Evans Seven: Winners of the transfer wars
Outside of a select few that remain in the transfer portal and a handful of others that might decide to enter the portal later this summer, things have come to a halt regarding the transfer wire. With that in mind, we have a good idea of who has won the transfer wars this spring. We take a look at those seven programs in the latest Evans Seven.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. TEXAS TECH
Chris Beard did it again. Texas Tech will not only enroll two top-40 prospects and a four-star recruit in the fall, but it will also add an onslaught of talented transfers.
Questions remain whether the Red Raiders’ traditional transfers will push for waivers. though it is likely that their biggest offseason win, Georgetown transfer Mac McClung, will hope to see the floor right away. McClung has been a bit averse to defending, but that will not fly in Lubbock. If Beard can help him add some defensive prowess to his offensive upside, McClung’s pro hopes should improve. VCU transfer Marcus Santos-Silva will be immediately eligible, and while he is not the long-armed shot blocker to which Texas Tech has become accustomed, he is arguably one of the most skilled back-to-the-rim big men Beard has ever had. Throw in Jamarius Burton (Wichita State), who fits the Red Raiders’ culture to a tee, and what you have is one of the biggest winners of the transfer portal this spring.
Richard Pitino absolutely hit it out of the park this spring, thanks to his work via the transfer market. Brandon Johnson is the perfect one-year producer in the frontcourt, and he brings loads of prior work completed at Western Michigan. Granted, the step up from the MAC to the Big Ten is sizable. But the role carved out for him, especially if a healthy Eric Curry can return to the floor, should allow for a seamless transition.
It looks as if Johnson will play right away but asked to sit out this season is Liam Robbins - quite possibly the top NBA Draft prospect in the Missouri Valley last year - will be a factor along the frontline and a major contributor when he eventually sees the court again. Finally, Both Gach was a major reason for optimism at Utah heading into the fall. Now in the Twin Cities, Gach might also be forced to sit this season, which should only make his long-awaited return that much more inviting a year from now.
When Eric Musselman is leading your program, you should come to expect the transfer portal will be a heavily used tool and a major asset in building his roster. Musselman could have eased back, thanks to a top 10 recruiting class, but that is not how he rolls.
While three transfers were sitting out this past season, three others will see the floor right away, thanks to their graduate-transfer status. Vance Jackson began his career at UConn before having two productive years at New Mexico. Jalen Tate, the younger brother of former Ohio State standout Jae’Sean Tate, is a quality two-way weapon. Lastly, high-flying Indiana athlete Justin Smith brings a major punch off the ball. If these players are assigned the right roles - and they accept them - the Hawgs could be a major competitor in the SEC.
The Tigers will bring two of the more gifted, versatile and talented transfers to campus this fall. While neither has been cleared to play immediately, it doesn’t slight Penny Hardaway's work.
Outside of Dayton star Obi Toppin, Landers Nolley was the breakout name from the Maui Invitational and the Tigers are hoping to build on the success that he had in Hawaii for Virginia Tech. The shot-making forward is joined by Evansville transfer DeAndre Williams, who brings a broader, more versatile skill set to Memphis. If both are eligible and are able to play alongside Lester Quinones and DJ Jeffries, arguably no program will have a more diverse, talented package of wings and forwards.
Was there really much question whether Nebraska would make this list? Fred Hoiberg has written the book on how to run successfully run a program by using the transfer market. While a turnaround at Nebraska is still in the future, it did take a turn for the better this spring thanks to the number of talented transfer recruitments the Huskers won. Questions remain as to who will actually see the floor this fall, but the program is not lacking for talent.
Trey McGowens is a hard-nosed guard that brings over 50 career starts at Pitt to Lincoln, while Kobe Webster is a perfect plug-in who has put in his minutes at Western Illinois. Teddy Allen is a bucket-getting wing/forward that, if he can get himself on the right path, should find great success and lastly, Trevor Lakes’ 3-point shooting prowess should transition well from Division II ball. There are a lot of moving parts, but if there is one coach up to the task, Hoiberg is the guy.
6. OLE MISS
In what has been an eventful few weeks in Oxford, but Kermit Davis should feel good about his program entering the new season - and about its future.
While the commitment of four-star junior Daeshun Ruffin was a major win for the Ole Miss program, the work that Davis put in beforehand should equate to greater success right away. That is because of the two graduate-transfers that they landed, Rider’s Dimencio Vaughn and Arizona State’s Romello White. Both players will add toughness, and with the return of Devontae Shuler and the enrollment of top 40 freshman Matt Murrell, the Rebels should have more than enough firepower to go up against the best in the SEC.
Finally, Robert Allen may have to sit out this season, but he spent two good years at Samford and is the type of versatile plug-in player that should help Davis when his eligibility begins again. Together, the three newcomers could be a major reason why the Rebels make future March Madness fields.
7. RHODE ISLAND
Talk about reshaping a program. In a matter of weeks, David Cox transformed Rhode Island into one of the top landing spots for transfer talent. His new way of thinking clearly panned out, and now its just a question of whether his talented collection of newcomers buys into the bigger picture.
The Rams started the spring out in the biggest way possible by landing the Mitchell brothers, Makhi and Makhel. They are former Rivals150 prospects and were expected to be forces for Maryland before deciding to leave mid-year. Another former four-star prospect, Jalen Carey, joined Rhode Island after two years at Syracuse. Towson standout Allen Betrand, who scored in double figures against Florida and Xavier last season, is also in the fold. Finally, Malik Martin, the younger brother of former URI standout Hassan Martin, will follow in his older sibling’s footsteps.
All five players could sit out portions of next season, but URI fans should be plenty optimistic about the years ahead.