Tracking Transfers around the SEC
In the world of college basketball, arguably the biggest story of the past month — eclipsing even Baylor ending Gonzaga’s perfect season and winning its first national title — has been the flood of players entering the transfer portal. Transfer numbers have been on the rise for years, but due to the NCAA granting all players an extra season of eligibility and passing a one-time transfer waiver that will allow players to change schools without sitting out a season, the number of players looking for a new team is at an all-time high. According to VerbalCommits.com, nearly 1,500 players had entered the transfer portal as of Wednesday afternoon.
Missouri has not been immune from the roster tumult. The Tigers have seen six players from last year’s roster enter the transfer portal, although head coach Cuonzo Martin said last week that he considers seniors Mark Smith and Drew Buggs, who would have exhausted their eligibility in normal times, graduates rather than transfers. Martin also said he’s not sweating the number of players who have left the Tiger roster, nor the uptick in transfers nationwide.
“I think it’s a great thing on both sides,” Martin said. “Give guys an opportunity to be successful and do what they want to do. If they want to go somewhere else and play and be successful and have fun — whatever they’re looking for, give them that. So it wasn’t a problem for me at all.”
Of course, there’s two sides to the transfer portal. Not only has Missouri, and just about every other school in the country, lost multiple players to transfer, the Tigers have added new pieces via the portal. Martin and his staff have signed three transfers so far: Green Bay’s Amari Davis, Ball State’s Jarron Coleman and Kansas State’s DaJuan Gordon. All three players play in the backcourt and have three seasons of eligibility remaining. Missouri still has two open scholarships that it could choose to fill prior to the start of next season.
There's still hundreds of uncommitted players in the portal, and most teams, like Missouri, have room remaining to add to their rosters. But in order to contextualize Missouri’s roster turnover and begin to project how the league standings might shake out next year, we’re taking a look at how each team in the SEC has fared in the transfer market so far this offseason. We’ll work in order of the 2020-21 conference standings.
Record: 26-7 (16-2)
Transferring Out: None
Transferring In: Nimari Burnett (Texas Tech), Noah Gurley (Furman)
After largely dominating the SEC last season, Alabama hasn’t lost any players to the transfer portal, but it will likely lose quite a bit of its production to the professional ranks. Head coach Nate Oats has already said he doesn’t expect any of the Crimson Tide’s four seniors from last season, including SEC player of the year Herb Jones and sharpshooter John Petty — to return next season. A few other players, such as Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackleford, either have or are expected to test the NBA Draft waters, but they could still return to school. So far, Oats has landed a pair of highly-regarded transfers to replace the departing players. Burnett was a top-40 recruit out of California in the 2020 class but played just 12 games at Texas Tech. Gurley drew some Mizzou interest after averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 33.9 percent from three-point range last season at Furman.
Record: 25-7 (13-4)
Transferring Out: Desi Sills (committed to Auburn), Ethan Henderson (committed to Texas A&M), Emeka Obukwelu
Transferring In: Chris Lykes (Miami), Au’Diese Toney (Pittsburgh), Stanley Umude (South Dakota)
Eric Musselman has been one of the most active coaches in the transfer market dating back to his days at Nevada, and this offseason has been no different. With his team likely to lose three of its top four scorers from last season in Moses Moody, Jalen Tate and Justin Smith, Musselman has already found three impact players via the transfer market. While he stands just 5-foot-7, Lykes has proven his ability to score at the high-major level, averaging more than 15 points per game across each of the past three seasons. Toney, likewise, put up solid numbers against ACC competition a season ago, averaging 14.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. And while Umude will face a bit of a jump in competition, he put up gaudy numbers a season ago: 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 35.5 percent from three-point range.
Record: (19-10, 11-6)
Transferring Out: Aundre Hyatt, Jalen Cook, Charles Manning Jr. (committed to South Alabama)
Transferring In: Xavier Pinson (Missouri), Tari Eason (Cincinnati), Seneca Knight (San Jose State)
LSU isn’t losing much production to the transfer portal, with Hyatt being the only outgoing transfer who saw meaningful minutes a season ago. But the Tigers are expected to lose each of their top four scorers from last season to the NBA. The most notable name Will Wade has landed to fill in is Pinson, who showed flashes of brilliance but was never quite able to achieve consistency during his three years at Missouri. LSU’s system should allow Pinson plenty of opportunities to showcase his dynamic offensive skillset. LSU has also landed commitments from Eason, who averaged 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds as a true freshman at Cincinnati, and Knight. Knight played just four games before opting out of the remainder of last season, but he averaged 17.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in 2019-20.
Record: 18-9 (10-7)
Transferring Out: E.J. Anosike, Davonte Gaines (committed to George Mason), Drew Pember (committed to UNC-Asheville), Corey Walker Jr.
Transferring In: Justin Powell (Auburn)
Tennessee is losing four players in the transfer market, but they combined to average fewer than three points per game last season between them. The more notable departures for the Vols are freshman guards Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer both declaring for the NBA Draft and signing agents. Defensive dynamo Yves Pons has also said he will not return for a fifth season. So far, Rick Barnes has landed just one transfer to replace them, but it’s a big name. Powell averaged 11.7 points per game and shot 44.2 percent from three-point range as a freshman at Auburn, though he played just 10 games before being sidelined by an injury. He should make a good compliment for five-star incoming freshman Kennedy Chandler in the backcourt next season.
Record: 15-10 (9-7)
Transferring Out: Ques Glover (committed to Samford), Noah Locke (committed to Louisville), Osayi Osifu (committed to Jacksonville), Omar Payne (committed to Illinois)
Transferring In: Brandon McKissic (UMKC), CJ Felder (Boston College), Phlandrous Fleming (Charleston Southern), Myreon Jones (Penn State),
Even this offseason, few teams are turning their roster over quite to the extent of Florida. The Gators have seen six of their top eight scorers from a season ago either declare for the NBA Draft or enter the transfer portal. Point guard Tre Mann, wing Scottie Lewis and forward Colin Castleton have all announced that they plan to go pro, although Castleton has not signed with an agent. The Gators could also get preseason SEC Player of the Year Keyontae Johnson back next season if he's cleared by doctors, as he announced Wednesday he will not declare for the NBA Draft. Regardless of Johnson's future, Mike White has found quite a bit of talent in the transfer portal to replace the departures. Florida beat out Missouri for McKissic. The St. Louis native averaged 17.2 points per game while also earning Summit League defensive player of the year honors a season ago. Fleming, too, will bring defense and experience in the backcourt, as he has been named Big South defensive player of the year twice while also averaging 20.1 points per game a season ago. Jones might be the best backcourt addition of the three, as he averaged 15.3 points per game in a loaded Big Ten while shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range. Finally, Felder started 17 games for Boston College last season and averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Record: 16-12 (10-8)
Transferring Out: KJ Buffen (committed to UAB), Antavion Collum (committed to Cal-State Bakersfield), Dimencio Vaughn (committed to Rider), Khadim Sy, Shon Robinson
Transferring In: Jaemyn Brakefield (Duke), Nysier Brooks (Miami), Tye Fagan (Georgia)
Ole Miss is losing a couple contributors to the transfer market in Buffen, who started 21 games a season ago, and Sy. Kermit Davis is also adding a trio of transfers to his roster. Fagan started 25 of 26 games for Georgia and averaged 9.2 points per game. Brakefield, a former top-50 recruit, played just 12.5 minutes per game at Duke a season ago. Brooks, a seven-footer entering his seventh year of college, should provide size down low. He averaged 7.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocker per game for Miami last season.
Record: 16-10 (8-8)
Transferring Out: Xavier Pinson (LSU), Mark Smith (Kansas State), Torrence Watson (Elon), Parker Braun (Santa Clara), Drew Buggs, Ed Chang
Transferring In: Amari Davis (Green Bay), Jarron Coleman (Ball State), DaJuan Gordon (Kansas State)
Speaking to local reporters last week, Martin expressed excitement about the three players Missouri has added so far in the transfer market. He lauded the shooting ability of Coleman, Davis’ ability to score at the rim or in the mid-range and Gordon’s hard-nosed approach. With Jeremiah Tilmon, Dru Smith and Mitchell Smith all leaving to play professionally, the Tigers still have two open spots, with the priority being a frontcourt player. One possibility there is not a transfer but junior college recruit Langston Wilson, who recently withdrew his commitment to Alabama.
Record: 9-16 (8-9)
Transferring Out: Devin Askew (committed to Texas), Cam’Ron Fletcher
Transferring In: Kellan Grady (Davidson), Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia)
John Calipari and Kentucky will look to bounce back from a historically bad season by not only signing a recruiting class ranked among the top five nationally but also adding two of the biggest names in the transfer market. Tshiebwe was one of the first big names to hit the portal in this cycle when he left West Virginia’s team in January. The big man averaged 10.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game across a season and a half in Morgantown. Grady brings something Kentucky badly missed last season: three-point shooting. The three-time all-Atlantic 10 first teamer averaged at least 17.1 points per game across each of his four seasons at Davidson and shot 38.2 percent from behind the arc a season ago.
Record: 18-15 (8-10)
Transferring Out: Deivon Smith (committed to Georgia Tech), Reggie Morris, Keondre Montgomery, Andrew Junkin, Jalen Johnson
Transferring In: Garrison Brooks (North Carolina), DJ Jeffries (Memphis)
Ben Howland’s teams always seem to feature size and rebounding ability down low, and the two transfers the Bulldogs have landed since the season ended should continue that trend. Brooks brings four years of starting experience at North Carolina to the frontcourt, and he averaged 10.2 points and 6.9 rebounds a season ago. Jeffries, a former four-star recruit, stands 6-foot-7 but plays more on the wing. He averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 36.6 percent from three-point range across two seasons at Memphis. The looming question for Mississippi State is how it will replace the scoring of DJ Stewart, who averaged 16.0 points per game last year and has since declared for the NBA Draft, although getting his backcourt mate Iverson Molinar back should help.
Record: 14-12 (7-11)
Transferring Out: Sahvir Wheeler, Toumani Camara (committed to Dayton), Tye Fagan (committed to Ole Miss), Christian Brown (committed to Tennessee State), Mikal Starks, Jaykwon Walton
Transferring In: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Virginia), Noah Baumann (USC), Braelen Bridges (Illinois-Chicago), Jailyn Ingram (Florida Atlantic)
Georgia took a big blow Tuesday when Wheeler announced that he planned to declare for the NBA Draft while also exploring options on the transfer portal. Wheeler led Georgia with 14.0 points and 7.4 assists a season ago, and the news three of the Bulldogs five leading scorers from a year ago would be in the transfer portal. If the team’s three seniors from a season ago opt not to return for an extra college season, Georgia will have to replace seven of its top eight scorers. The good news for Tom Crean’s team is it has also added a few potential impact players in the transfer market. Ingram averaged 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 45.2 percent from three-point range last season. Abdur-Rahim was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, although he played just 37 total minutes for Virginia last season. Baumann, too, will look to flourish with more playing time, as he played 11 minutes per game for USC a year ago. Bridges brings good size at 6-foot-10.
Record: 13-14 (7-11)
Transferring Out: Justin Powell (committed to Tennessee), Javon Franklin (committed to South Alabama), Jamal Johnson (committed to UAB), Tyrell Jones (committed to South Alabama)
Transferring In: Walker Kessler (North Carolina), Desi Sills (Arkansas), Wendell Green Jr. (Eastern Kentucky), Zep Jasper (College of Charleston)
Last season was a down year for Auburn under Bruce Pearl, and the Tigers will have to replace dynamic point guard Sharife Cooper as he heads for the NBA. But the pieces Pearl has added from the transfer market suggest that Auburn could be back contending for an SEC crown soon. Kessler was one of the biggest names in the country to hit the portal. The former five-star recruit played just 8.8 minutes per game for North Carolina but he scored in double-figures in five of his final 10 games, including a 20-point performance in an upset of Florida State. Green should help fill in for Cooper. He led all freshmen in the country with 5.0 assists per game last season while also averaging 15.8 points. Sills has 47 games worth of starting experience for an SEC team — he averaged 7.7 points per game for his career at Arkansas — and Jasper put up 15.6 points per game for the College of Charleston last season.
Record: 6-15 (4-12)
Transferring Out: Trey Anderson, Justin Minaya, Trae Hannibal (committed to Murray State), T.J. Moss (committed to McNeese State), Jalyn McCreary, Patrick Iriel
Transferring In: Chico Carter Jr. (Murray State), James Reese (North Texas), Erik Stevenson (Washington), A.J. Wilson (George Mason)
Like Missouri, South Carolina is undergoing a near total rebuild this offseason. Not only have the Gamecocks seen six players enter the transfer portal, but the team’s three leading scorers — AJ Lawson, Jermaine Couisnard and Keyshawn Bryant — have all declared for the NBA Draft. That means only two players who played more than 15 minutes per game last season are expected to return. As a result, Frank Martin is banking on several players being able to make the leap from the mid-major ranks to the SEC right away. Carter averaged 12.7 points while shooting 44.2 percent from three-point range a year ago, while Reese averaged 10.9 points and 4.3 boards for North Texas’ NCAA Tournament team. Wilson averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 2019-20 but saw those numbers dip to 7.8 points and 5.0 rebounds last season. Stevenson is the lone player joining South Carolina’s roster with high-major experience, as of now. The guard, who started his career at Wichita State, averaged 9.3 points and 2.1 assists during his lone season at Washington.
Record: 8-10 (2-8)
Transferring Out: Emanuel Miller, Jay Jay Chandler (South Alabama), Savion Flagg (Sam Houston State), Kevin Marfo (Quinnipiac), Jonathan Aku, LaDamien Bradford, Cashius McNeilly, Jaxson Robinson, Jackson Young
Transferring In: Javonte Brown (UConn), Ethan Henderson (Arkansas), Marcus Williams (Wyoming)
Let’s start here: Buzz Williams got a nice addition when Marcus Williams committed to the Aggies this week. Williams averaged 14.8 points while playing more than 30 minutes per game as a freshman at Wyoming. Aside from that, however, the transfer portal has been unkind to Texas A&M. A whopping nine Aggie players have entered the portal so far, including Miller, the team’s leading scorer. Senior Quenton Jackson has not yet announced whether he will return for a fifth year, either. If Jackson does not return, the Aggies will have to find a way to replace six of their top eight minute-getters from a team that struggled last season.
Record: 9-16 (3-13)
Transferring Out: Dylan Disu, Clevon Brown (committed to Florida International), Maxwell Evans (committed to TCU), DJ Harvey (committed to Detroit), Ejike Obinna (committed to St. Joseph’s), Issac McBride
Transferring In: Liam Robbins (Minnesota), Terren Frank (TCU), Rodney Chatman (Dayton)
There weren’t many bright spots for Vanderbilt last season. Two of the few were Scottie Pippen Jr., who has already declared for the NBA Draft (although he plans to maintain his college eligibility), and Disu, who announced his intention to transfer Wednesday. Disu averaged 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season while shooting 36.9 percent from three-point range. The Commodores are also losing four of their top six minute-getters to the transfer portal in Disu, Evans, Brown and Harvey. The one silver lining is the addition of Robbins. The 7-footer started his career at Drake before averaging 11.7 points and 6.6 rebounds for Minnesota last season. He showed a bit of range, as well, shooting better than 32 percent from three-point range. Chatman, too, has been productive, averaging 7.9 points and 3.8 assists per game as Dayton’s starting point guard before undergoing season-ending hand surgery. Frank is a more of a mystery, having played just 8.6 minutes per game during his lone season at TCU.