LAWRENCE, Kan. — The final day for undergraduate college basketball student-athletes to enter the NCAA transfer portal was last Thursday. While there are still hundreds of players yet to commit to a new program ahead of the 2023-24 season, now is a good time to take a look at which teams have improved the most so far this offseason.
Isaac Schade and Andy Patton of the Locked on College Basketball podcast did exactly that, ranking the top four transfer portal winners so far, while acknowledging a lot can and will change with more commitments over the spring and into the summer.
Below is a look at the four biggest transfer portal winners at this stage in the offseason. For more insight and analysis, as well as a look at the honorable mentions, check out the Locked on College Basketball podcast!
1. Kansas Jayhawks
In: Hunter Dickinson (Michigan) Arterio Morris (Texas) Nick Timberlake (Towson)
Out: Ernest Udeh, Zuby Ejiofor (St. John's) MJ Rice (NC State) Zach Clemece (UCSB) Joseph Yesufu (Washington St) Bobby Pettiford (East Carolina) Cam Martin (Boise State) Kyle Cuffe
The Jayhawks top the list despite losing a whopping eight players into the portal. This is a quality over quantity take, and while many of the players leaving the Jayhawks have tremendous upside, getting a potential All-American caliber big man in Hunter Dickinson is well worth the losses for Bill Self's team. Add in a potential breakout superstar in Arterio Morris and a sharpshooting role player in Nick Timberlake and this team should once again compete for a national title.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers
In: Jesse Edwards (Syracuse) Kerr Kriisa (Arizona) RaeQuan Battle (Montana St) Jose Perez (Manhattan) Omar Silverio (Manhattan)
Out: Jimmy Bell, Josiah Davis, Jamel King (Kennesaw St)
Bob Huggins made headlines recently for an insensitive comment made on a local radio station, and he was fortunate to not only keep his job but not to lose any of his program's huge transfer portal additions. Edwards is a much needed rim protector, Kriisa is a dynamic facilitator and inconsistent but at times elite three point shooter, while Battle averaged nearly 18 points per game last year for an upstart Montana State team. This squad should compete for a spot in the top half of the Big 12 standings and could potentially earn a top-5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
3. Gonzaga Bulldogs
In: Steele Venters (Eastern Washington) Ryan Nembhard (Creighton) Graham Ike (Wyoming)
Out: Hunter Sallis (Wake Forest) Efton Reid (Wake Forest) Dom Harris (LMU)
Mark Few's team added three starters to a squad that lost Drew Timme and Julian Strawther to the NBA, as well as Rasir Bolton to graduation. The loss of Hunter Sallis stings, as his athleticism and defensive instincts would have given him a big role in year three, but bringing Nembhard in to play point guard was a stroke of genius and Ike will help fill a hole in the frontcourt with Timme's departure. Add in a sharpshooter like Venters and you have another great squad building in Spokane.
4. Arkansas Razorbacks
In: El Ellis (Louisville) Tramon Mark (Houston) Keyon Menifield (Washington) Khalif Battle (Temple) Jeremiah Davenport (Cincinnati)
Out: Derrian Ford (Vanderbilt) Barry Dunning, Makhel Mitchell
Arkansas added five guards via the portal this offseason, giving coach Eric Musselman plenty of options to rebuild a backcourt that lost Anthony Black, Nick Smith, and Ricky Council IV to the NBA. Losing Mitchell hurts, although he may end up coming back. The scoring punch of Ellis, Mark, and Menifield will help this team stay competitive in the SEC next season.