Two and a half months since the college basketball season came to a stunning halt, the transfer portal continues to grow larger and larger. At time of writing, Verbal Commits reports 932 D1 transfers so far. While high-profile names like Mac McClung, Olivier Sarr, Landers Nolley, and many others earn the majority of the headlines, mid-major leagues are being won and lost on Zoom as teams add pieces that will have a significant impact on their programs both this year and moving forward. Here are my ten favorite mid-major transfer classes assembled this spring:
- Dontay Bassett (Florida) — GRAD
- Isiah Brown (Grand Canyon) — GRAD
- Darweshi Hunter (Central State) — Sit one, play three
- Balint Moscan (Idaho State) — GRAD
- Seikou Sisoho Jawara (Loyola Marymount) — Sit one, play three
Coming off the program’s worst season of the Randy Rahe era and faced with the loss of 2,000-point scorer Jerrick Harding, the Wildcats needed to find some immediately eligible talent to shoot some life into the program. Rahe did just that with the additions of five transfers, three of whom will play right away. The well-traveled Brown should step into a high-usage scoring role after showing his ability to get buckets at Northwestern and GCU, while Bassett boasts high-major size up front and Moscan brings elite shooting to the table. The Wildcats could also get a waiver for Sisoho Jawara, whose coach was fired at Loyola Marymount following his freshman campaign. In the long term, I’m bullish on D2 transfer Darweshi Hunter, a wing with great size who averaged 20 points and 6 rebounds per game while shooting 39% from deep at Central State. This was exactly the spring Rahe needed to get things back on track in Ogden both short and long term.
- James Bishop (LSU) — Sit one, play three
- Ricky Lindo (Maryland) — Sit one, play two
- Matthew Moyer (Vanderbilt) — Grad
GW’s location in Washington D.C. makes it a prime destination for down-transfers originally from the fertile recruiting grounds of the DMV, and second-year head coach Jamion Christian cashed in in a major way this spring. Local products James Bishop and Ricky Lindo have major, major upside and each fits perfectly into Christian’s spread ball screen offense: Bishop as a talented scoring point guard who can really shoot the ball and Lindo as a physical frontcourt player who can finish at the rim as a roll man in PnR. Waivers seem possible for both players given both are heading closer to home. Christian also gets a chance at a one-year reclamation project with Moyer, a former top-75 recruit who has never put it together in college basketball. This was infusion of talent the Colonials needed to rise the ranks in the A10.
San Diego State
- Terrell Gomez (Cal State Northridge) — GRAD
- Joshua Tomaic (Maryland) — GRAD
A pair of transfers in Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzell led the SDSU program to unprecedented heights in 2019-20. Brian Dutcher headed back to the well this spring with the additions of two talented grad transfers. First was Gomez, a diminutive ballhander who averaged close to 20 points per game at CSUN this season and has shot 44% from three for his career. His addition became even more important when Flynn decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and head to the NBA, making Gomez likely the team’s leading scorer for the coming season. Meanwhile, Dutcher will look to find some of the same magic he found with the unheralded Wetzell with Tomaic, a skilled big man who failed to ever crack the rotation at Maryland. With the only other big man on the roster in Nathan Mensah still not cleared medically after suffering blood clots in his lungs, adding a big for insurance was necessary and Tomaic is an intriguing option.
- Michael Flowers (Western Michigan) — Sit one, play one
- Kayo Goncalves (SE Oklahoma State) — GRAD
- Terrence Lewis (Iowa State) — Sit one, play one
There’s a good chance that one or both of Flowers and Lewis are able to play right away: Flowers in particular dealt with a coaching change at Western Michigan that caused him to jump ship. Richie Riley has done a tremendous job recruiting transfers throughout his career, and this group is no different. He tapped into the D2 market with Goncalves, who at 6-8 drained 100 threes at a 47% clip this past season. Meanwhile, Flowers and Lewis perfectly fit Riley’s system: Lewis is incredibly versatile and brings high-major athleticism to the table, while Flowers fills a clear need at point guard.
I sat down with Coach Riley on the CBB Central Podcast recently talking about his incoming class, his coaching philosophy, and much more!
- Michael Ertel (Louisiana-Monroe) — GRAD
- Quan Jackson (Georgia Southern) — GRAD
- Trey Jemison (Clemson) — Sit one, play two
Andy Kennedy wasted no time adding talent after taking over at his alma mater with three transfer adds that give the Blazers a very strong core to compete right away in the CUSA. Personally, I think Quan Jackson was one of the more underrated transfers on the market: an athletic shooting guard who can really defend and get downhill. Ertel had high-major interest before heading to Birmingham and is known as a high-level shooter. Adding a pair of experienced guards was critical given how guard-centric Kennedy’s teams are, and the combination of Jackson & Ertel with the return of the team’s top three scorers means that Kennedy will have five players who’ve averaged double-figure scoring in their careers on the roster. Meanwhile, seven-footers don’t grow on trees, and Jemison seems like a waiver candidate who’ll provide depth in a frontcourt that is otherwise thin.
- Samba Diallo (UMass) — Sit one, play two
- Jason Douglas-Stanley (George Mason) — Sit one, play two)
- Anthony Nelson (Seton Hall) — Sit one, play two
I’ve been quite critical of Steve Masiello in recent years, but I absolutely love what he did this spring by dipping heavily into the transfer portal to grab higher-level talent coming back to the NYC area. The headliner here is Nelson, a big, athletic point guard who played rotation minutes for a top-20 Seton Hall team. Point guard has been a consistent problem in recent years for the Jaspers, and Nelson has a chance to not only be a catalyst defensively in Masiello’s pressing defense but also help protect the ball and get easier looks. I’m also high on Diallo, an athletic combo forward with a nose for the ball who reminds me somewhat of Siena star Manny Camper, an All-MAAC First Team selection this season. Douglas-Stanley was a First Team All-State player in New York as a senior in high school and is a worthwhile gamble despite not producing much at GMU in two seasons. We’ll see on how many of these guys wind up eligible immediately, but this group is a major step towards Manhattan getting back to MAAC relevance.
- Maurice Commander (Chattanooga) — Sit one, play two
- Zion Griffin (Iowa State) — Sit one, play two
- Teyvion Kirk (Colorado State) — Sit one, play one***
It was only a matter of time before defensive whiz Luke Yaklich got his first head coaching job, and the former Illinois high school coach hit the ground running with players from familiar territory. All eyes are on the eligibility status of Teyvion Kirk, who scored close to 1,000 points in two seasons at Ohio before spending a sit-out year at Colorado State and hitting the portal again. It seems possible he’ll be able to play right away with two years of eligibility left, otherwise he’ll be a sit one, play one. Kirk being able to play right away would help the Flames be relevant in year one as Yaklich looks to reload quickly. Commander and Griffin are also worthwhile adds at the Horizon League level, with both having played rotation minutes at their previous landing spots.
- Kaden Archie (UTEP) — Sit one, play two
- Gedi Juozapaitis (Flagler) — Sit one, play two
- Andrei Savrasov (Texas Tech) — Sit one, play two
- Prince Toyambi (Cincinnati) — Unclear eligibility
- Grant Weatherford (IUPUI) — GRAD
Former Texas Tech assistant Brian Burg has been active in the portal since arriving in Statesboro this spring, tasked with retooling a roster that was in flux following the departure of Mark Byington to James Madison. This group of transfers represents a little bit of everything: a D2 transfer in Juozapaitis who can really shoot, an athletic forward in Toyambi who was never cleared due to a heart condition at Cincinnati, a guy on his third school in three years in Archie, a guy following Burg in Savrasov, and finally Weatherford, a tough-minded guard who’ll be immediately eligible. A roster with this amount of newcomers will certainly have its fair share of growing pains, but Burg is a grinder who I expect to do well at Georgia Southern. This class is a good first step.
Brian Hamilton of The Athletic wrote a fantastic piece profiling Burg earlier this month.
East Tennessee State
- Silas Adheke (Northern Kentucky) — GRAD
- Ty Brewer (Southeastern Louisiana) — Sit one, play two
- Jalen Johnson (Tennessee) — GRAD
- David Sloan (Kansas State) — Sit one, play one
All four of these talented transfers committed before Steve Forbes departed for Wake Forest, but as of now, all four remain committed. With the departures of Bo Hodges and Daivien Williamson following Forbes’ move to Winston-Salem, this class becomes even more important as Jason Shay looks to continue the positive momentum in Johnson City. Brewer is the biggest haul of the group: a legitimate high-major forward who can play inside and out who chose to join his brother Ledarrius at ETSU rather chase a higher offer. Athletic wing Jalen Johnson will be looked to as a scorer with the team’s top five scorers departing, while Silas Adheke should provide steady play up front. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Shay dips into the portal again to help fill the team’s two remaining scholarships.
- Joe Pridgen (Holy Cross) — Sit one, play three
- Ian Steere (St John’s) — Sit one, play two**
I’m a huge fan of what Takayo Siddle has done since taking over at UNCW. Pridgen has a chance to be a star in the CAA: at 6-5, he plays with tremendous physicality and maturity, and a year of development to improve as a shooter should serve him well. Steere is also a worthwhile investment as a physical post player returning to his home state and to a coach in Siddle who is familiar with him from his time at NC State.