Evans Seven: Where top graduate transfers might land
The offseason has come quickly because of the coronavirus pandemic that abruptly canceled the NCAA Tournament. On- and off-campus recruiting has also been placed on the backburner, which has pushed the transfer portal to the forefront in regards to roster building.
In this week’s Evans Seven, we take a look at the seven top graduate transfers and where they might finish their college careers beginning in the fall.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. Kevin Marfo
A true big man who can dominate the paint, possess good touch on interior finishes and clean the glass remains a major need for the very best programs in the nation. Enter Kevin Marfo. The nation’s leading rebounder began his college career at George Washington before leaving for Quinnipiac after his freshman season. From there, he continued to bump up his averages across the board, and he just finished his junior campaign by posting close to 10 points and 13 rebounds per game. Those numbers and his physical tangibles will translate to the highest level.
The list of schools involved include Arizona State, Arkansas, Boston College, Louisville, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Penn State, San Diego State, St. John’s, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and Wichita State. The name of the school will not be as important to Marfo as the opportunity to develop and play early and often.
2. Bryce Aiken
A former member of the Rivals150 who chose Harvard over a collection of power conference programs in high school, Bryce Aiken was a more-than-productive member of the Ivy League program the last few years. Durability concerns have popped up, as Aiken has played in just 65 games throughout his college career. However, when healthy, Aiken is a tremendous scorer who can create offense and has the toughness and physical tenacity to contribute in any type of setting. While he played in just seven games last season, he did put up 30 points against nationally ranked Maryland in a November contest.
There is no shortage of suitors for him, including Iowa State, Marquette, Maryland, Michigan and Seton Hall. Expect his list to expand. He is a player who would be given the ball from day one for whichever program he chooses.
3. Darius Perry
Ranked No. 98 in the 2017 class, Darius Perry was a former Rick Pitino recruit who stuck things out for the first two years of the Chris Mack era at Louisville. He did a good job of changing his playing style to fit the defensive schemes that Mack has been respected for, but Perry's offensive numbers never improved the way some had expected. This winter, Perry mustered just five points and close to three assists per game and his field-goal percentage hovered below 40 percent.
However, he is a quick-twitch, tough-nosed guard who can plug a number of holes, and his experience cannot be understated. His recruitment won’t play out as long as some others, and a cut school list is expected to be produced sometime soon. Currently, the schools involved include Alabama, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Iona, Iowa State, Marquette, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, San Diego State, Seton Hall, Texas and Wichita State.
4. Seth Towns
Seth Towns joins teammate Bryce Aiken as a top grad transfer who will leave Harvard and play at the highest level in the fall. While Aiken has just one season to play, Towns might have the chance to play two full years.
Like Aiken, Towns has been hampered by injuries. He has continued to rehabilitate his knee and has not played a college game in over two years. When healthy, Towns is the epitome of a new-age forward who boasts career averages of over 15 points and six rebounds while making close to 42% of his 3-point tries.
A decision could come as soon as this weekend. Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Syracuse and Virginia have all been in the picture, but Ohio State is doing its best to hold off a late surge from Duke as it tries to bring the Columbus native back home for the fall.
5. Jordan Bruner
News came late Wednesday evening that Jordan Bruner, a 6-foot-9 power forward by way of Yale, was ready to leave the Ivy League for a grad-transfer season. Immediately, the South Carolina native became one of the more heavily coveted transfers this offseason, and he should have the pick of the litter for the fall.
Bruner has continued to debate whether to enter the NBA Draft, but the impact of the coronavirus on the draft process could force his hand to the point that he chooses one more year on the college hardwood. This past season was his best, as he nearly averaged a double-double while also showing the ability to extend the defense with the perimeter jumper.
There will be no shortage of suitors for Bruner, and there is a chance he could return to his home state of South Carolina for his final season, but Duke, Baylor, Florida State, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland and Xavier are among the others worth monitoring.
6. Mike Smith
Mike Smith entered his name in the transfer portal back in the fall before he started his final season at Columbia. That allowed many schools to recruit Smith while he continued to lead the Ivy program in scoring. An undersized scoring guard, Smith averaged over 22 points per game on the season and while the efficiency wasn’t always there, the volume certainly was. He is more than just a scorer, however, as he has shown the ability to facilitate, and he had eight games with seven assists or more last season.
The Illinois native will have no issues in finding a favorable landing spot, but it appears that Arizona and Michigan are the two programs to beat. Each have something entirely different to offer. Arizona will ask him to replace Nico Mannion, while Michigan offers the comfortable landing spot near his home. Also, the Wolverines will have to fill the void that will be left by Zavier Simpson.
7. E.J. Anosike
E.J. Anosike is arguably the most productive and efficient prospect to make this list. He is coming off a resounding season at Sacred Heart in which he led his team in scoring, rebounding, free throw attempts and field goals made. The New Jersey native is a bit of a tweener position-wise, but he would fit in well as a small-ball power forward for a high-major program in his final season.
Anosike kicked off his junior campaign with 20 points against Providence. In February, he posted 26 points and 22 rebounds against LIU. There is no shortage of suitors for Anosike, who would give any program a boost in scoring and rebounding.