored 22 points and had nine rebounds against a Wichita State team that would eventually advance to the Final Four. He also had a strong showing against Marquette, putting up 19 points and eight rebounds against an Elite Eight team.
Only time will tell how he fares in transitioning from the MEAC to the MWC, but I suspect Kidd will be one of the primary reasons that Colorado State gets back to the NCAA tournament this March.
6. Aaron Cosby, Illinois
Despite playing second fiddle to Fuquan Edwin, Aaron Cosby was a stud two years ago with Seton Hall, averaging 12.6 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game.
In 340 attempts over his two seasons with the Pirates, Cosby had a 38.8 percent three-point-shooting mark. Though Seton Hall struggled mightily to win games, Cosby improved as the season progressed. Over the final 10 games of the 2012-13 season, he averaged 14.7 points while shooting 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from three-point range.
That silky smooth three-point stroke is something Illinois desperately needs. As a team, the Illini shot just 31.7 percent from beyond the arc last season—and their two graduating seniors (Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand) were among the three most successful shooters on the team.
Illinois is also adding key transfers in Darius Paul and Ahmad Starks, but Cosby figures to be the one who is most capable of leading this team back to the NCAA tournament.
5. Ricky Tarrant, Alabama
With Trevor Releford graduating, Alabama may have a lot of soul searching to do. Releford scored 268 more points than any other member of the Crimson Tide last season, averaging 18.5 points per game for a team that only scored 67.8 points per contest as a whole.
However, they have a very strong group of incoming transfers that should help immensely. Longwood's Michael Kessens and Chaminade's Christophe Varidel (formerly of Florida Gulf Coast) will be key pieces next season, but neither will be as crucial as Tulane's Ricky Tarrant.
In his last season with the Green Wave, Tarrant averaged 15.7 points, 3.6 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He isn't a prolific shooter, but he's the type of aggressive scorer that Alabama needs in Releford's absence.
Tarrant should effortlessly slide into the role of starting point guard for the Crimson Tide, potentially having what it takes to get Anthony Grant's team back to an above-.500 record.
4. Anthony Lee, Ohio State
With all due respect to Trey McDonald, Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams, Anthony Lee might finally be the low-post presence that the Buckeyes have been searching for since losing Jared Sullinger.
Lee averaged 17.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per 40 minutes while shooting just a hair shy of 50.0 percent from the field last season with Temple. He had more double-doubles (11) than the team had wins (nine), and he'll look to take that talent to a school where it might actually do some good.
Ohio State is losing three key players—Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr.—from last year's 25-10 team, but Lee is one of the primary incoming players who will help keep this team afloat. Thad Matta also has one of the top 2014 recruiting classes, headlined by D'Angelo Russell, Jae'Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop.
3. Keith Hornsby, LSU
Keith Hornsby is a 6'4" guard who does a little bit of everything.
In his sophomore year at UNC-Asheville, Hornsby averaged 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He shot 37.9 percent from three-point range and finished second in the nation in free-throw percentage, per ESPN.com, with a 92.5 percent mark.
Hornsby would have been a great fit at just about any school, but LSU might need him more than any other program.
With Andre Stringer graduating and Anthony Hickey and Malik Morgan electing to transfer, the Tigers are nearly void of returning guards. Tim Quarterman is the most seasoned backcourt veteran remaining, and he played just 12.3 minutes per game while shooting 26.4 percent from the field last season as a freshman.
LSU is adding one of the best JUCO point guards available this year in Josh Gray, but Hornsby should come in and start at shooting guard from Day 1. Pairing that backcourt duo with Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey in the post should make LSU a serious threat to get back to the NCAA tournament.
2. Bryce Dejean-Jones, Iowa State
Fred Hoiberg is to transfers what John Calipari is to high school seniors; he doesn't necessarily get all of the big-name players, but you can take it to the bank that he'll be reloading pretty much every season.
Though the Cyclones are losing DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim, they should still compete for a Big 12 championship behind the strength of their incoming transfers.
Hoiberg landed Abdel Nader from Northern Illinois and Jameel McKay from Marquette last summer—both of whom will become eligible to play this fall.
But the prized possession is Bryce Dejean-Jones from UNLV.
Dejean-Jones led the Rebels in both points and assists during the 2013-14 season, despite averaging just 27.4 minutes per game. Per 40 minutes, he averaged 19.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
He was part of the mass exodus from UNLV. Though the Rebels only had two graduating seniors, Dejean-Jones was one of three transfers, while both Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith chose to leave early for the NBA.
UNLV's loss is Iowa State's gain. Dejean-Jones should be a starter in Ames from Day 1 and will likely compete with Georges Niang and Dustin Hogue for the honor of top scorer on the team.
1. Byron Wesley and Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
I'm cheating on this last slide, but how could you rank one ahead of the other?
Had Gonzaga just landed Byron Wesley or only acquired Kyle Wiltjer, it would have been an above-average team expected to win the West Coast Conference title. Because the Bulldogs got both guys, though, they'll likely be ranked within the top 10 when the 2014-15 season begins.
Starting with the player who is freshest in our memories, Wesley led USC in both scoring and rebounding last season, averaging 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the 11-21 Trojans.
In his three seasons at USC, the team won a grand total of 31 games; Gonzaga could win that many games this season alone.
Wesley figures to start at small forward alongside Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos, while Wiltjer checks in as a 6'10" stretch-4 who may well lead the team in three-point shooting.
As a sophomore at Kentucky, Wiltjer averaged 2.8 made three-pointers per 40 minutes. In his two collegiate seasons, he shot 39.0 percent from three-point range. He also averaged 7.0 rebounds per 40 minutes despite having to share those loose balls with Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Though some have been finding parallels between Wiltjer and Kelly Olynyk, they are two very different players. Olynyk did have the range to make three-pointers, but Wiltjer made more three-pointers in 462 minutes as a freshman than Olynyk made in his entire three-year college career.
At the risk of blasphemy, a more accurate expectation for Wiltjer's production at Gonzaga might be similar to what Adreian Payne did for Michigan State last season. The 6'10" Payne averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds as a senior, expanding his range to average 2.0 made three-pointers per 40 minutes.
If Wiltjer can replicate those numbers, I look forward to spending the month of February arguing whether Gonzaga deserves another No. 1 seed after their early exit in 2013.
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