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Ranking the best players in the NCAA men’s basketball transfer portal

More than 1,000 men’s Division I basketball players have entered the transfer portal since it opened in March. That is a lot of ground for you to cover, so we’re here to point you in the direction of the names you most need to track. Welcome to The Athletic’s transfer portal rankings.

This is a living, breathing document that will continue to be updated as more players hit the portal and, frankly, as we further evaluate the players already in it. Every day, our conversations with college coaches begin with us asking each other if we’ve begun scouting a certain player. Often, we all admit we simply haven’t had the time yet. The sheer number of players in the portal has required around-the-clock work to get eyes on everybody that is necessary.

While our goal every year is to create the best, most comprehensive transfer portal scouting product, it takes time to evaluate each player. If you don’t see a player ranked that you believe should be, be patient. If that player is good enough, we’ll get to them eventually. As of the last weekend in April, we have ranked more than 160 players.

Our rules for when a player becomes eligible for the list are simple: Either the player himself must announce he is entering the portal, or his name must actually be in the portal. If you are curious about only the players who have committed or remain available, you can filter for either using one of the search sidebars. Once the player commits, we have and will add a separate section within the player’s write-up with thoughts on how they fit with their new school.

A few other rankings notes for these are worth bringing up.

First, positional scarcity is taken into account. The easiest player type to find in the portal, as you’ll see below, are scoring guards. The hardest types are versatile wings and bigs who can play on both ends of the court. That’s why, for the most part, you will see us rank wings and bigs more favorably.

Second, years remaining in school play a key role in our rankings. Players with potential to play more than one season for their new school are given a boost. The portal closes on Wednesday, May 1, except for players whose coaches left for another school. They will have another 30 days to enter the portal.

Here are The Athletic’s evolving 2024 transfer portal rankings.

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Ht: 6-7 Wt: 210

DeVries will likely remain the best player in the portal, and it’s obvious where he’ll be headed. The two-time Missouri Valley Player of the Year is a genuine NBA prospect and a player who keeps improving every year.

This season, his playmaking in ball screens took an enormous leap. DeVries made a killing as a sophomore running off all sorts of off-ball actions designed to get him open from long range. This season, DeVries became the primary playmaker for a Bulldogs team that won 28 games on their way to making a second straight NCAA Tournament. DeVries crushed it in ball-screens, especially on early drag actions that got him loose for 3. Plus, Drake still used him off the ball with flare and pindown screens, too.

The combination of DeVries’ dynamic on- and off-ball play made him one of college basketball’s most lethal offensive players. He averaged 21.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while drilling 36.3 percent of one of the most difficult 3-point shot diets in the country. He drilled 46 percent of his pull-up 3s this season, an absurd percentage. He’s extremely well-rounded and almost impossible to stop.

Tucker’s father, Darian DeVries, is the reason he played for Drake instead of a high major when he was a four-star, top-100 prospect coming out of high school. Now that Darian is headed to coach West Virginia, Tucker will follow him to Morgantown.— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 210

DeVries will likely remain the best player in the portal, and it’s obvious where he’ll be headed. The two-time Missouri Valley Player of the Year is a genuine NBA prospect and a player who keeps improving every year.

This season, his playmaking in ball screens took an enormous leap. DeVries made a killing as a sophomore running off all sorts of off-ball actions designed to get him open from long range. This season, DeVries became the primary playmaker for a Bulldogs team that won 28 games on their way to making a second straight NCAA Tournament. DeVries crushed it in ball-screens, especially on early drag actions that got him loose for 3. Plus, Drake still used him off the ball with flare and pindown screens, too.

The combination of DeVries’ dynamic on- and off-ball play made him one of college basketball’s most lethal offensive players. He averaged 21.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while drilling 36.3 percent of one of the most difficult 3-point shot diets in the country. He drilled 46 percent of his pull-up 3s this season, an absurd percentage. He’s extremely well-rounded and almost impossible to stop.

Tucker’s father, Darian DeVries, is the reason he played for Drake instead of a high major when he was a four-star, top-100 prospect coming out of high school. Now that Darian is headed to coach West Virginia, Tucker will follow him to Morgantown.— Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Drake

West Virginia Mountaineers

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 203

Davis is testing the NBA Draft waters again for the second straight year while also entering the portal. Davis is a worker who went from averaging 3.2 points per game as a freshman to averaging 18.2 as a senior and being named the co-American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He is one of the best scorers in the portal and has turned himself into an elite shooter, knocking down 41.4 percent of his 3s this past season. He plays bigger than his size and is a strong outside-of-his area rebounder, averaging 6.3 boards per game.

After playing on a balanced scoring team during FAU’s 2023 Final Four run, Davis showed this season he could be a high-usage scorer. He’s good off the catch, and as a righty who prefers to drive left, he also can put the ball on the floor to score at all three levels. He was at his best in big games, averaging 20.8 points against the six high majors on FAU’s schedule and scoring a season-high 35 points against Arizona. Davis is also a willing passer when he gets downhill. He’s always been turnover-prone, which is partly due to his aggressiveness.

He will be a target for high majors looking for a perimeter scorer. The possibility of Davis following coach Dusty May to Michigan is an obvious one. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 203

Davis is testing the NBA Draft waters again for the second straight year while also entering the portal. Davis is a worker who went from averaging 3.2 points per game as a freshman to averaging 18.2 as a senior and being named the co-American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He is one of the best scorers in the portal and has turned himself into an elite shooter, knocking down 41.4 percent of his 3s this past season. He plays bigger than his size and is a strong outside-of-his area rebounder, averaging 6.3 boards per game.

After playing on a balanced scoring team during FAU’s 2023 Final Four run, Davis showed this season he could be a high-usage scorer. He’s good off the catch, and as a righty who prefers to drive left, he also can put the ball on the floor to score at all three levels. He was at his best in big games, averaging 20.8 points against the six high majors on FAU’s schedule and scoring a season-high 35 points against Arizona. Davis is also a willing passer when he gets downhill. He’s always been turnover-prone, which is partly due to his aggressiveness.

He will be a target for high majors looking for a perimeter scorer. The possibility of Davis following coach Dusty May to Michigan is an obvious one. — C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

Florida Atlantic

Arkansas Razorbacks

Ht: 6-10Wt: 240

Avila is an awesome offensive talent and limited defender. He is a 6-foot-10 point guard who can also wreck in the low post. He has every offensive skill: ballhandling, passing, shooting and a low-post game. His feel is elite. It doesn’t really matter that he’s slow on the offensive end, because he has a killer shot fake that often gives him a step and he can also overpower defenders with Barkleys. He’s going to get to his spots. Indiana State built everything around Avila, who put up some of the best efficiency numbers in college basketball. He averaged 17.4 points while shooting 39.4 percent from 3, making 62 percent of his 2s and 80.8 percent at the free-throw line.

He proved in the NIT that his game translates to higher levels, going for 11 points and seven assists against Minnesota, then 22 points and six assists against Cincinnati, then 26 points and three assists against Utah and finally 13 points and five assists in the final against Seton Hall.

Defensively, Avila knows where to be, but his foot speed and lack of jumping ability limits how you can play on that end. Indiana State played Avila in drop coverage and tried to keep everything in front. He does a good job of not fouling — 3.4 fouls per 40 — but Indiana State’s defense ranked 114th in adjusted efficiency. There’s a ceiling there, but he was also the hub of one of the best offenses in the country. He reminds me a lot of Georges Niang, the former Iowa State big who helped lead the Cyclones to two Sweet 16s and was the hub of a top-12 offense in all four of his seasons in Ames. The Sycamores, in case you were wondering, ranked 13th in adjusted offense this year.

— C.J. Moore

Center

Committed

Indiana State

Saint Louis Billikens

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 250

The Mountain West Player of the Year has hit the portal, an expected outcome following coach Danny Sprinkle’s departure to Washington. Osobor followed Sprinkle from Montana State to Utah State this past season and went from the Big Sky Sixth Man of the Year to the top player in the Mountain West. He averaged 17.7 points per game while grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out 2.8 assists and blocking over one shot per game.

Almost everything comes around the basket for Osobor, specifically with his back to the basket. Osobor averaged more post possessions per game this season than all but five players nationally, per Synergy. His effectiveness came as part of a Utah State offense that wasn’t loaded with shot creators or outside shooters.

Osobor is terrific at establishing post position deep in the paint. He uses his lack of height to his advantage, getting lower than his man to gain leverage and keep space. He’s also really sharp at keeping his dribble alive to create an angle, then exploding toward the rim with jump stops and other moves. He’ll deploy well-timed drop stops to get to layups or dunks, or work toward quick floaters over the top of bigs. He has good touch around the rim, making about 63 percent of his attempts around the basket, per Synergy.

But Osobor does more than just post. He corralled more than 10 percent of his team’s misses with either put-backs or tip-outs. He has an excellent understanding of passing angles and can make sharp reads from a standstill position or on the move. He excelled at finding cutters himself and was really capable as a playmaker going in either direction. His hands are enormous, and he has full control over the ball while making his moves.

Osobor is a center, and there are some inherent defensive limitations that come when a 6-foot-8 person plays that position. He moves well enough on the perimeter to run different defensive coverages, and he’s a willing, physical player on the interior. But Utah State struggled to stop anyone at the rim this past season, which was ultimately the reason they were eliminated by Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. That weakness does make me slightly question Osobor’s potential would be at the high-major level.

Nevertheless, he’s earned the right to give it a go. It’ll be intriguing to see if he follows Sprinkle again and heads to Washington. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 250

The Mountain West Player of the Year has hit the portal, an expected outcome following coach Danny Sprinkle’s departure to Washington. Osobor followed Sprinkle from Montana State to Utah State this past season and went from the Big Sky Sixth Man of the Year to the top player in the Mountain West. He averaged 17.7 points per game while grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out 2.8 assists and blocking over one shot per game.

Almost everything comes around the basket for Osobor, specifically with his back to the basket. Osobor averaged more post possessions per game this season than all but five players nationally, per Synergy. His effectiveness came as part of a Utah State offense that wasn’t loaded with shot creators or outside shooters.

Osobor is terrific at establishing post position deep in the paint. He uses his lack of height to his advantage, getting lower than his man to gain leverage and keep space. He’s also really sharp at keeping his dribble alive to create an angle, then exploding toward the rim with jump stops and other moves. He’ll deploy well-timed drop stops to get to layups or dunks, or work toward quick floaters over the top of bigs. He has good touch around the rim, making about 63 percent of his attempts around the basket, per Synergy.

But Osobor does more than just post. He corralled more than 10 percent of his team’s misses with either put-backs or tip-outs. He has an excellent understanding of passing angles and can make sharp reads from a standstill position or on the move. He excelled at finding cutters himself and was really capable as a playmaker going in either direction. His hands are enormous, and he has full control over the ball while making his moves.

Osobor is a center, and there are some inherent defensive limitations that come when a 6-foot-8 person plays that position. He moves well enough on the perimeter to run different defensive coverages, and he’s a willing, physical player on the interior. But Utah State struggled to stop anyone at the rim this past season, which was ultimately the reason they were eliminated by Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. That weakness does make me slightly question Osobor’s potential would be at the high-major level.

Nevertheless, he’s earned the right to give it a go. It’ll be intriguing to see if he follows Sprinkle again and heads to Washington. — Sam Vecenie 

Forward

In portal

Utah State

Ht: 6-6Wt: 210

The Big East first-teamer is one of the more unique players in college basketball. Richmond is a big point guard with terrific vision who goes against the grain when it comes to analytics. He shoots a lot of mid-rangers and isn’t a good 3-point shooter — 33.7 percent for his career. He fills the stat sheet: 15.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

Richmond is hard to guard because of his size and his ability to get into the paint. He does a good change of changing pace with his dribble and he’s crafty in the paint with one-handed finishes and leaners and shot-fakes that gets his man in the air. He averages 4.6 free throws per game and shoots 80.7 percent from the line. Defensively, he has quick hands and his length is a problem for opposing guards. He can also guard bigger guys when needed. On the days where he’s not scoring, his defense, passing and rebounding still allow him to contribute to winning.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 210

The Big East first-teamer is one of the more unique players in college basketball. Richmond is a big point guard with terrific vision who goes against the grain when it comes to analytics. He shoots a lot of mid-rangers and isn’t a good 3-point shooter — 33.7 percent for his career. He fills the stat sheet: 15.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

Richmond is hard to guard because of his size and his ability to get into the paint. He does a good change of changing pace with his dribble and he’s crafty in the paint with one-handed finishes and leaners and shot-fakes that gets his man in the air. He averages 4.6 free throws per game and shoots 80.7 percent from the line. Defensively, he has quick hands and his length is a problem for opposing guards. He can also guard bigger guys when needed. On the days where he’s not scoring, his defense, passing and rebounding still allow him to contribute to winning.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-6Wt: 190

Griffen is a plug-and-play wing because of his ability to shoot the ball. He made 74 3s this season at a 39.2 percent clip. He’s elite as a spot-up shooter. The release is quick and high. He can also make shots off the move, but most of his 3s come off spot-ups. He’s limited as an athlete but seems to realize his limitations and play to his strengths. He almost always plays off two feet and still shoots it well at the rim, helped by his size. He shot 64.3 percent at the rim, per Synergy. He’s right-handed dominant — so he usually drives right — and not the type to shake defenders off the bounce. Most of his points come on jumpers. Go behind a dribble handoff or ball screen, and he’s pulling it. He shot more 3s (189) than 2s (102). He’s been well-schooled in how to play efficient basketball, hunting 3s and being willing to make the extra pass if the shot isn’t there for him. He made eight 3s in the Sweet 16 game against North Carolina and then followed that up with eight assists in the Elite Eight against Clemson. This is a surprising one because he’s such a good fit in Alabama’s system and started 33 games this season.

 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 190

Griffen is a plug-and-play wing because of his ability to shoot the ball. He made 74 3s this season at a 39.2 percent clip. He’s elite as a spot-up shooter. The release is quick and high. He can also make shots off the move, but most of his 3s come off spot-ups. He’s limited as an athlete but seems to realize his limitations and play to his strengths. He almost always plays off two feet and still shoots it well at the rim, helped by his size. He shot 64.3 percent at the rim, per Synergy. He’s right-handed dominant — so he usually drives right — and not the type to shake defenders off the bounce. Most of his points come on jumpers. Go behind a dribble handoff or ball screen, and he’s pulling it. He shot more 3s (189) than 2s (102). He’s been well-schooled in how to play efficient basketball, hunting 3s and being willing to make the extra pass if the shot isn’t there for him. He made eight 3s in the Sweet 16 game against North Carolina and then followed that up with eight assists in the Elite Eight against Clemson. This is a surprising one because he’s such a good fit in Alabama’s system and started 33 games this season.

 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Alabama

Kansas Jayhawks

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195

A redshirt freshman who played six games last year at TCU before transferring, Haggerty moved to Tulsa and immediately was the most dominant freshman in the AAC. He won the AAC’s Rookie of the Year award and was third-team All-ACC in a vote that made very little sense. Haggerty finished second in scoring in the league overall but first in conference play.

There were not five better players in the AAC this year. Honestly, I’m not convinced there was a better player by the end of the season, as over his last 17 games, Haggerty averaged 24 points, six rebounds and 4.2 assists on a nearly two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. No player in the country is better at drawing fouls. Haggerty averaged 10 free throw attempts per game this season, as his deceleration step around the rim and ability to absorb contact is elite. He’s strong and capable of using his shoulders to shrug off defenders once he gets an angle on them as they try to recover.

Everything for him is based on that ability to get to the rim. Haggerty is going to press the issue in transition, where he’ll try to attack with aggression and get to the rim. Then, in halfcourt settings, he’ll hunt ball screens and attack out of those and attempt to get all the way to the rim. If he doesn’t get there, he’s going to stop in the midrange for a little floater, shots on which he nearly made half of his attempts. Sometimes he’ll take a pull-up jumper in the midrange, too, although the jumper is by far the piece of the equation that needs the most work.

Haggerty made just three of his 30 pull-up 3-point attempts this year, per Synergy. However, he did make shots off the catch at a 39 percent clip from 3. The touch is there, as can be seen by his finishing craft on his floaters. And he’s not wildly selfish, either. Haggerty isn’t an elite passer, but he’s a good one. If you blitz him, he’ll find the open man. He reads the court well. Given that he has three years left, I think there is a real case Haggerty is the best player in the portal. He’s going to be an elite college scorer for as long as he’s at the level, and he’ll do so at any level.

— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195

A redshirt freshman who played six games last year at TCU before transferring, Haggerty moved to Tulsa and immediately was the most dominant freshman in the AAC. He won the AAC’s Rookie of the Year award and was third-team All-ACC in a vote that made very little sense. Haggerty finished second in scoring in the league overall but first in conference play.

There were not five better players in the AAC this year. Honestly, I’m not convinced there was a better player by the end of the season, as over his last 17 games, Haggerty averaged 24 points, six rebounds and 4.2 assists on a nearly two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. No player in the country is better at drawing fouls. Haggerty averaged 10 free throw attempts per game this season, as his deceleration step around the rim and ability to absorb contact is elite. He’s strong and capable of using his shoulders to shrug off defenders once he gets an angle on them as they try to recover.

Everything for him is based on that ability to get to the rim. Haggerty is going to press the issue in transition, where he’ll try to attack with aggression and get to the rim. Then, in halfcourt settings, he’ll hunt ball screens and attack out of those and attempt to get all the way to the rim. If he doesn’t get there, he’s going to stop in the midrange for a little floater, shots on which he nearly made half of his attempts. Sometimes he’ll take a pull-up jumper in the midrange, too, although the jumper is by far the piece of the equation that needs the most work.

Haggerty made just three of his 30 pull-up 3-point attempts this year, per Synergy. However, he did make shots off the catch at a 39 percent clip from 3. The touch is there, as can be seen by his finishing craft on his floaters. And he’s not wildly selfish, either. Haggerty isn’t an elite passer, but he’s a good one. If you blitz him, he’ll find the open man. He reads the court well. Given that he has three years left, I think there is a real case Haggerty is the best player in the portal. He’s going to be an elite college scorer for as long as he’s at the level, and he’ll do so at any level.

— Sam Vecenie

Haggerty is an enormous get for Memphis, although I am a bit disappointed we won’t see him in a stronger top-to-bottom conference. We’ve already seen him dominate the American — he averaged 23.4 points per game in 18 AAC games last season for Tulsa.

The Tigers’ roster at the time of Haggerty’s commitment is fluid. Forward Nick Jourdain, who started 25 games last season, will be back and useful as a floor-spacing forward on Haggerty’s foul-drawing drives. But coach Penny Hardaway is still waiting on David Jones, the 21-points-per-game wing scorer seen as likely to at least test the NBA Draft waters. If Memphis gets Jones back to pair with Haggerty, it’d have a real chance to be in the top-25.

Still, Haggety’s commitment alone has the Tigers’ offseason off to a strong start. He gives them a genuine building block who could be there long-term. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Tulsa

Memphis Tigers

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 170

Mack was arguably the most productive freshman guard in the country this season. The Prince George’s County, Md. native averaged 17.2 points, four rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game, though his 3-point percentage tailed off in the latter stages of Ivy League play. Still, he was a deserved Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and his play at such a young age in what was a strong season for the conference was remarkable.

The lefty guard can score from all three levels in the pick-and-roll. If he cannot find an easy bucket in transition, he’ll quickly use a ball screen to try to get into the teeth of the defense. He attempted about three shots at the rim per game in halfcourt situations this season, per Synergy, and used an occasional floater or pull-up midrange jumper as a counter. When opponents went under his screens, he comfortably stopped and popped from distance, making about one pull-up 3 per game.

But Mack is especially appealing for a high-major school because he combines that skill with a strong off-ball game. Harvard used him to attack off the catch a fair amount last season, allowing him to generate spot-up 3s, midrange jumpers or drives all the way to the rim when opponents closed out aggressively. His combination of speed and shake off the dribble is hard to stop once he gets a head of steam.

On top of all that, Mack can really pass. He’s excellent at drawing defenders to him before hitting his roller with a variety of pocket passes and lobs. He’s comfortable playing off two feet, with a poised, patient style.

Many scouts see Mack as a potential NBA player, and I bet he’ll make an all-conference team as an upperclassman. Every school in the Washington, D.C. area should be checking in, as should just about everyone nationally. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 170

Mack was arguably the most productive freshman guard in the country this season. The Prince George’s County, Md. native averaged 17.2 points, four rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game, though his 3-point percentage tailed off in the latter stages of Ivy League play. Still, he was a deserved Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and his play at such a young age in what was a strong season for the conference was remarkable.

The lefty guard can score from all three levels in the pick-and-roll. If he cannot find an easy bucket in transition, he’ll quickly use a ball screen to try to get into the teeth of the defense. He attempted about three shots at the rim per game in halfcourt situations this season, per Synergy, and used an occasional floater or pull-up midrange jumper as a counter. When opponents went under his screens, he comfortably stopped and popped from distance, making about one pull-up 3 per game.

But Mack is especially appealing for a high-major school because he combines that skill with a strong off-ball game. Harvard used him to attack off the catch a fair amount last season, allowing him to generate spot-up 3s, midrange jumpers or drives all the way to the rim when opponents closed out aggressively. His combination of speed and shake off the dribble is hard to stop once he gets a head of steam.

On top of all that, Mack can really pass. He’s excellent at drawing defenders to him before hitting his roller with a variety of pocket passes and lobs. He’s comfortable playing off two feet, with a poised, patient style.

Many scouts see Mack as a potential NBA player, and I bet he’ll make an all-conference team as an upperclassman. Every school in the Washington, D.C. area should be checking in, as should just about everyone nationally. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Harvard

Georgetown Hoyas

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 180

Rice arrived at Washington State in 2021 and decided to redshirt in order to maintain eligibility. Then before the 2022-23 season, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and took a medical redshirt to recover, getting cleared to play again in June 2023. From the moment he stepped on the court, it was all systems go. He won first-team All-Pac-12 and the Pac-12 Rookie of the Year, leading Washington State to the NCAA Tournament and a second-place finish in the league while averaging 14.8 points and 3.8 assists per game.

Rice can pass, but his tendency right now is to get downhill and be a scorer. He plays at his own pace, utilizing hang dribbles to keep himself alive. From there, everything is available to him at all three levels. He’s extremely comfortable pulling up from midrange and from 3, although his shooting percentages in both areas were quite poor. Rice thrives when he can get all the way to the rim, where his 62 percent mark (per Synergy) was very strong for a high-major guard. He also showed some ability to play off the ball.

Rice only hit 27.5 percent of his 3s this season despite making 81 percent of his foul shots. There’s nothing clearly wrong with the shot, and he has good touch. If he starts hitting at around 35 percent from distance, he’ll be one of the best guards in the country next season. He could play at any program in the country, but it’ll be interesting to see whether he follows his coach Kyle Smith from Washington State to Stanford. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 180

Rice arrived at Washington State in 2021 and decided to redshirt in order to maintain eligibility. Then before the 2022-23 season, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and took a medical redshirt to recover, getting cleared to play again in June 2023. From the moment he stepped on the court, it was all systems go. He won first-team All-Pac-12 and the Pac-12 Rookie of the Year, leading Washington State to the NCAA Tournament and a second-place finish in the league while averaging 14.8 points and 3.8 assists per game.

Rice can pass, but his tendency right now is to get downhill and be a scorer. He plays at his own pace, utilizing hang dribbles to keep himself alive. From there, everything is available to him at all three levels. He’s extremely comfortable pulling up from midrange and from 3, although his shooting percentages in both areas were quite poor. Rice thrives when he can get all the way to the rim, where his 62 percent mark (per Synergy) was very strong for a high-major guard. He also showed some ability to play off the ball.

Rice only hit 27.5 percent of his 3s this season despite making 81 percent of his foul shots. There’s nothing clearly wrong with the shot, and he has good touch. If he starts hitting at around 35 percent from distance, he’ll be one of the best guards in the country next season. He could play at any program in the country, but it’ll be interesting to see whether he follows his coach Kyle Smith from Washington State to Stanford. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Washington State

Ht: 6-4Wt: 195

Conwell came out of nowhere to become one of the best mid-major guards in the country. He went from averaging 5.1 points per game, making 27 3s and shooting 30 percent from distance as a freshman at South Florida to averaging 16.6 points, making 104 3s at a 40.7 percent clip and averaging 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists at Indiana State as a sophomore. The lefty is the ideal guard in the modern game. Every one of his shots this season was a 3 or a layup, and his efficiency numbers were picturesque: 61.3 percent on 2s, 85.5 percent at the free-throw line (on 3.4 attempts per game) and then over 40 percent from deep, including 42.5 percent off the catch, per Synergy.
Conwell is terrific in the pick-and-roll game. He can shoot the 3 if his man goes under, makes the simple pass when he draws two to the ball and is really good attacking switches and getting downhill. In pick-and-roll scenarios that include passes, Indiana State scored 1.248 points per possession when Conwell was the handler, per Synergy. Out of Indiana State’s three guards, his combination of skill and size suggest that he has the best shot at translating to the high-major level. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to consider following Josh Schertz to Saint Louis, because Schertz’s system is ideal for his game.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 195

Conwell came out of nowhere to become one of the best mid-major guards in the country. He went from averaging 5.1 points per game, making 27 3s and shooting 30 percent from distance as a freshman at South Florida to averaging 16.6 points, making 104 3s at a 40.7 percent clip and averaging 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists at Indiana State as a sophomore. The lefty is the ideal guard in the modern game. Every one of his shots this season was a 3 or a layup, and his efficiency numbers were picturesque: 61.3 percent on 2s, 85.5 percent at the free-throw line (on 3.4 attempts per game) and then over 40 percent from deep, including 42.5 percent off the catch, per Synergy.
Conwell is terrific in the pick-and-roll game. He can shoot the 3 if his man goes under, makes the simple pass when he draws two to the ball and is really good attacking switches and getting downhill. In pick-and-roll scenarios that include passes, Indiana State scored 1.248 points per possession when Conwell was the handler, per Synergy. Out of Indiana State’s three guards, his combination of skill and size suggest that he has the best shot at translating to the high-major level. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to consider following Josh Schertz to Saint Louis, because Schertz’s system is ideal for his game.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Indiana State

Xavier Musketeers

Ht: 6-8Wt: 205

Wells is a 3-and-D wing who is an easy plug-and-play anywhere. Wells started his career at Division II Sonoma State because he was a late bloomer. He turns 21 in August. Wells was a bench player early on and then took off the second half of the season, playing so consistently well on both ends that Kyle Smith rarely took him off the floor. He averaged 15.8 points once he became a starter in January. For the season, he averaged 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and shot 41.7 percent from 3.

Wells is best as a spot-up shooter. His release is quick. He can catch it chest high and not have to dip, going straight into his motion. Defensively, he moves really well laterally and does a good job keeping the ball in front of him and then contesting with his length. He committed only 2.5 fouls per 40 minutes. Wells has declared for the NBA Draft as well as going into the portal and is No. 82 on Sam Vecenie’s big board.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-8Wt: 205

Wells is a 3-and-D wing who is an easy plug-and-play anywhere. Wells started his career at Division II Sonoma State because he was a late bloomer. He turns 21 in August. Wells was a bench player early on and then took off the second half of the season, playing so consistently well on both ends that Kyle Smith rarely took him off the floor. He averaged 15.8 points once he became a starter in January. For the season, he averaged 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and shot 41.7 percent from 3.

Wells is best as a spot-up shooter. His release is quick. He can catch it chest high and not have to dip, going straight into his motion. Defensively, he moves really well laterally and does a good job keeping the ball in front of him and then contesting with his length. He committed only 2.5 fouls per 40 minutes. Wells has declared for the NBA Draft as well as going into the portal and is No. 82 on Sam Vecenie’s big board.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-7Wt: 240

Omier is one of the most productive bigs in the country. He’s averaged a double-double all four seasons of his college career, averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game this past season. He is undersized but makes up for it with a long wingspan and a build that makes him look like a football player. He is perfect in a five-out offense, where he can shoot the 3 (35.3 percent this season) and put the ball on the floor. He can also score with his back to the basket, but he’s at his best facing up and attacking off the bounce. When he gets in close, his footwork and strength helps him get shots off clean. He can put his shoulder in the defender and create space. He also gets to the line, drawing 4.9 fouls per 40 minutes. He has good instincts when the ball is in the air, able to rebound outside of his area.

His biggest weakness is guarding in the post and rim protection. That’s where his lack of standing height can give him issues. But overall, he’s one of the more complete bigs out there.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-7Wt: 240

Omier is one of the most productive bigs in the country. He’s averaged a double-double all four seasons of his college career, averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game this past season. He is undersized but makes up for it with a long wingspan and a build that makes him look like a football player. He is perfect in a five-out offense, where he can shoot the 3 (35.3 percent this season) and put the ball on the floor. He can also score with his back to the basket, but he’s at his best facing up and attacking off the bounce. When he gets in close, his footwork and strength helps him get shots off clean. He can put his shoulder in the defender and create space. He also gets to the line, drawing 4.9 fouls per 40 minutes. He has good instincts when the ball is in the air, able to rebound outside of his area.

His biggest weakness is guarding in the post and rim protection. That’s where his lack of standing height can give him issues. But overall, he’s one of the more complete bigs out there.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-4Wt: 210

If it ever all comes together, Gayle can be a pro. He looks taller than his listed height on tape — I’d guess 6-6 — and that’s probably because he has a long wingspan and just looks like a big wing. He’s smooth in his movements, not looking like he’s going that hard, but when he wants to he can move fast with long strides. He mostly plays under control, making the right pass when he gets the attention of a help defender. He can get to the rim with about as much ease as any wing. He misses some shots at the rim that you’d expect he’d make, but overall he’s a pretty good finisher.

The shot looks good, but the results aren’t. He made 21 of 49 3s (42.9 percent) as a freshman, but his percentage dropped to 28.2 percent with a higher volume as a sophomore. He did make 83.2 percent of his free throws, and he got to the line fairly often (drawing 4.5 fouls per 40 minutes), a promising sign that he’s aggressive getting to the basket and that he can eventually become more accurate with his jumper.

The averages were solid — 13.5 points, 3.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds — but the efficiency numbers are lower than you want for someone who fits the profile of a go-to scoring wing. Defensively, again, he looks the part. He leaves you wanting a little more, but there’s potential to be really good on that end. It’s important for his future that he lands with a coach and in a system that can pull the most out of him, because it wouldn’t be surprising this time a year from now if we’re talking about Gayle as a first-rounder. He did make a leap from his freshman year, but it’s possible he remains a low-efficiency scorer. I could see his career arc playing out like that of Terrence Shannon Jr., where it always felt like he was capable of more until he broke through in explosive fashion. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-4Wt: 210

If it ever all comes together, Gayle can be a pro. He looks taller than his listed height on tape — I’d guess 6-6 — and that’s probably because he has a long wingspan and just looks like a big wing. He’s smooth in his movements, not looking like he’s going that hard, but when he wants to he can move fast with long strides. He mostly plays under control, making the right pass when he gets the attention of a help defender. He can get to the rim with about as much ease as any wing. He misses some shots at the rim that you’d expect he’d make, but overall he’s a pretty good finisher.

The shot looks good, but the results aren’t. He made 21 of 49 3s (42.9 percent) as a freshman, but his percentage dropped to 28.2 percent with a higher volume as a sophomore. He did make 83.2 percent of his free throws, and he got to the line fairly often (drawing 4.5 fouls per 40 minutes), a promising sign that he’s aggressive getting to the basket and that he can eventually become more accurate with his jumper.

The averages were solid — 13.5 points, 3.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds — but the efficiency numbers are lower than you want for someone who fits the profile of a go-to scoring wing. Defensively, again, he looks the part. He leaves you wanting a little more, but there’s potential to be really good on that end. It’s important for his future that he lands with a coach and in a system that can pull the most out of him, because it wouldn’t be surprising this time a year from now if we’re talking about Gayle as a first-rounder. He did make a leap from his freshman year, but it’s possible he remains a low-efficiency scorer. I could see his career arc playing out like that of Terrence Shannon Jr., where it always felt like he was capable of more until he broke through in explosive fashion. — C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

Ohio State

Michigan Wolverines

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

For a minute this season, it looked like Carlyle might end up as a one-and-done. After missing the first month of the campaign, Carlyle averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his first 11 games of the season, including a monster 28-point performance against Arizona where he drilled six 3s and lived at the foul line. Then, the second half of the season happened. In his final 12 games, he averaged just 7.9 points, had more turnovers than assists and shot just 31.7 percent from the field. His shooting from distance fell off a bit and his handle was a bit looser than I’d seen at lower levels, which prevented him from getting into the paint as consistently as someone with his tools should.

While I don’t think Carlyle is wired to be a true point guard, his demeanor is fantastic. He’s relentless and aggressive in constantly attacking the rim, and while Stanford’s defense was messy, I always thought he was tough and willing to crawl into his opponent’s space. If he gets his pull-up jumper back to where it was to start this season, he can be the kind of three-level collegiate scorer who makes a high-major all-conference team at some point.

Carlyle is from the Atlanta area and could look to move back south following his trip to the West Coast. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

For a minute this season, it looked like Carlyle might end up as a one-and-done. After missing the first month of the campaign, Carlyle averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his first 11 games of the season, including a monster 28-point performance against Arizona where he drilled six 3s and lived at the foul line. Then, the second half of the season happened. In his final 12 games, he averaged just 7.9 points, had more turnovers than assists and shot just 31.7 percent from the field. His shooting from distance fell off a bit and his handle was a bit looser than I’d seen at lower levels, which prevented him from getting into the paint as consistently as someone with his tools should.

While I don’t think Carlyle is wired to be a true point guard, his demeanor is fantastic. He’s relentless and aggressive in constantly attacking the rim, and while Stanford’s defense was messy, I always thought he was tough and willing to crawl into his opponent’s space. If he gets his pull-up jumper back to where it was to start this season, he can be the kind of three-level collegiate scorer who makes a high-major all-conference team at some point.

Carlyle is from the Atlanta area and could look to move back south following his trip to the West Coast. — Sam Vecenie

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— author

Guard

Committed

Stanford

Indiana Hoosiers

Ht: 6-11Wt: 240

Aidoo was a big part of Tennessee finishing third in adjusted defensive efficiency. He offers rim protection (1.8 blocks per game/eighth-best 2-point defense) and he can operate in just about any kind of pick-and-roll coverage (drop, up-to-touch, hard hedge). Aidoo’s defensive versatility is what makes him most desirable. The only real issue he has defensively is guarding low-post behemoths like a Zach Edey. He can be bullied in the post, but there are few Edey types in college basketball. Offensively, Aidoo is able to step out and hit a mid-range jumper off the roll. He can make jump hooks with either hand and put pressure on the rim with his rolls. He averaged 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. He’s rarely going to put up big numbers — he scored 20-plus three times this year — but he’s reliable. It’s his ability to get out on the floor and cover ground defensively where he brings the most value.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-11Wt: 240

Aidoo was a big part of Tennessee finishing third in adjusted defensive efficiency. He offers rim protection (1.8 blocks per game/eighth-best 2-point defense) and he can operate in just about any kind of pick-and-roll coverage (drop, up-to-touch, hard hedge). Aidoo’s defensive versatility is what makes him most desirable. The only real issue he has defensively is guarding low-post behemoths like a Zach Edey. He can be bullied in the post, but there are few Edey types in college basketball. Offensively, Aidoo is able to step out and hit a mid-range jumper off the roll. He can make jump hooks with either hand and put pressure on the rim with his rolls. He averaged 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. He’s rarely going to put up big numbers — he scored 20-plus three times this year — but he’s reliable. It’s his ability to get out on the floor and cover ground defensively where he brings the most value.
 — C.J. Moore 

Center

Committed

Tennessee

Arkansas Razorbacks

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 205

The younger brother of Denver Nuggets rookie forward Hunter Tyson, Cade has shown more polish at this age. He won the Missouri Valley Rookie of the Year award in 2022-23 in his first season at Belmont, then improved as a sophomore to earn second-team All-MVC honors. All told, he averaged 16.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 46.5 percent from 3 and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line last season.

Tyson may be the best shooter in the portal, having drilled 44.6 percent of his nearly 300 3-point attempts over his two college seasons. His preparation is superb, he fires with perfect alignment to the rim and generates a beautiful high arc with tremendous rotation on the ball. He should be even more dangerous playing next to better players at a high major next season; he’ll either space the floor for them, or kill opponents from distance when they devote too much attention to drivers.

But there’s more to Tyson’s game than that of other floor-spacing shooters. Tyson got to the rim by attacking closeouts or finding open areas to cut effectively in Belmont’s offense. He flashed potential as a ballhandler in the MVC, occasionally using ball screens and hand-offs to get downhill to the rim.

That makes Tyson a ready-made difference-making starter for a high major team, with real potential to elevate to an all-conference level as a senior. He’s not a sieve on defense, and at the very least, his floor-spacing impact on offense will be instantly enormous. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 205

The younger brother of Denver Nuggets rookie forward Hunter Tyson, Cade has shown more polish at this age. He won the Missouri Valley Rookie of the Year award in 2022-23 in his first season at Belmont, then improved as a sophomore to earn second-team All-MVC honors. All told, he averaged 16.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 46.5 percent from 3 and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line last season.

Tyson may be the best shooter in the portal, having drilled 44.6 percent of his nearly 300 3-point attempts over his two college seasons. His preparation is superb, he fires with perfect alignment to the rim and generates a beautiful high arc with tremendous rotation on the ball. He should be even more dangerous playing next to better players at a high major next season; he’ll either space the floor for them, or kill opponents from distance when they devote too much attention to drivers.

But there’s more to Tyson’s game than that of other floor-spacing shooters. Tyson got to the rim by attacking closeouts or finding open areas to cut effectively in Belmont’s offense. He flashed potential as a ballhandler in the MVC, occasionally using ball screens and hand-offs to get downhill to the rim.

That makes Tyson a ready-made difference-making starter for a high major team, with real potential to elevate to an all-conference level as a senior. He’s not a sieve on defense, and at the very least, his floor-spacing impact on offense will be instantly enormous. — Sam Vecenie

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— author

Wing

Committed

Belmont

North Carolina Tar Heels

Ht: 6-6Wt: 190

Edwards exploded onto the national stage this season for one of the country’s best mid-major teams. He won the Sun Belt Player of the Year award after averaging 17.2 points while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from 3 and 81 percent from the line.

He was the primary creator for the 32-4 Dukes, playing largely as a big wing initiator next to shooters Noah Friedel and Xavier Brown in the backcourt. Typically, one of the guards brought the ball up the court before getting it to Edwards to begin their sets. Coach Mark Byington had Edwards play out of ball screens for the most part, and Edwards thrived in those settings as a sort of super-charged Swiss army knife who could see over his man and read the defense before making the right play. He throws terrific passes off a live dribble from multiple angles, averaging 3.4 assists per game, before fully taking over late in games. He can dynamically spin to either side and get to his shots, or he can drive all the way to the rim.

One thing worth tracking is that he wasn’t a particularly good finisher this year, making just 49 percent of his shots at the rim, per Synergy. But with TJ Bickerstaff and Jaylen Carey taking up space inside, Edwards did have to deal with at least one help man waiting to slide over at the rim.

Throw in Edwards’ solid (though not necessarily elite) defense, and he has all the makings of an top quality high-major wing. With Byington leaving James Madison to go to Vanderbilt, one has to wonder if Edwards will follow to get a chance to run the show in the SEC for a season. If he doesn’t, he’ll be a highly sought after player among even the highest-end schools.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-6Wt: 190

Edwards exploded onto the national stage this season for one of the country’s best mid-major teams. He won the Sun Belt Player of the Year award after averaging 17.2 points while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from 3 and 81 percent from the line.

He was the primary creator for the 32-4 Dukes, playing largely as a big wing initiator next to shooters Noah Friedel and Xavier Brown in the backcourt. Typically, one of the guards brought the ball up the court before getting it to Edwards to begin their sets. Coach Mark Byington had Edwards play out of ball screens for the most part, and Edwards thrived in those settings as a sort of super-charged Swiss army knife who could see over his man and read the defense before making the right play. He throws terrific passes off a live dribble from multiple angles, averaging 3.4 assists per game, before fully taking over late in games. He can dynamically spin to either side and get to his shots, or he can drive all the way to the rim.

One thing worth tracking is that he wasn’t a particularly good finisher this year, making just 49 percent of his shots at the rim, per Synergy. But with TJ Bickerstaff and Jaylen Carey taking up space inside, Edwards did have to deal with at least one help man waiting to slide over at the rim.

Throw in Edwards’ solid (though not necessarily elite) defense, and he has all the makings of an top quality high-major wing. With Byington leaving James Madison to go to Vanderbilt, one has to wonder if Edwards will follow to get a chance to run the show in the SEC for a season. If he doesn’t, he’ll be a highly sought after player among even the highest-end schools.  — Sam Vecenie

Edwards will head to Louisville to play for new coach Pat Kelsey. He is the third transfer commitment for Louisville this spring, joining Kelsey’s former Charleston players Reyne Smith and James Scott. Edwards and Smith should pair well together in the backcourt. Smith is undersized for an off-guard, but he’ll be one of the best shooters in college basketball next season. He’ll blend nicely on offense with Edwards, who, at 6-foot-6, acted as a big wing initiator for James this past season with the ability to play both on and off the ball.

Edwards is a player Kelsey knows, as he played against Edwards’ teams for two seasons in the Colonial Athletic Association before James Madison moved its athletics to the Sun Belt Conference. Edwards actually had one of his best games as an underclassman against Kelsey and Charleston, scoring 18 points on Feb. 17, 2022.

With such a wide open roster, the Cardinals just need more talented players. Getting one of the best available upperclassmen in the portal should help in a substantial way. Now, Kelsey just needs to keep finding more. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

James Madison

Louisville Cardinals

Ht: 6-5Wt: 200

Shulga is one of the best shooters in the portal, and he’s not just a shooter. He has good change of pace off the bounce and gets to the line frequently — a 49.2 free throw rate. Shulga averaged 14.0 points, 3.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds for VCU after following Ryan Odom from Utah State, where he spent the first three years of college.

Shulga is originally from Ukraine and the stroke is reminiscent of fellow Ukrainian Svi Mykhailiuk, the former Kansas sharpshooter. It’s compact and quick. His shot is proven over time too, as he’s made 39.5 percent of his 3s for his career. If you’re looking for the Cam Spencer in this year’s portal, this might be the guy. Spencer was sought after by UConn because of his shot but it turned out he was so much more. That could be Shulga, who played through back spasms late and still led the Rams in scoring and put up great efficiency numbers.
— C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-5Wt: 200

Shulga is one of the best shooters in the portal, and he’s not just a shooter. He has good change of pace off the bounce and gets to the line frequently — a 49.2 free throw rate. Shulga averaged 14.0 points, 3.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds for VCU after following Ryan Odom from Utah State, where he spent the first three years of college.

Shulga is originally from Ukraine and the stroke is reminiscent of fellow Ukrainian Svi Mykhailiuk, the former Kansas sharpshooter. It’s compact and quick. His shot is proven over time too, as he’s made 39.5 percent of his 3s for his career. If you’re looking for the Cam Spencer in this year’s portal, this might be the guy. Spencer was sought after by UConn because of his shot but it turned out he was so much more. That could be Shulga, who played through back spasms late and still led the Rams in scoring and put up great efficiency numbers.
— C.J. Moore

Heise committed quickly to Iowa State out of the portal, and it’s a good get for T.J. Otzelberger. The Cyclones did not have a ton of sharp off-ball movers last year who could hit shots. Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lipsey should be back to help with the offensive creation, and Heise is a good fit next to one or both of those players because he’s not overly ball-dominant. He’ll help space the floor, and give defenses another guy that they have to pay attention to out there. The Cyclones are shaping up as a top-five team in the preseason, and Heise should help there.
— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-0Wt: 173

Smith was a second-time transfer this past year and had to sit the first nine games of the season. Because of that, he flew under the radar considering his numbers. The senior put up career-best numbers: 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game. He started his career at Mississippi State, then spent two years at Georgia Tech and one season at Utah. He is an ideal one-and-done point guard, readymade to come lead a Top 25 team.

Smith is a speedster who plays under control, thriving in ball screen situations. He has terrific vision, able to survey the floor in any situation and find the open man. He can pass with either hand and is really good at throwing cross-court passes, especially for someone his size. Smith also rebounds incredibly well for his size, using his speed and instincts to race to the ball. He has hops, too, which helps him on the glass. This past season Smith became a three-level scorer for the first time. He had never shot the 3 well before, but he made a career-high 29 3s on 40.8 percent shooting. That makes it really difficult to guard him in ball screen situations and on long closeouts.

Smith had one of the best finishes to the season in college hoops. He had back-to-back triple-doubles in the NIT and then put up 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the NIT semifinal loss to Indiana State. My one concern is that he was on losing teams at Georgia Tech and Utah was 7-2 when he got eligible and didn’t seem to get better with him. He’s also very ball-dominant, but if you have shooters and finishers around him, he can make those guys look really good. My bet is we look back a year from now and Smith has the best season of any point guard out of the portal. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-0Wt: 173

Smith was a second-time transfer this past year and had to sit the first nine games of the season. Because of that, he flew under the radar considering his numbers. The senior put up career-best numbers: 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game. He started his career at Mississippi State, then spent two years at Georgia Tech and one season at Utah. He is an ideal one-and-done point guard, readymade to come lead a Top 25 team.

Smith is a speedster who plays under control, thriving in ball screen situations. He has terrific vision, able to survey the floor in any situation and find the open man. He can pass with either hand and is really good at throwing cross-court passes, especially for someone his size. Smith also rebounds incredibly well for his size, using his speed and instincts to race to the ball. He has hops, too, which helps him on the glass. This past season Smith became a three-level scorer for the first time. He had never shot the 3 well before, but he made a career-high 29 3s on 40.8 percent shooting. That makes it really difficult to guard him in ball screen situations and on long closeouts.

Smith had one of the best finishes to the season in college hoops. He had back-to-back triple-doubles in the NIT and then put up 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the NIT semifinal loss to Indiana State. My one concern is that he was on losing teams at Georgia Tech and Utah was 7-2 when he got eligible and didn’t seem to get better with him. He’s also very ball-dominant, but if you have shooters and finishers around him, he can make those guys look really good. My bet is we look back a year from now and Smith has the best season of any point guard out of the portal. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 7-0 Wt: 255

Wolf immediately becomes one of the best players in the portal, a player who would have entered next season as one of the favorites for preseason player of the year in the Ivy League. He was a first-team All-Ivy League selection this season and won the Ivy League Tournament MVP while leading Yale to a 23-10 record that included an upset of Auburn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 14.1 points, nearly 10 rebounds, 2.4 assists and over a steal and a block per game.

Wolf’s a 7-footer, but he’s not a particularly stiff one. He moves exceedingly well for his size, with real speed. He sprints to areas to post up, often beating his defender to the spot to get strong post position. He can attack opposing bigs off the bounce in a serious way off of spot-up situations, getting to the rim quickly and finishing with flexibility. He has actual crossover moves and can pump fake to force a defender off their feet. He shot 47 percent from the field, which seems not great for a big, but it’s because well over half of his attempts at the rim are self-created looks on drives or post-ups.

But part of why the drives work is that Wolf can also step away and shoot the 3. He made 35 percent from distance this year, showing that you have to respect him out there. He has some real range out there, too. The key for Wolf is the growth trajectory he’s on. Last year, he was a real project at Yale, getting only seven minutes per game. After only a year, he was already one of the best players in that league. The idea here is what he could be after another offseason of work. He’s not a sure thing, as he did struggle this year against the best teams Yale played. But my bet is that he learns fast and we see an even better player a year from now. I’m buying into him being an impact guy wherever he ends up next season.— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 7-0 Wt: 255

Wolf immediately becomes one of the best players in the portal, a player who would have entered next season as one of the favorites for preseason player of the year in the Ivy League. He was a first-team All-Ivy League selection this season and won the Ivy League Tournament MVP while leading Yale to a 23-10 record that included an upset of Auburn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 14.1 points, nearly 10 rebounds, 2.4 assists and over a steal and a block per game.

Wolf’s a 7-footer, but he’s not a particularly stiff one. He moves exceedingly well for his size, with real speed. He sprints to areas to post up, often beating his defender to the spot to get strong post position. He can attack opposing bigs off the bounce in a serious way off of spot-up situations, getting to the rim quickly and finishing with flexibility. He has actual crossover moves and can pump fake to force a defender off their feet. He shot 47 percent from the field, which seems not great for a big, but it’s because well over half of his attempts at the rim are self-created looks on drives or post-ups.

But part of why the drives work is that Wolf can also step away and shoot the 3. He made 35 percent from distance this year, showing that you have to respect him out there. He has some real range out there, too. The key for Wolf is the growth trajectory he’s on. Last year, he was a real project at Yale, getting only seven minutes per game. After only a year, he was already one of the best players in that league. The idea here is what he could be after another offseason of work. He’s not a sure thing, as he did struggle this year against the best teams Yale played. But my bet is that he learns fast and we see an even better player a year from now. I’m buying into him being an impact guy wherever he ends up next season.— Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Yale

Michigan Wolverines

Ht: 6-9Wt: 220

The co-Mountain West Freshman of the Year was one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball, averaging 12.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Toppin is an energy guy who doesn’t need anything run for him. He gets a lot of his points off offensive rebounds and is quick to loose balls and able to finish in traffic. He’s capable of scoring with his back to the basket but looks to take advantage of mismatches when he has a smaller defender on him. He’s all right shoulder/left hand and would benefit from eventually widening his arsenal of moves. He’s capable of stepping out and hitting the occasional jump shot — he made 11 of 32 3s this season.
Defensively, Toppin is the ideal modern big man. He’s switchable and can also protect the rim as a shot blocker. He’s a little too jumpy sometimes, but he can recover when he gets out of place because of his speed. He played mostly power forward at New Mexico, but he’s capable of playing both front court positions. Toppin has pro potential and there’s hope for lots of upside, considering he’s young for his class and doesn’t turn 19 until June. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-9Wt: 220

The co-Mountain West Freshman of the Year was one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball, averaging 12.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. Toppin is an energy guy who doesn’t need anything run for him. He gets a lot of his points off offensive rebounds and is quick to loose balls and able to finish in traffic. He’s capable of scoring with his back to the basket but looks to take advantage of mismatches when he has a smaller defender on him. He’s all right shoulder/left hand and would benefit from eventually widening his arsenal of moves. He’s capable of stepping out and hitting the occasional jump shot — he made 11 of 32 3s this season.
Defensively, Toppin is the ideal modern big man. He’s switchable and can also protect the rim as a shot blocker. He’s a little too jumpy sometimes, but he can recover when he gets out of place because of his speed. He played mostly power forward at New Mexico, but he’s capable of playing both front court positions. Toppin has pro potential and there’s hope for lots of upside, considering he’s young for his class and doesn’t turn 19 until June. — C.J. Moore 

Forward

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-6Wt: 210

Davis is a unique wing in how he scores the ball. He averaged 15.0 points this season and he’s a matchup problem because of his ability to operate out of Barkleys, backing his man down and then spinning to the basket. He has a good sense for where his defender is and gaining leverage in dribble-downs. He’s slithery and usually ends up in the paint. He can overpower perimeter players, and if you put a bigger guy on him, he can face up and drive to the basket. He’s clearly put in the work to make himself a shooter. He shot just 22.8 percent from 3 in two seasons at Louisville and has been a 36.8 percent 3-point shooter the last two years at Seton Hall. He does most of his scoring in the paint, but he’s capable of stepping out and knocking down a jumper. The threat of his shot has made him an even more dangerous slasher. Davis also rebounds well for his size (5.9 per game) and is a willing passer (1.6 assists per game) when he draws two to the ball. What you’re getting in Davis is a grown man who knows how to play the game on both ends. He can play either forward position. His combination of scoring ability, defense and experience makes him an easy plug-and-play just about anywhere.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 210

Davis is a unique wing in how he scores the ball. He averaged 15.0 points this season and he’s a matchup problem because of his ability to operate out of Barkleys, backing his man down and then spinning to the basket. He has a good sense for where his defender is and gaining leverage in dribble-downs. He’s slithery and usually ends up in the paint. He can overpower perimeter players, and if you put a bigger guy on him, he can face up and drive to the basket. He’s clearly put in the work to make himself a shooter. He shot just 22.8 percent from 3 in two seasons at Louisville and has been a 36.8 percent 3-point shooter the last two years at Seton Hall. He does most of his scoring in the paint, but he’s capable of stepping out and knocking down a jumper. The threat of his shot has made him an even more dangerous slasher. Davis also rebounds well for his size (5.9 per game) and is a willing passer (1.6 assists per game) when he draws two to the ball. What you’re getting in Davis is a grown man who knows how to play the game on both ends. He can play either forward position. His combination of scoring ability, defense and experience makes him an easy plug-and-play just about anywhere.
 — C.J. Moore 

Wing

Committed

Seton Hall

Ole Miss Rebels

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 205

Storr was the best player on a Wisconsin team that ended up with a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 16.8 points and 3.9 rebounds on his way to second-team All-Big Ten, although his overall game does leave something to be desired beyond the scoring.

The good news is that it’s really hard to stop him from scoring. He’s a big-time athlete out in transition and as a driver or cutter to the rim. That makes him a mismatch nightmare within college basketball. Once he gets a bit of downhill steam, he’s going to get to the basket. Storr takes a ton of contested shots and doesn’t really see the floor all that well in finding teammates for dump-off passes or kickouts. Storr made just 53.6 percent of his halfcourt attempts at the rim, per Synergy, a rough number for someone this big and strong.

Whether or not he’s able to be the lead guy on a great team will come down to him continuing to develop as a decision maker and as a shooter. Storr is also declaring for the NBA Draft, but I’d be surprised to see him go pro given what the likely NIL offers for him will be. Any team in need of someone who can get a reasonable look at the basket should absolutely recruit Storr. But it would benefit him, as well, if that team also has multiple options so that he can slot nicely into a role as a finisher. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 205

Storr was the best player on a Wisconsin team that ended up with a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 16.8 points and 3.9 rebounds on his way to second-team All-Big Ten, although his overall game does leave something to be desired beyond the scoring.

The good news is that it’s really hard to stop him from scoring. He’s a big-time athlete out in transition and as a driver or cutter to the rim. That makes him a mismatch nightmare within college basketball. Once he gets a bit of downhill steam, he’s going to get to the basket. Storr takes a ton of contested shots and doesn’t really see the floor all that well in finding teammates for dump-off passes or kickouts. Storr made just 53.6 percent of his halfcourt attempts at the rim, per Synergy, a rough number for someone this big and strong.

Whether or not he’s able to be the lead guy on a great team will come down to him continuing to develop as a decision maker and as a shooter. Storr is also declaring for the NBA Draft, but I’d be surprised to see him go pro given what the likely NIL offers for him will be. Any team in need of someone who can get a reasonable look at the basket should absolutely recruit Storr. But it would benefit him, as well, if that team also has multiple options so that he can slot nicely into a role as a finisher. — Sam Vecenie 

Wing

Committed

Wisconsin

Kansas Jayhawks

Ht: 6-4Wt: 200

Lanier was one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball and arguably the most improved player in the country between his junior and senior seasons. Here were Lanier’s scoring averages his first three seasons: 1.7, 4.5, 4.7. And this season? 19.7.

The All-Atlantic Sun first-teamer made 106 3s and shot 44 percent from deep this past year. His release is way in front of his face and looks a little funky, but you cannot argue with the results. He gets it from the bounce to the shooting pocket quickly and actually shoots a better percentage off the dribble than off the catch. He does a good job finding space, able to pull it behind a ball screen or handoff. Lanier doesn’t have a lot of burst but uses his body and size well inside to shield off defenders and finish at the rim. He shot 88 percent at the free-throw line and was just 2 percentage points away from a 50-40-90 season. Lanier has also declared for the NBA Draft.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 200

Lanier was one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball and arguably the most improved player in the country between his junior and senior seasons. Here were Lanier’s scoring averages his first three seasons: 1.7, 4.5, 4.7. And this season? 19.7.

The All-Atlantic Sun first-teamer made 106 3s and shot 44 percent from deep this past year. His release is way in front of his face and looks a little funky, but you cannot argue with the results. He gets it from the bounce to the shooting pocket quickly and actually shoots a better percentage off the dribble than off the catch. He does a good job finding space, able to pull it behind a ball screen or handoff. Lanier doesn’t have a lot of burst but uses his body and size well inside to shield off defenders and finish at the rim. He shot 88 percent at the free-throw line and was just 2 percentage points away from a 50-40-90 season. Lanier has also declared for the NBA Draft.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-11 Wt: 240

As one of the most underappreciated defensive players in college basketball, Omoyuri’s name in the portal will spark a frenzy. He has been the catalyst behind Rutgers finishing fourth and sixth in the country, respectively, in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric in each of the last two seasons. This season, he swatted 2.9 shots per game in just 27 minutes per night, and while he earned Big Ten All-Defense honors for the season straight season, he should have been among the national semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. It is exceptionally hard to finish over his 7-foot-6 wingspan. Whichever team sways him will get an immediate upgrade on that end of the court.

Omoruyi has been more hit-or-miss on offense, likely due to the way Rutgers used him. I’ve always liked him most as a rim-runner in ball screens who occasionally rolled into quick duck-ins. Omoruyi made 70 percent of his attempts as a roller this season, per Synergy. The Scarlet Knights, however, used him more as a straight post-up big, where he is merely okay. His new team would be wise to deploy him as a screener and diver, or move him to the dunker spot when he’s not involved in the primary action. That way, he can wedge his way into deep seals in the post and be in better position for offensive rebound opportunities, where his length has always been an advantage.

It’s a bit of a surprise to see Omoruyi depart, as Rutgers has a loaded recruiting class next year led by Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper. If the NBA is Omoruyi’s goal, the only program with more scouting eyes on it than Rutgers will be Duke. While Omoruyi would be a tremendous defensive anchor for a group of highly-talented freshmen to have, it looks like someone else will get him. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-11 Wt: 240

As one of the most underappreciated defensive players in college basketball, Omoyuri’s name in the portal will spark a frenzy. He has been the catalyst behind Rutgers finishing fourth and sixth in the country, respectively, in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric in each of the last two seasons. This season, he swatted 2.9 shots per game in just 27 minutes per night, and while he earned Big Ten All-Defense honors for the season straight season, he should have been among the national semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. It is exceptionally hard to finish over his 7-foot-6 wingspan. Whichever team sways him will get an immediate upgrade on that end of the court.

Omoruyi has been more hit-or-miss on offense, likely due to the way Rutgers used him. I’ve always liked him most as a rim-runner in ball screens who occasionally rolled into quick duck-ins. Omoruyi made 70 percent of his attempts as a roller this season, per Synergy. The Scarlet Knights, however, used him more as a straight post-up big, where he is merely okay. His new team would be wise to deploy him as a screener and diver, or move him to the dunker spot when he’s not involved in the primary action. That way, he can wedge his way into deep seals in the post and be in better position for offensive rebound opportunities, where his length has always been an advantage.

It’s a bit of a surprise to see Omoruyi depart, as Rutgers has a loaded recruiting class next year led by Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper. If the NBA is Omoruyi’s goal, the only program with more scouting eyes on it than Rutgers will be Duke. While Omoruyi would be a tremendous defensive anchor for a group of highly-talented freshmen to have, it looks like someone else will get him. — Sam Vecenie

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— author

Ht: 6-2Wt: 180

Roach has also declared for the NBA Draft, but considering he’s not projected to be picked, he’ll likely play one more season in college. He will be a popular man in the portal because of his experience, scoring and defense. Roach spent time at both point guard and shooting guard for the Blue Devils. He became more dangerous off the ball by improving as a spot-up shooter. He made a career-best 54 3s at a 42.9 percent clip as a senior.
Off the dribble, Roach has some burst and plays with aggression. He’s small but doesn’t have any trouble getting his shot off. He can score from all three levels and has good lift both at the basket and in the mid-range. He put up career-best numbers this season, averaging 14 points, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He sometimes is overly aggressive in traffic. When he gets it in his head he’s going to shoot, he’s going to shoot and can have tunnel vision. If he sees a defender lift, he usually makes the right read. But if he dribbles into traffic, he can be turnover prone and take some tough shots. But overall, he’s a plus on offense because of his shooting and driving ability.

Defensively, Duke was the 16th-best defense in college hoops and was 10.8 points per 100 possessions better on that end with Roach in the game, per CBB Analytics. He plays with physicality too. He can struggle with taller players who are able to shoot over him, but he’s always going to put his chest into you and not going to give up ground. He communicates off ball and knows where to send the ball. Expect some big boys to come calling. It’s not often a player with his numbers and experience playing for consistent winners come available in the portal.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-2Wt: 180

Roach has also declared for the NBA Draft, but considering he’s not projected to be picked, he’ll likely play one more season in college. He will be a popular man in the portal because of his experience, scoring and defense. Roach spent time at both point guard and shooting guard for the Blue Devils. He became more dangerous off the ball by improving as a spot-up shooter. He made a career-best 54 3s at a 42.9 percent clip as a senior.
Off the dribble, Roach has some burst and plays with aggression. He’s small but doesn’t have any trouble getting his shot off. He can score from all three levels and has good lift both at the basket and in the mid-range. He put up career-best numbers this season, averaging 14 points, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He sometimes is overly aggressive in traffic. When he gets it in his head he’s going to shoot, he’s going to shoot and can have tunnel vision. If he sees a defender lift, he usually makes the right read. But if he dribbles into traffic, he can be turnover prone and take some tough shots. But overall, he’s a plus on offense because of his shooting and driving ability.

Defensively, Duke was the 16th-best defense in college hoops and was 10.8 points per 100 possessions better on that end with Roach in the game, per CBB Analytics. He plays with physicality too. He can struggle with taller players who are able to shoot over him, but he’s always going to put his chest into you and not going to give up ground. He communicates off ball and knows where to send the ball. Expect some big boys to come calling. It’s not often a player with his numbers and experience playing for consistent winners come available in the portal.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Duke

Baylor Bears

Ht: 6-7Wt: 190

Robinson was one of the best sixth men in the country, leading BYU in scoring (14.2 points per game) and always coming in aggressive. Robinson transformed into the role this season after spending his first three years in college as a low-usage role player, first at Texas A&M, then Arkansas and then BYU, where he spent the last two years.

Robinson hunts 3s primarily and made 81 this past season. He shoots with range and anytime he has space, he’s firing. He shot 35.4 percent from deep, a solid mark considering he takes a lot of shots off the bounce or off the move. His improvement has been impressive. This was the first season he’d averaged double figures and he made just eight 3s as a freshman at Texas A&M. He’s an efficient scorer inside the arc with his size helping him as a finisher at the rim. He doesn’t get to the line that often but shot a career-best 90.8 percent there this season. Robinson has declared for the NBA Draft and is leaving the door open to return to college. The favorite here is Kentucky, where Jackson would be following his former coach.

 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-7Wt: 190

Robinson was one of the best sixth men in the country, leading BYU in scoring (14.2 points per game) and always coming in aggressive. Robinson transformed into the role this season after spending his first three years in college as a low-usage role player, first at Texas A&M, then Arkansas and then BYU, where he spent the last two years.

Robinson hunts 3s primarily and made 81 this past season. He shoots with range and anytime he has space, he’s firing. He shot 35.4 percent from deep, a solid mark considering he takes a lot of shots off the bounce or off the move. His improvement has been impressive. This was the first season he’d averaged double figures and he made just eight 3s as a freshman at Texas A&M. He’s an efficient scorer inside the arc with his size helping him as a finisher at the rim. He doesn’t get to the line that often but shot a career-best 90.8 percent there this season. Robinson has declared for the NBA Draft and is leaving the door open to return to college. The favorite here is Kentucky, where Jackson would be following his former coach.

 — C.J. Moore 

Wing

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 180

Gillespie will be in high demand after making second-team All-Missouri Valley and the MVC All-Defense team last season. He averaged 17.2 points per game year while shooting 56.1 percent from the field, a ridiculous number for a small guard.

Gillespie’s game exists at the intersection of speed and touch. He’s a fast guard who loves to play up tempo to get to the rim. Though Belmont’s offense didn’t feature as many ball screens as other schools’, Gillespie is adept at getting downhill on those actions or when taking a dribble hand-off on the move. He uses the threat of his shot to attack closeouts and is an excellent finisher for a small guard, showing an aptitude for adjusting in mid-air with a variety of touch finger rolls and finishes. He made 71.2 percent of shots at the rim this season, per Synergy, one of the highest marks in the country for a guard. And his touch extends beyond the hoop; Gillespie has a nice floater game and can drill pull-up 3s.

Throw in his high-pressure defense, and Gillespie is a big get for any team in the country. The recent hit rate of players moving from the Missouri Valley to high-major conferences has been extremely high. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 180

Gillespie will be in high demand after making second-team All-Missouri Valley and the MVC All-Defense team last season. He averaged 17.2 points per game year while shooting 56.1 percent from the field, a ridiculous number for a small guard.

Gillespie’s game exists at the intersection of speed and touch. He’s a fast guard who loves to play up tempo to get to the rim. Though Belmont’s offense didn’t feature as many ball screens as other schools’, Gillespie is adept at getting downhill on those actions or when taking a dribble hand-off on the move. He uses the threat of his shot to attack closeouts and is an excellent finisher for a small guard, showing an aptitude for adjusting in mid-air with a variety of touch finger rolls and finishes. He made 71.2 percent of shots at the rim this season, per Synergy, one of the highest marks in the country for a guard. And his touch extends beyond the hoop; Gillespie has a nice floater game and can drill pull-up 3s.

Throw in his high-pressure defense, and Gillespie is a big get for any team in the country. The recent hit rate of players moving from the Missouri Valley to high-major conferences has been extremely high. — Sam Vecenie

One of the best guards in the portal is off to Maryland, as Terps coach Kevin Willard makes a second big-time backcourt investment after first securing Virginia Tech scorer Rodney Rice. Gillespie is more ready to play immediately and will step into the role vacated by the graduating Jahmir Young. Maryland desperately needed more depth in its backcourt even after securing Rice, as role player Jahari Long was the only holdover likely to receive guard minutes next season. (Sophomore Chance Stephens may be back as well, but he’s still recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last summer.) Honestly, the Terps have room to add even more to their backcourt.

Locking in Gillespie, likely with a sizable NIL deal, is a great start to an incredibly important 2024-25 season for Willard in College Park. I bet Gillespie makes an All-Big 10 team at some point in the next two seasons. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Belmont

Maryland Terrapins

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 226

Agbo is a shooter built like a football player. The San Diego native started his career at Texas Tech and spent the last two years at Boise State, where his shooting turned him into a valuable starter for the Broncos. He shot above 40 percent from 3 in both seasons in Boise and made 76 3s at a 40.9 percent clip this past year, averaging 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Agbo is also good from the mid-range, where his size and high release help him. He’s good at attacking a closeout and also will pick on smaller defenders in dribble-downs. He was an honorable mention for Mountain West all-league and played on two NCAA Tournament teams at Boise. He struggled to get on the court in his two years at Boise State but he’s likely a starter-level player now at the high-major level. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 226

Agbo is a shooter built like a football player. The San Diego native started his career at Texas Tech and spent the last two years at Boise State, where his shooting turned him into a valuable starter for the Broncos. He shot above 40 percent from 3 in both seasons in Boise and made 76 3s at a 40.9 percent clip this past year, averaging 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Agbo is also good from the mid-range, where his size and high release help him. He’s good at attacking a closeout and also will pick on smaller defenders in dribble-downs. He was an honorable mention for Mountain West all-league and played on two NCAA Tournament teams at Boise. He struggled to get on the court in his two years at Boise State but he’s likely a starter-level player now at the high-major level. — C.J. Moore 

Wing

Committed

Boise State

USC Trojans

Ht: 6-4Wt: 185

The Summit League Player of the Year is a big addition to the portal after a second consecutive monster season for South Dakota State. Mayo is a big-time scorer, averaging 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season while shooting 46.6 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from 3 and 82.8 percent from the line. He orchestrated the show for a team that made the NCAA Tournament and won the Summit League this year.

Mayo is a real pull-up threat across the court. His 35-percent mark on 144 3-point attempts doesn’t seem wild, but he got there on insanely difficult attempts that, by and large, he had to create himself. Only 10 players in college basketball took more pull-up 3-point attempts per game than Mayo, and he finished eighth among the 25 highest-volume pull-up 3-point shooters in percentage. Because he’s constantly probing and a threat to get his shot off from any spot, defenders have to stay attached to him, which makes him an effective driver. He was an awesome finisher in the Summit League, making 61.4 percent of his halfcourt shot attempts at the rim, and has a nice floater as well.

His middling results against top competition are worth noting. He made 5-of-13 shots for 11 points against Kansas State, had eight turnovers in a game against UCF and struggled in a game against Alabama as a sophomore. But he did play well in the team’s NCAA Tournament game against arguably the country’s best defense in Iowa State, going for 19 points on 11 shots.

Mayo is a legitimate difference-maker and automatic starter at the high-major level, with some all-conference upside next year in the right spot. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4Wt: 185

The Summit League Player of the Year is a big addition to the portal after a second consecutive monster season for South Dakota State. Mayo is a big-time scorer, averaging 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season while shooting 46.6 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from 3 and 82.8 percent from the line. He orchestrated the show for a team that made the NCAA Tournament and won the Summit League this year.

Mayo is a real pull-up threat across the court. His 35-percent mark on 144 3-point attempts doesn’t seem wild, but he got there on insanely difficult attempts that, by and large, he had to create himself. Only 10 players in college basketball took more pull-up 3-point attempts per game than Mayo, and he finished eighth among the 25 highest-volume pull-up 3-point shooters in percentage. Because he’s constantly probing and a threat to get his shot off from any spot, defenders have to stay attached to him, which makes him an effective driver. He was an awesome finisher in the Summit League, making 61.4 percent of his halfcourt shot attempts at the rim, and has a nice floater as well.

His middling results against top competition are worth noting. He made 5-of-13 shots for 11 points against Kansas State, had eight turnovers in a game against UCF and struggled in a game against Alabama as a sophomore. But he did play well in the team’s NCAA Tournament game against arguably the country’s best defense in Iowa State, going for 19 points on 11 shots.

Mayo is a legitimate difference-maker and automatic starter at the high-major level, with some all-conference upside next year in the right spot. — Sam Vecenie

Kansas’ most glaring issue last season was the absence of a backcourt bucket-getter. The Jayhawks finished 59th in the country in KenPom’s adjusted offensive rating, the worst mark in Bill Self’s 21-year tenure. (They’ve ranked in the top 10 more often than they haven’t in the last 17 years.) Dajuan Harris and Kevin McCullar lacked pull-up shooting gravity, and Elmarko Jackson wasn’t ready yet.

Pull-up shooting is exactly what Mayo brings to the table. He fills both a positional and significant skill-based need that should give Self more flexibility when constructing the team’s offensive system next season. If Hunter Dickinson returns, he and Mayo could execute all sorts of dribble hand-off actions that will be challenging to defend.

Kansas has a few things left to fix from last season’s disappointment, but Mayo is about as good a start in the portal as they could have hoped. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

South Dakota State

Kansas Jayhawks

Ht: 7-1 Wt: 240

Goldin arrived at FAU after spending his first season at Texas Tech, where he seldom played. He developed into a star for the Owls and was motivated last offseason after a disappointing finish in the Final Four, when he scored only five points in the team’s loss to San Diego State. He wanted to get back to the tournament and redeem himself, and while the Owls lost in the first round to Northwestern, Goldin was terrific, scoring 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 9-of-11 at the free throw line to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks.

Goldin is one of the best back-to-the-basket players in college basketball. Last season, he scored 1.203 points per possession on post-ups, per Synergy. He takes pride in being able to shoot equally well with either hand and can score over either shoulder. If he gets close to the basket, he will dunk it with authority. His aggressiveness went up this season as his confidence grew, allowing him to bump his scoring average up from 10.2 points as a junior to 15.7 points as a senior.

Goldin’s biggest weakness is that he struggles playing in space. He runs the floor hard, moves well for his size and is a solid rim protector in drop coverage in the pick-and-roll. He’s not the quickest laterally and he’s a little stiff in the hips, but he’s an adequate defender if allowed to stay close to the basket.

He’d fit well in a system that involves throwing the ball into the post often rather than one that involves five players on the perimeter. He’s so gifted as a low-post scorer that then-Owls coach Dusty May adjusted his approach to take advantage of Goldin’s abilities on the blocks. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 7-1 Wt: 240

Goldin arrived at FAU after spending his first season at Texas Tech, where he seldom played. He developed into a star for the Owls and was motivated last offseason after a disappointing finish in the Final Four, when he scored only five points in the team’s loss to San Diego State. He wanted to get back to the tournament and redeem himself, and while the Owls lost in the first round to Northwestern, Goldin was terrific, scoring 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 9-of-11 at the free throw line to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks.

Goldin is one of the best back-to-the-basket players in college basketball. Last season, he scored 1.203 points per possession on post-ups, per Synergy. He takes pride in being able to shoot equally well with either hand and can score over either shoulder. If he gets close to the basket, he will dunk it with authority. His aggressiveness went up this season as his confidence grew, allowing him to bump his scoring average up from 10.2 points as a junior to 15.7 points as a senior.

Goldin’s biggest weakness is that he struggles playing in space. He runs the floor hard, moves well for his size and is a solid rim protector in drop coverage in the pick-and-roll. He’s not the quickest laterally and he’s a little stiff in the hips, but he’s an adequate defender if allowed to stay close to the basket.

He’d fit well in a system that involves throwing the ball into the post often rather than one that involves five players on the perimeter. He’s so gifted as a low-post scorer that then-Owls coach Dusty May adjusted his approach to take advantage of Goldin’s abilities on the blocks. — C.J. Moore

Center

Committed

Florida Atlantic

Michigan Wolverines

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 160

McCollum was one of the best scoring guards in the Big 12. He averaged 13.3 points and 3.3 assists at OU, proving he can be productive at the high-major level. He’s small, but he can fly and shake defenders with his speed and handle, whether in isolation or when playing out of the pick-and-roll, as he often did at OU.

He’s one of the rare players who shoots it better off the dribble than the catch. Last season, he made only 25.6 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers, per Synergy, while shooting 39.3 percent off the bounce. That’s one reason his overall 3-point percentage dropped to 31.4 percent at Oklahoma after he made 37.5 percent of his 3s over his first two seasons at Sienna College. He did shoot 38.6 percent in catch-and-shoot situations in that span, so it’s possible he can be better in that area for his new team. He’s also an elite free throw shooter, making 94.3 percent this past season.

McCollum can play either guard spot for his new team, though he was in an ideal situation at OU playing next to a bigger point guard in the 6-4 Milos Uzan. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 160

McCollum was one of the best scoring guards in the Big 12. He averaged 13.3 points and 3.3 assists at OU, proving he can be productive at the high-major level. He’s small, but he can fly and shake defenders with his speed and handle, whether in isolation or when playing out of the pick-and-roll, as he often did at OU.

He’s one of the rare players who shoots it better off the dribble than the catch. Last season, he made only 25.6 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers, per Synergy, while shooting 39.3 percent off the bounce. That’s one reason his overall 3-point percentage dropped to 31.4 percent at Oklahoma after he made 37.5 percent of his 3s over his first two seasons at Sienna College. He did shoot 38.6 percent in catch-and-shoot situations in that span, so it’s possible he can be better in that area for his new team. He’s also an elite free throw shooter, making 94.3 percent this past season.

McCollum can play either guard spot for his new team, though he was in an ideal situation at OU playing next to a bigger point guard in the 6-4 Milos Uzan. — C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

Oklahoma

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Ht: 6-11 Wt: 245

A top-40 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Garrison showed a ton of flashes in his only season with the Cowboys. The most promising ones were on defense, where Garrison is an athletic shot blocker whose length really plays up. He can block shots with both hands and improved his positioning in drop pick-and-roll coverage throughout the season. While he played a role in Oklahoma State having one of the Big 12’s worst defenses, he, like the team’s other bigs, was often hung out to dry by guards failing to stay in front of anyone. With more experience and in a more structured scheme, I expect Garrison to become a serious impact defender.

On offense, Garrison’s range doesn’t extend far beyond finishing around the rim. However, I liked him most in ball-screens, where he showcased his mobility and created a great target for his guards with well-timed rolls. Garrison also flashed serious passing chops in hand-offs and give-and-gos with his guards, as well as in short rolls and the pivot. He needs to improve as a post-up player; he seemed to have trouble getting a foothold on the block at times. But Garrison made about 77 percent of his shots at the rim this year, and it was all those low-efficiency hook shots and midrange post jumpers that dragged his overall field goal percentage down to 57 percent.

Still, he averaged 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in a loaded Big 12 that featured a ton of great bigs. I’d bet on him being an excellent multi-year starter for even the highest-level programs in the country, with all-conference upside as an upperclassman.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-11 Wt: 245

A top-40 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Garrison showed a ton of flashes in his only season with the Cowboys. The most promising ones were on defense, where Garrison is an athletic shot blocker whose length really plays up. He can block shots with both hands and improved his positioning in drop pick-and-roll coverage throughout the season. While he played a role in Oklahoma State having one of the Big 12’s worst defenses, he, like the team’s other bigs, was often hung out to dry by guards failing to stay in front of anyone. With more experience and in a more structured scheme, I expect Garrison to become a serious impact defender.

On offense, Garrison’s range doesn’t extend far beyond finishing around the rim. However, I liked him most in ball-screens, where he showcased his mobility and created a great target for his guards with well-timed rolls. Garrison also flashed serious passing chops in hand-offs and give-and-gos with his guards, as well as in short rolls and the pivot. He needs to improve as a post-up player; he seemed to have trouble getting a foothold on the block at times. But Garrison made about 77 percent of his shots at the rim this year, and it was all those low-efficiency hook shots and midrange post jumpers that dragged his overall field goal percentage down to 57 percent.

Still, he averaged 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in a loaded Big 12 that featured a ton of great bigs. I’d bet on him being an excellent multi-year starter for even the highest-level programs in the country, with all-conference upside as an upperclassman.  — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Oklahoma State

Kentucky Wildcats

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 200

Johnson is a talented two-way wing whose potential to break out got stunted within the vortex of USC’s lost season. His season doesn’t look all that bad on its face, as he averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists while winning All-Defense team honors in the Pac-12 for the second consecutive campaign. But Johnson seemed like a prime candidate to emerge as a star coming into the year, and he instead fell back into his defensive-oriented secondary role amid all of the Trojans’ ballhandlers.

Johnson started the year strongly and ended it with a flurry, too. In his first 13 games, Johnson averaged nearly 12 points, five rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. In his final eight games, which included five Trojan wins, Johnson averaged 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, three assists and 3.3 steals while posting shooting marks of 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3 and 75 from the free-throw line. The problem was his play during USC’s catastrophic run in the middle of the season, where seemingly everything went wrong for everyone on the team.

A team captain the last two years, Johnson is a leader who profiles well as a floor-lifter or a ceiling raiser for any program. His game will scale to the absolute best teams because his defense travels and he processes the game at a superb level. He should be a starter and Defensive Player of the Year candidate in a high-major league next year, and if he becomes a more consistent shooter, he’s a definite all-conference player who could emerge as a late first-round pick in the 2025 NBA Draft. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 200

Johnson is a talented two-way wing whose potential to break out got stunted within the vortex of USC’s lost season. His season doesn’t look all that bad on its face, as he averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists while winning All-Defense team honors in the Pac-12 for the second consecutive campaign. But Johnson seemed like a prime candidate to emerge as a star coming into the year, and he instead fell back into his defensive-oriented secondary role amid all of the Trojans’ ballhandlers.

Johnson started the year strongly and ended it with a flurry, too. In his first 13 games, Johnson averaged nearly 12 points, five rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. In his final eight games, which included five Trojan wins, Johnson averaged 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, three assists and 3.3 steals while posting shooting marks of 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3 and 75 from the free-throw line. The problem was his play during USC’s catastrophic run in the middle of the season, where seemingly everything went wrong for everyone on the team.

A team captain the last two years, Johnson is a leader who profiles well as a floor-lifter or a ceiling raiser for any program. His game will scale to the absolute best teams because his defense travels and he processes the game at a superb level. He should be a starter and Defensive Player of the Year candidate in a high-major league next year, and if he becomes a more consistent shooter, he’s a definite all-conference player who could emerge as a late first-round pick in the 2025 NBA Draft. — Sam Vecenie

Johnson will be moving right down the road for his new home in a rare USC-to-UCLA transfer.

This is a perfect blend of filling a need with an ideal fit. It wouldn’t stun me to see Johnson morph into the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year under Mick Cronin, a coach who embraces that side of the floor. Considering the size limitations of the other Bruins’ guards on the roster (Sebastian Mack, Skyy Clark, Dylan Andrews), Johnson should be a defensive difference-maker with his length and physical presence on opposing initiators at the point of attack.

It remains to be seen if Johnson’s offensive game blossoms under Cronin, which is what NBA scouts are curious to watch. The Bruins have a lot of guards, so I’m skeptical Johnson will get many on-ball chances. However, Cronin has in the past allowed bigger wings and guards to pass and make plays. At a minimum, UCLA will be better off for what Johnson brings on defense. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

USC

UCLA Bruins

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 215

Jimerson has seemingly been around forever, but he was a medical redshirt for the 2019-20 season and was then granted an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so his eligibility didn’t begin ticking until his “junior” season in 2021-22.  Because of that — and the Billikens firing head coach Travis Ford — Jimerson, one of the country’s best shooters, is available for the taking. He’s averaged 15.4 points per game over the last three seasons at Saint Louis and has earned All-Atlantic-10 honors each season.

Jimerson has made 39.5 percent of his nearly 800 3-point attempts as a collegiate, and to say his shot diet was difficult is an understatement. His form is about as simple as it gets, with a pristine release out of a set shot that, frankly, you’re surprised ever misses. He’s a threat in transition as a trailer and when spotting up and out of relocations, with range extending far beyond the NBA 3-point line. But he did most of his damage running through a bevy of pindown, flare and baseline off-ball screens designed to get him open to fire. His shot motion is versatile enough to function using different forms of footwork. Over the years, he’s grown more adept at using the threat of his shot to attack the rim.

Any program whose offensive scheme features lots of off-ball movement to generate 3s should call Jimerson. Connecticut, in particular, should be calling him off the hook. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 215

Jimerson has seemingly been around forever, but he was a medical redshirt for the 2019-20 season and was then granted an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so his eligibility didn’t begin ticking until his “junior” season in 2021-22.  Because of that — and the Billikens firing head coach Travis Ford — Jimerson, one of the country’s best shooters, is available for the taking. He’s averaged 15.4 points per game over the last three seasons at Saint Louis and has earned All-Atlantic-10 honors each season.

Jimerson has made 39.5 percent of his nearly 800 3-point attempts as a collegiate, and to say his shot diet was difficult is an understatement. His form is about as simple as it gets, with a pristine release out of a set shot that, frankly, you’re surprised ever misses. He’s a threat in transition as a trailer and when spotting up and out of relocations, with range extending far beyond the NBA 3-point line. But he did most of his damage running through a bevy of pindown, flare and baseline off-ball screens designed to get him open to fire. His shot motion is versatile enough to function using different forms of footwork. Over the years, he’s grown more adept at using the threat of his shot to attack the rim.

Any program whose offensive scheme features lots of off-ball movement to generate 3s should call Jimerson. Connecticut, in particular, should be calling him off the hook. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Saint Lous

Saint Louis Billikens

Ht: 7-1 Wt: 250

Raynaud is a big-time addition to the portal. The second-team All-Pac-12 honoree and league’s Most Improved Player averaged 15.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 56.7 percent from the field. His frame filled out over the summer, allowing him to play with more force to move players around while still maintaining his mobility for his size.

More importantly, he’s one of the rarest types of players to enter the portal. In general, finding high-major bigs to transfer is harder than finding wings and guards. Finding real 7-footers is even harder. Finding ones with terrific perimeter games who can pick-and-pop, hit the occasional trail 3 on the break and are adept at running all sorts of dribble-hand-off actions is even harder than that.

Still, Raynaud thrives most around the basket. He can catch and score on the move in pick-and-rolls, secure dump-offs passes to finish with ease and operate as a sharp post player using sweet hooks shots with either hand. His game fits in almost every offensive scheme.

His defense is a question. His team will need to primarily deploy a drop scheme to keep him in the paint, as he’s not mobile enough to guard in space. He’s not quite the rim protector or shot contester that he should be given his size. But he has the tools to become more solid on that end in the right situation.

Regardless, Raynaud crushes the glass and has significant offensive versatility. He’ll be among the most popular players in the portal.

— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 7-1 Wt: 250

Raynaud is a big-time addition to the portal. The second-team All-Pac-12 honoree and league’s Most Improved Player averaged 15.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 56.7 percent from the field. His frame filled out over the summer, allowing him to play with more force to move players around while still maintaining his mobility for his size.

More importantly, he’s one of the rarest types of players to enter the portal. In general, finding high-major bigs to transfer is harder than finding wings and guards. Finding real 7-footers is even harder. Finding ones with terrific perimeter games who can pick-and-pop, hit the occasional trail 3 on the break and are adept at running all sorts of dribble-hand-off actions is even harder than that.

Still, Raynaud thrives most around the basket. He can catch and score on the move in pick-and-rolls, secure dump-offs passes to finish with ease and operate as a sharp post player using sweet hooks shots with either hand. His game fits in almost every offensive scheme.

His defense is a question. His team will need to primarily deploy a drop scheme to keep him in the paint, as he’s not mobile enough to guard in space. He’s not quite the rim protector or shot contester that he should be given his size. But he has the tools to become more solid on that end in the right situation.

Regardless, Raynaud crushes the glass and has significant offensive versatility. He’ll be among the most popular players in the portal.

— Sam Vecenie

Center

In portal

Stanford

Stanford Cardinal

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 175

McDaniel looked like one of the most dynamic guards in the Big Ten to start the season, averaging 19 points and five assists while shooting 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3 in Michigan’s first 13 games. His blow-by speed is real, his handle is tight and he can go from slow to fast in an instant. He was a reliable shooter off the catch last season (41 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s, per Synergy), so he can play as the lead ball-handler or next to another on-ball player.

However, McDaniel tailed off late, averaging just 13.5 points and 4.3 assists in his final 13 game while shooting 37.1 percent from the field. Unsurprisingly, his slump came as the team faced better talent in the Big Ten. It also featured a bizarre six-game, road-only suspension in order to focus on classwork, which hindered his rhythm.

But McDaniel showed enough in big games to buy into his upside. He had 33 points against Oregon and 26 points against St. John’s. His 33-point, eight-rebound, five-assist performance against Florida was ridiculous. When he got hot, there weren’t many players in the country more fun to watch.

He’s a clear starting guard at the High Major level with all-conference upside if he finds a scheme that lets him get up and down. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 175

McDaniel looked like one of the most dynamic guards in the Big Ten to start the season, averaging 19 points and five assists while shooting 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3 in Michigan’s first 13 games. His blow-by speed is real, his handle is tight and he can go from slow to fast in an instant. He was a reliable shooter off the catch last season (41 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s, per Synergy), so he can play as the lead ball-handler or next to another on-ball player.

However, McDaniel tailed off late, averaging just 13.5 points and 4.3 assists in his final 13 game while shooting 37.1 percent from the field. Unsurprisingly, his slump came as the team faced better talent in the Big Ten. It also featured a bizarre six-game, road-only suspension in order to focus on classwork, which hindered his rhythm.

But McDaniel showed enough in big games to buy into his upside. He had 33 points against Oregon and 26 points against St. John’s. His 33-point, eight-rebound, five-assist performance against Florida was ridiculous. When he got hot, there weren’t many players in the country more fun to watch.

He’s a clear starting guard at the High Major level with all-conference upside if he finds a scheme that lets him get up and down. — Sam Vecenie

Jerome Tang brings in another small point guard in the transfer portal. After watching Markquis Nowell lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 2023, Tang went back to the well last season and brought in Tylor Perry from North Texas. Perry proved not to be as effective a pull-up shooter as he was at North Texas, though.

Now, enter McDaniel, whose speed is more similar to Nowell’s. McDaniel can really get up and down the court, which makes him a better fit in Tang’s scheme than Perry. McDaniel is a threat to dribble, pass and shoot and can create his own offense. He’s also proven himself at this level as a two-year starter at Michigan.

With Perry graduating and Cam Carter transferring, the Wildcats’ backcourt figures to be quite different next season. Dai Dai Ames hasn’t yet hit the portal, and former Samford guard Ques Glover should be eligible for a medical redshirt after not seeing the court this season. The Wildcats’ backcourt is quite small, though, and rising sophomore RJ Jones doesn’t make them much taller at only 6-foot-3. It would behoove the Wildcats to get a bit more size and length on the wing in the coming days. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Michigan

Kansas State Wildcats

Ht: 5-10Wt: 170

Swope has the most in his bag out of the Indiana State guards. He can shoot with range and get to his jumper whenever he wants. He’s a hard shot-maker whose efficiency numbers take a little bit of a hit because he’s also a hard shot-taker. He shot just the exact same percentage (36.6) off the bounce and the catch, per Synergy. His production is really impressive — 15.9 points per game and 2.1 assists — when you consider he played most of the year battling knee injuries and putting off surgery. Before his first injury sidelined him for a game, he averaged 19.7 points and shot 44.7 percent from 3 over the first nine games of the season. He shot 42.3 percent from distance in his one season at Southern Indiana before transferring to Indiana State, so it’s possible the knee injuries took a toll on his efficiency.

Swope is wired to score, and while he technically played point guard, center Robbie Avila played the role of facilitator more than Swope. Swope played really well off of Avila. They formed a terrific two-man game, playing out of pick-and-roll and gets. Swope has a good understanding of how to set himself up once he gives the ball up. He finishes well around the basket, especially for his size. He has a nice floater and can finish with either hand. He’s bouncy too and not afraid to try to go up and dunk it with a big man challenging. Swope has no shortage of confidence, nor should he considering all the different ways he can score.

 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 5-10Wt: 170

Swope has the most in his bag out of the Indiana State guards. He can shoot with range and get to his jumper whenever he wants. He’s a hard shot-maker whose efficiency numbers take a little bit of a hit because he’s also a hard shot-taker. He shot just the exact same percentage (36.6) off the bounce and the catch, per Synergy. His production is really impressive — 15.9 points per game and 2.1 assists — when you consider he played most of the year battling knee injuries and putting off surgery. Before his first injury sidelined him for a game, he averaged 19.7 points and shot 44.7 percent from 3 over the first nine games of the season. He shot 42.3 percent from distance in his one season at Southern Indiana before transferring to Indiana State, so it’s possible the knee injuries took a toll on his efficiency.

Swope is wired to score, and while he technically played point guard, center Robbie Avila played the role of facilitator more than Swope. Swope played really well off of Avila. They formed a terrific two-man game, playing out of pick-and-roll and gets. Swope has a good understanding of how to set himself up once he gives the ball up. He finishes well around the basket, especially for his size. He has a nice floater and can finish with either hand. He’s bouncy too and not afraid to try to go up and dunk it with a big man challenging. Swope has no shortage of confidence, nor should he considering all the different ways he can score.

 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Indiana State

Saint Louis Billikens

Ht: 7-0Wt: 260

Ballo is one of the best in college basketball at carving out space in the post and giving his guards a big target. He’s perfect in any offense that plays to the post pin. Arizona built its defense around Ballo’s ability to protect the rim and take up a lot of space in drop coverage. He doesn’t block a lot of shots (1.3 per game) but he’s hard to score over and is an elite rebounder. He can get picked on in drop coverage against talented guards. The recipe to beat Arizona was with guards who knew how to handle the drop and/or bigs who could pop. Foot speed is always going to be an issue. Ballo was a double-double machine, averaging 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He shot 65.8 percent from the field but his efficiency takes a knock because of his poor free-throw shooting — a career-low 49.5 percent as a senior. His usage rate went down as Arizona leaned more on its guards this season, but Ballo is talented enough to have an offense run through him.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 7-0Wt: 260

Ballo is one of the best in college basketball at carving out space in the post and giving his guards a big target. He’s perfect in any offense that plays to the post pin. Arizona built its defense around Ballo’s ability to protect the rim and take up a lot of space in drop coverage. He doesn’t block a lot of shots (1.3 per game) but he’s hard to score over and is an elite rebounder. He can get picked on in drop coverage against talented guards. The recipe to beat Arizona was with guards who knew how to handle the drop and/or bigs who could pop. Foot speed is always going to be an issue. Ballo was a double-double machine, averaging 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He shot 65.8 percent from the field but his efficiency takes a knock because of his poor free-throw shooting — a career-low 49.5 percent as a senior. His usage rate went down as Arizona leaned more on its guards this season, but Ballo is talented enough to have an offense run through him.
 — C.J. Moore 

Center

Committed

Arizona

Indiana Hoosiers

Ht: 6-6Wt: 205

Brea might be the best shooter in college basketball. The Atlantic-10 Sixth Man of the Year shot 49.8 percent from deep this season and shoots 43.4 percent for his career. He has from-the-logo range and is elite both off the catch and the dribble. He kills drop coverage. Give him any space and he’s burying it. He scored 1.277 points per possession as the handler in the pick-and-roll, per Synergy. It’s almost shocking when he misses. He shot 53.8 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, per Synergy, and that number jumps to 59.2 percent on catch-and-shoots when he’s open.

There should be a ton of interest in Brea because everyone wants shooting. He came off the bench for the Flyers but basically played a starter’s role, averaging 11.1 points in 29.1 minutes per game. He proved in the NCAA Tournament he can knock down shots on a big stage, burying five 3s in a first-round win over Nevada and then scoring 14 points and making four 3s in the second-round loss to Arizona.
The one concern with Brea, especially if he transfers to a higher level, is he could be a guy teams hunt on the defensive end. He isn’t a great on-ball defender. He has good positional size but has a tendency to give up blow-by straight-line drives. Still, his shooting is valuable enough that just about anyone will take him because he changes the geometry of the floor.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 205

Brea might be the best shooter in college basketball. The Atlantic-10 Sixth Man of the Year shot 49.8 percent from deep this season and shoots 43.4 percent for his career. He has from-the-logo range and is elite both off the catch and the dribble. He kills drop coverage. Give him any space and he’s burying it. He scored 1.277 points per possession as the handler in the pick-and-roll, per Synergy. It’s almost shocking when he misses. He shot 53.8 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, per Synergy, and that number jumps to 59.2 percent on catch-and-shoots when he’s open.

There should be a ton of interest in Brea because everyone wants shooting. He came off the bench for the Flyers but basically played a starter’s role, averaging 11.1 points in 29.1 minutes per game. He proved in the NCAA Tournament he can knock down shots on a big stage, burying five 3s in a first-round win over Nevada and then scoring 14 points and making four 3s in the second-round loss to Arizona.
The one concern with Brea, especially if he transfers to a higher level, is he could be a guy teams hunt on the defensive end. He isn’t a great on-ball defender. He has good positional size but has a tendency to give up blow-by straight-line drives. Still, his shooting is valuable enough that just about anyone will take him because he changes the geometry of the floor.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

The co-AAC Player of the Year is one of the best on-the-move shooters in the portal. Youngblood averaged 15.3 points per game as a senior at South Florida and was one of the rare players to transfer up a level — from the A-Sun to the AAC — and see his scoring average increase. When he has space, he’s close to automatic from deep. He made 69 3-pointers at a 41.6 percent clip. He’s good off the catch and the bounce.

Youngblood isn’t that quick with the ball but he’s strong and bodies bounce off him. He creates separation with his strength and ability to read screens playing off the ball. He shot 42.6 percent coming off screens, per Synergy. His experience is obvious in the way he plays on both ends. Defensively, he knows where to be and does a good job contesting shots despite having short arms. He didn’t put up big assist numbers (2.1 per game) but his passes arrive on target and with some pop. He usually makes the right read and is willing to make the extra pass when his gravity pulls extra defenders. Youngblood is the type of player who gets everything out of his ability. He helped Amir Abdur-Rahim flip Kennesaw State and then South Florida, where the coach and player won the American in their first year when USF was coming off a losing season.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

The co-AAC Player of the Year is one of the best on-the-move shooters in the portal. Youngblood averaged 15.3 points per game as a senior at South Florida and was one of the rare players to transfer up a level — from the A-Sun to the AAC — and see his scoring average increase. When he has space, he’s close to automatic from deep. He made 69 3-pointers at a 41.6 percent clip. He’s good off the catch and the bounce.

Youngblood isn’t that quick with the ball but he’s strong and bodies bounce off him. He creates separation with his strength and ability to read screens playing off the ball. He shot 42.6 percent coming off screens, per Synergy. His experience is obvious in the way he plays on both ends. Defensively, he knows where to be and does a good job contesting shots despite having short arms. He didn’t put up big assist numbers (2.1 per game) but his passes arrive on target and with some pop. He usually makes the right read and is willing to make the extra pass when his gravity pulls extra defenders. Youngblood is the type of player who gets everything out of his ability. He helped Amir Abdur-Rahim flip Kennesaw State and then South Florida, where the coach and player won the American in their first year when USF was coming off a losing season.  — C.J. Moore 

Nate Oats loves shooting and lands one of the best shooters in the portal. Youngblood isn’t dynamic with the ball in his hands like Mark Sears or Aaron Estrada, but he’ll fit well as a floor spacer who can occasionally create his own shot. It would benefit Youngblood to play with a guard like Sears who can pull two to the ball and start the domino effect that leads to open shots. (Sears still has a year of eligibility left.) Youngblood does some of his scoring from the mid-range and that usually doesn’t fly at Alabama. But shooting with range is no issue, and that’s obviously why he was an attractive option for Alabama. He’s a Tuscaloosa native, so this is a return home.

— C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

South Florida

Alabama Crimson Tide

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 207

Claude was one of the most improved players in the country, going from averaging 4.7 points as a freshman to 16.6 points as a sophomore. He also pitched in 3.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds on a middle-of-the-pack Big East team.

Claude has a great middle game. For a wing, he’s really smooth off the bounce. He has a lot in his bag of moves and can almost always get to his spots. He shoots it best from inside 10 feet with floaters and push shots. He also is a solid shooter from the mid-range. Where he struggles is shooting the 3, which limits his ability to be very efficient. The shot doesn’t look bad, but the percentages are. He made just 27 3s at a 23.9 percent clip as a sophomore and struggled off the catch, making only 19.2 percent of those opportunities, per Synergy. He did finish strong, burying 5-of-6 3s against Georgia, who almost dared him to shoot.

Claude was on a tear late, averaging 22.8 points over his final six games and dropping 30 in a NIT loss to Georgia. He’s one of the better shot creators in the portal. Defensively, he has sort of heavy feet and can get caught up on screens. His defense and his jumper are definitely areas where he needs to improve, but his scoring ability will likely bring him a long list of suitors.
— C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 207

Claude was one of the most improved players in the country, going from averaging 4.7 points as a freshman to 16.6 points as a sophomore. He also pitched in 3.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds on a middle-of-the-pack Big East team.

Claude has a great middle game. For a wing, he’s really smooth off the bounce. He has a lot in his bag of moves and can almost always get to his spots. He shoots it best from inside 10 feet with floaters and push shots. He also is a solid shooter from the mid-range. Where he struggles is shooting the 3, which limits his ability to be very efficient. The shot doesn’t look bad, but the percentages are. He made just 27 3s at a 23.9 percent clip as a sophomore and struggled off the catch, making only 19.2 percent of those opportunities, per Synergy. He did finish strong, burying 5-of-6 3s against Georgia, who almost dared him to shoot.

Claude was on a tear late, averaging 22.8 points over his final six games and dropping 30 in a NIT loss to Georgia. He’s one of the better shot creators in the portal. Defensively, he has sort of heavy feet and can get caught up on screens. His defense and his jumper are definitely areas where he needs to improve, but his scoring ability will likely bring him a long list of suitors.
— CJ Moore

Ht: 6-1Wt: 175

Hunter was one of the most sought-after point guards two years ago in the portal when he led Iowa State to a Sweet 16 and scored 23 points in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a freshman. In two years at Texas, Hunter has put up almost identical numbers to his freshman season — and his stock has cooled. But often most of our attention is paid to what a guy does offensively, and Hunter’s greatest value has always been on the defensive end. He’s one of the best on-the-ball defensive point guards in the game, able to both pressure and contain. Look at his work in the NCAA Tournament. Colorado State star point guard Isaiah Sevens scored 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting and had four assists. Tennessee point guard Zakai Zeigler scored six points on 2-of-12 shooting and also had four turnovers. Both were Hunter’s assignments.

Hunter has always played for winners, making three NCAA Tournaments and going 6-3 in those tourneys. This season he averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.3 steals for the Longhorns. He’s at his best attacking spacing. He plays with physicality and seeks out contact. He’s inconsistent as a scorer but occasionally will break out for a huge game. In the regular-season finale, he scored 30 points and had seven assists against Oklahoma. The next game in a Big 12 tournament loss to K-State he went for just three points and three assists. That inconsistency is mostly because of his jumper. He did make 98 3s in two seasons at Texas but shot 33.4 percent from deep. But you can live with that streakiness because you know Hunter is always going to bring it defensively and try to make the right plays offensively. I’d expect him to land on a tournament-level team that is just missing a point guard.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-1Wt: 175

Hunter was one of the most sought-after point guards two years ago in the portal when he led Iowa State to a Sweet 16 and scored 23 points in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a freshman. In two years at Texas, Hunter has put up almost identical numbers to his freshman season — and his stock has cooled. But often most of our attention is paid to what a guy does offensively, and Hunter’s greatest value has always been on the defensive end. He’s one of the best on-the-ball defensive point guards in the game, able to both pressure and contain. Look at his work in the NCAA Tournament. Colorado State star point guard Isaiah Sevens scored 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting and had four assists. Tennessee point guard Zakai Zeigler scored six points on 2-of-12 shooting and also had four turnovers. Both were Hunter’s assignments.

Hunter has always played for winners, making three NCAA Tournaments and going 6-3 in those tourneys. This season he averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.3 steals for the Longhorns. He’s at his best attacking spacing. He plays with physicality and seeks out contact. He’s inconsistent as a scorer but occasionally will break out for a huge game. In the regular-season finale, he scored 30 points and had seven assists against Oklahoma. The next game in a Big 12 tournament loss to K-State he went for just three points and three assists. That inconsistency is mostly because of his jumper. He did make 98 3s in two seasons at Texas but shot 33.4 percent from deep. But you can live with that streakiness because you know Hunter is always going to bring it defensively and try to make the right plays offensively. I’d expect him to land on a tournament-level team that is just missing a point guard.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Texas

Memphis Tigers

Ht: 6-3Wt: 190

Mahaney will likely be a target for Michigan, as former Saint Mary’s assistant Justin Joyner, who recruited Mahaney, recently joined Dusty May’s staff. Mahaney averaged 13.9 points in both seasons at Saint Mary’s and is a career 37.5 percent 3-point shooter.
His shooting numbers declined as a sophomore, but he was slightly more efficient because his turnover numbers improved. Mahoney has an elite handle and is clever with the bounce. He has a good feel for playing out of ball screens, and once he gets a step on his defender, he knows how to put his defender in jail and when to explode to the basket. He can finish with both hands around the rim and even shoot floaters with his left (off) hand. Mahaney has a quick trigger from deep and is a streaky shooter. He’s confident enough that a bad shooting night doesn’t dissuade him from shooting. He started 1-of-9 in a tourney loss to Grand Canyon and still took another 12 shots, making five.

Hope for Mahaney going up a level comes in his performances against Gonzaga this season. In three games against the Zags, he averaged 19.7 points, and the Gaels won twice. The biggest adjustment could be guarding more athletic guards. He’s not the best on-the-ball defender and could get picked on there, but he’s played on great defensive teams at Saint Mary’s and has been well-schooled.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-3Wt: 190

Mahaney will likely be a target for Michigan, as former Saint Mary’s assistant Justin Joyner, who recruited Mahaney, recently joined Dusty May’s staff. Mahaney averaged 13.9 points in both seasons at Saint Mary’s and is a career 37.5 percent 3-point shooter.
His shooting numbers declined as a sophomore, but he was slightly more efficient because his turnover numbers improved. Mahoney has an elite handle and is clever with the bounce. He has a good feel for playing out of ball screens, and once he gets a step on his defender, he knows how to put his defender in jail and when to explode to the basket. He can finish with both hands around the rim and even shoot floaters with his left (off) hand. Mahaney has a quick trigger from deep and is a streaky shooter. He’s confident enough that a bad shooting night doesn’t dissuade him from shooting. He started 1-of-9 in a tourney loss to Grand Canyon and still took another 12 shots, making five.

Hope for Mahaney going up a level comes in his performances against Gonzaga this season. In three games against the Zags, he averaged 19.7 points, and the Gaels won twice. The biggest adjustment could be guarding more athletic guards. He’s not the best on-the-ball defender and could get picked on there, but he’s played on great defensive teams at Saint Mary’s and has been well-schooled.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Saint Mary’s

Connecticut Huskies

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Hepburn is one of my favorite players to watch in the portal. He is advanced in his ability to play out of ball screens, knowing how to create an advantage and then keep his man on his hip or entirely behind him once he gets a step. He plays at his pace, surveying whether he should attack or find an open teammate. He has a step-back or side-step jumper in the mid-range he can get to at almost any moment and hits at a decent percentage. It’s rare that he gets blocked at the rim because he knows how to use his body to shield off defenders.

As a sophomore, Hepburn was more aggressive as a scorer and averaged 12.2 points and 2.8 assists. This past season his usage went way down and he averaged 9.2 points and 3.9 assists, but he was more efficient and Wisconsin went from ranking 140th in adjusted offensive efficiency to 17th. Hepburn was more aggressive late in the season, scoring 22 points in a Big Ten semis upset of Purdue and then 20 points in a close championship loss to Illinois. His 3-point percentage was a career-low 32.2 percent this season, but he shoots 36.5 percent for his career, and that feels more representative.

Defensively, he usually took on the best opposing perimeter player, whether that was a point guard or a wing like Terrence Shannon Jr. He averaged 2.1 steals and was opportunistic looking to take the ball. The numbers may not pop, but he’s one of the better two-way point guards in the portal. Hepburn is from Omaha, and it’ll be interesting to see whether Creighton comes after him. He’d be a fit at point guard in that offense, a dangerous pick-and-roll partner with Ryan Kalkbrenner. Of course, it’s hard not to see Hepburn fitting just about anywhere. This is a big loss for Wisconsin. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Hepburn is one of my favorite players to watch in the portal. He is advanced in his ability to play out of ball screens, knowing how to create an advantage and then keep his man on his hip or entirely behind him once he gets a step. He plays at his pace, surveying whether he should attack or find an open teammate. He has a step-back or side-step jumper in the mid-range he can get to at almost any moment and hits at a decent percentage. It’s rare that he gets blocked at the rim because he knows how to use his body to shield off defenders.

As a sophomore, Hepburn was more aggressive as a scorer and averaged 12.2 points and 2.8 assists. This past season his usage went way down and he averaged 9.2 points and 3.9 assists, but he was more efficient and Wisconsin went from ranking 140th in adjusted offensive efficiency to 17th. Hepburn was more aggressive late in the season, scoring 22 points in a Big Ten semis upset of Purdue and then 20 points in a close championship loss to Illinois. His 3-point percentage was a career-low 32.2 percent this season, but he shoots 36.5 percent for his career, and that feels more representative.

Defensively, he usually took on the best opposing perimeter player, whether that was a point guard or a wing like Terrence Shannon Jr. He averaged 2.1 steals and was opportunistic looking to take the ball. The numbers may not pop, but he’s one of the better two-way point guards in the portal. Hepburn is from Omaha, and it’ll be interesting to see whether Creighton comes after him. He’d be a fit at point guard in that offense, a dangerous pick-and-roll partner with Ryan Kalkbrenner. Of course, it’s hard not to see Hepburn fitting just about anywhere. This is a big loss for Wisconsin. — C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

Wisconsin

Louisville Cardinals

Ht: 6-2Wt: 165

Pope is one of the best on-the-move shooters in the portal. He does a good job reading screens and finding space off the ball, then once he has the ball in his hands he finds pockets of space. This is what separates him from other 3-point marksmen. He’s not in a rush to get a shot up when he gets the ball and really thrives in the short mid-range. He shot 52.3 percent this season on jumpers inside 17 feet, per Synergy. He scores in this area more frequently than he does at the rim. He has great dexterity, able to finish around the basket with both hands, but there’s a reason he leans so much on his pull-up game. He doesn’t have much explosion at the rim and has to get creative to get shots over length.

The skill is impressive and has allowed Pope to put up great scoring numbers. He averaged 17.3 points and 3.4 assists this season with solid efficiency numbers. This isn’t just a someone-has-to-score-on-a-bad-team situation. Pope shooting is proven and would be valuable on a winning team. He’s made 37.4 percent of his 3s and shot 86.1 percent from the free-throw line in two years at Oregon State. He can make hard shots too, often ending up with the ball in his hands in late-clock situations. Pope should generate a lot of interest because of his shooting and natural scoring ability. He had seven games this season when he scored 25 or more points. Even on a losing team, that’s impressive at the high-major level. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-2Wt: 165

Pope is one of the best on-the-move shooters in the portal. He does a good job reading screens and finding space off the ball, then once he has the ball in his hands he finds pockets of space. This is what separates him from other 3-point marksmen. He’s not in a rush to get a shot up when he gets the ball and really thrives in the short mid-range. He shot 52.3 percent this season on jumpers inside 17 feet, per Synergy. He scores in this area more frequently than he does at the rim. He has great dexterity, able to finish around the basket with both hands, but there’s a reason he leans so much on his pull-up game. He doesn’t have much explosion at the rim and has to get creative to get shots over length.

The skill is impressive and has allowed Pope to put up great scoring numbers. He averaged 17.3 points and 3.4 assists this season with solid efficiency numbers. This isn’t just a someone-has-to-score-on-a-bad-team situation. Pope shooting is proven and would be valuable on a winning team. He’s made 37.4 percent of his 3s and shot 86.1 percent from the free-throw line in two years at Oregon State. He can make hard shots too, often ending up with the ball in his hands in late-clock situations. Pope should generate a lot of interest because of his shooting and natural scoring ability. He had seven games this season when he scored 25 or more points. Even on a losing team, that’s impressive at the high-major level. — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Oregon State

Texas Longhorns

Ht: 6-8Wt: 205

Mitchell was one of the top-rated players in the 2022 class because of his athleticism. That did not lead to a ton of production, as he averaged 4.3 points as a freshman and 9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds as a sophomore. Mitchell barely ever scores outside of 5 feet, which limits his scoring potential. He missed all eight of his 3-point attempts this season and made just 7-of-38 jumpers, per Synergy, and defenders basically ignore him when he leaves the paint.

Mitchell is at his best anytime he’s putting pressure on the rim, whether that’s cutting, rolling, in transition or cleaning up misses. He gets off the floor about as quickly as anyone in college basketball. He also provides value executing dribble handoffs and working to get his guards open when his man sags off him. He has ball skills and can flip his hips quickly to re-screen and also gets out of screens quickly in the pick-and-roll game. He becomes more valuable if he can ever get to the point where he can knock down an open jumper. He also started to attack that space some in dribble downs, and that’s another area where he could look to improve his scoring numbers.

Defensively, Mitchell is a versatile defender because of his size and foot speed. He spent most of the last two years playing power forward, but I wonder if he’d be best utilized as a playmaking five, almost mimicking the way Marquette used Oso Ighodaro. That’s the best-case scenario for Mitchell and picking the right fit will be key for his future success.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-8Wt: 205

Mitchell was one of the top-rated players in the 2022 class because of his athleticism. That did not lead to a ton of production, as he averaged 4.3 points as a freshman and 9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds as a sophomore. Mitchell barely ever scores outside of 5 feet, which limits his scoring potential. He missed all eight of his 3-point attempts this season and made just 7-of-38 jumpers, per Synergy, and defenders basically ignore him when he leaves the paint.

Mitchell is at his best anytime he’s putting pressure on the rim, whether that’s cutting, rolling, in transition or cleaning up misses. He gets off the floor about as quickly as anyone in college basketball. He also provides value executing dribble handoffs and working to get his guards open when his man sags off him. He has ball skills and can flip his hips quickly to re-screen and also gets out of screens quickly in the pick-and-roll game. He becomes more valuable if he can ever get to the point where he can knock down an open jumper. He also started to attack that space some in dribble downs, and that’s another area where he could look to improve his scoring numbers.

Defensively, Mitchell is a versatile defender because of his size and foot speed. He spent most of the last two years playing power forward, but I wonder if he’d be best utilized as a playmaking five, almost mimicking the way Marquette used Oso Ighodaro. That’s the best-case scenario for Mitchell and picking the right fit will be key for his future success.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 265

A former top-40 recruit from high school powerhouse Link Academy in Missouri, Reed had a solid freshman season as a defensive difference-maker off the bench before stepping into the starting role during the Wolverines’ disastrous 2023-24 season.

A strong, 260-pound big with quick feet and a high feel for the game, the idea was for Reed to play effectively in the post and defend. His performance this season was mixed, but it’s hard to say how much was his fault. He made more than 51 percent of his shot attempts on the block, per Synergy, and he crashed the offensive glass well to create second chances. But Reed isn’t a good leaper, so he didn’t get a ton of dunks and was contested or blocked more often on dump-offs or put-back attempts than a typical big. Additionally, because Michigan’s spacing was so bad, he was often crowded by defenders, resulting in a number of turnovers. His hands at times betrayed him, and he’d fumble easy catches.

The key to Reed’s future is his defense. He moves well in space on the perimeter in switch situations, and he has strong instincts around the rim when contesting shots. Those attributes made an impact for Michigan as a freshman, when the team’s scheme and connectivity was much better as a whole. This season, he was forced to hold the system up, and the team’s rough perimeter and help defense often put him in difficult spots. If Reed’s defensive drop-off ends up simply being due to the Wolverines’ utterly catastrophic situation, he should be a high-major starter next season. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 265

A former top-40 recruit from high school powerhouse Link Academy in Missouri, Reed had a solid freshman season as a defensive difference-maker off the bench before stepping into the starting role during the Wolverines’ disastrous 2023-24 season.

A strong, 260-pound big with quick feet and a high feel for the game, the idea was for Reed to play effectively in the post and defend. His performance this season was mixed, but it’s hard to say how much was his fault. He made more than 51 percent of his shot attempts on the block, per Synergy, and he crashed the offensive glass well to create second chances. But Reed isn’t a good leaper, so he didn’t get a ton of dunks and was contested or blocked more often on dump-offs or put-back attempts than a typical big. Additionally, because Michigan’s spacing was so bad, he was often crowded by defenders, resulting in a number of turnovers. His hands at times betrayed him, and he’d fumble easy catches.

The key to Reed’s future is his defense. He moves well in space on the perimeter in switch situations, and he has strong instincts around the rim when contesting shots. Those attributes made an impact for Michigan as a freshman, when the team’s scheme and connectivity was much better as a whole. This season, he was forced to hold the system up, and the team’s rough perimeter and help defense often put him in difficult spots. If Reed’s defensive drop-off ends up simply being due to the Wolverines’ utterly catastrophic situation, he should be a high-major starter next season. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Michigan

Connecticut Huskies

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 240

It took Huntley-Hatfield a while to become a productive college player, but the former five-star prospect has started to come into his own by focusing more on the game’s little things. Twenty five percent of Huntley-Hatfield’s shots in his first season at Tennessee were jumpers, per Synergy. That figure dropped to 22 percent in his sophomore season at Louisville and just 15 percent last season. The result: Huntley-Hatfield’s true shooting mark improved to an above-average 60.6 percent despite him upping his volume and becoming a bigger part of the offense.

Overall, Huntley-Hatfield averaged 12.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, posting eight double-doubles. Almost 60 percent of his shots came at the rim, per Synergy, and he made those at a 68 percent clip despite playing on a team with zero floor-spacing. He was a good pick-and-roll big who found soft spots in the defense, created second chances via crashing the offensive glass hard and showed an ability to take advantage in some post-up situations — though his new team should probably dial those opportunities back. He had some fun flashes as a driver from the top of the key and even made a couple of spot-up 3s.

I understand why people stopped watching Louisville. The Cardinals were a rough viewing experience with an offense that made little sense. But just as most stopped paying attention, Huntley-Hatfield started to meet some of evaluators’ early lofty expectations. Over his last 18 games this season, Huntley-Hatfield averaged 15.8 points per game. If he continues on that positive trajectory, he might be more than a starting-level big. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 240

It took Huntley-Hatfield a while to become a productive college player, but the former five-star prospect has started to come into his own by focusing more on the game’s little things. Twenty five percent of Huntley-Hatfield’s shots in his first season at Tennessee were jumpers, per Synergy. That figure dropped to 22 percent in his sophomore season at Louisville and just 15 percent last season. The result: Huntley-Hatfield’s true shooting mark improved to an above-average 60.6 percent despite him upping his volume and becoming a bigger part of the offense.

Overall, Huntley-Hatfield averaged 12.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, posting eight double-doubles. Almost 60 percent of his shots came at the rim, per Synergy, and he made those at a 68 percent clip despite playing on a team with zero floor-spacing. He was a good pick-and-roll big who found soft spots in the defense, created second chances via crashing the offensive glass hard and showed an ability to take advantage in some post-up situations — though his new team should probably dial those opportunities back. He had some fun flashes as a driver from the top of the key and even made a couple of spot-up 3s.

I understand why people stopped watching Louisville. The Cardinals were a rough viewing experience with an offense that made little sense. But just as most stopped paying attention, Huntley-Hatfield started to meet some of evaluators’ early lofty expectations. Over his last 18 games this season, Huntley-Hatfield averaged 15.8 points per game. If he continues on that positive trajectory, he might be more than a starting-level big. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Louisville

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 210

Martin looked like Florida Atlantic’s best player for stretches of the 2023 Final Four run. He put up 26 points in the semifinal loss to San Diego State. He followed that up by averaging 13.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game this past season. He struggled some with his jumper, shooting 33.8 percent from 3, but that was partly due to a poor start and bad finish (missed his final 10 3s). For his career, he shoot 36.9 percent from deep. He’s at his best spotting up and attacking closeouts. He is built like a brick house and can finish through (and over) bodies at the rim. He plays much bigger than 6-2, as his rebounding numbers show. There have been times where FAU has played him at the four. He fits in just about any system because of his shooting and knowing how to space and move without the ball. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 210

Martin looked like Florida Atlantic’s best player for stretches of the 2023 Final Four run. He put up 26 points in the semifinal loss to San Diego State. He followed that up by averaging 13.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game this past season. He struggled some with his jumper, shooting 33.8 percent from 3, but that was partly due to a poor start and bad finish (missed his final 10 3s). For his career, he shoot 36.9 percent from deep. He’s at his best spotting up and attacking closeouts. He is built like a brick house and can finish through (and over) bodies at the rim. He plays much bigger than 6-2, as his rebounding numbers show. There have been times where FAU has played him at the four. He fits in just about any system because of his shooting and knowing how to space and move without the ball. — C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

Florida Atlantic

Florida Gators

Ht: 6-3Wt: 185

Larry is one of the fastest guards in college basketball. He’s built like a running back and explodes through a hole like one. He constantly is putting pressure on the rim with his speed and is able to operate under control, especially considering how fast he’s moving. When a help side defender slides up to help, he sees it and was regularly dumping the ball off to Robbie Avila. He was Indiana State’s best 3-point shooter by percentage (46.2 percent) but fourth on the team in makes. That’s because he usually only takes the wide-open ones. He needs time to get his shot off and would prefer to attack the paint, but you have to respect his jumper because he’s so accurate when he does shoot. He was Indiana State’s best defender and likes to heat up the ball. He averaged 1.5 steals per game. He’s not going to be a primary scorer, but he’ll make the most of his opportunities. He averaged 11 points and 4.8 assists. He’s capable of playing point guard and has worked a lot out of ball screens, but he’s probably best as a secondary handler. As with all the transfers coming from Indiana State, they fit best in a system like Josh Schertz’s where the floor is spread and they play off each other’s gravity.

 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-3Wt: 185

Larry is one of the fastest guards in college basketball. He’s built like a running back and explodes through a hole like one. He constantly is putting pressure on the rim with his speed and is able to operate under control, especially considering how fast he’s moving. When a help side defender slides up to help, he sees it and was regularly dumping the ball off to Robbie Avila. He was Indiana State’s best 3-point shooter by percentage (46.2 percent) but fourth on the team in makes. That’s because he usually only takes the wide-open ones. He needs time to get his shot off and would prefer to attack the paint, but you have to respect his jumper because he’s so accurate when he does shoot. He was Indiana State’s best defender and likes to heat up the ball. He averaged 1.5 steals per game. He’s not going to be a primary scorer, but he’ll make the most of his opportunities. He averaged 11 points and 4.8 assists. He’s capable of playing point guard and has worked a lot out of ball screens, but he’s probably best as a secondary handler. As with all the transfers coming from Indiana State, they fit best in a system like Josh Schertz’s where the floor is spread and they play off each other’s gravity.

 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Indiana State

Texas Longhorns

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Boswell started at point guard on a No. 2 seed at the age of a freshman. He turns 19 this month and already has played two seasons at Arizona, so the fact that he’s already produced — 9.6 points and 3.6 assists per game — at that age is impressive. He’s best suited playing next to a more dynamic guard like Arizona had this year in Caleb Love. Boswell can play the part of initiating offense but he’s limited as a playmaker. He also struggles finishing around the basket. He shot 51.7 percent at the rim, per Synergy. He’s solid as a spot-up shooter, knocking down 66 3s at a 37.9 percent clip this year. In two seasons, he’s shot 39.2 percent from deep and 79.3 percent at the free throw line. That’s enough sample size to believe in his shot. He’s a plus defender on the ball capable of guarding bigger players because of his strength.

 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Boswell started at point guard on a No. 2 seed at the age of a freshman. He turns 19 this month and already has played two seasons at Arizona, so the fact that he’s already produced — 9.6 points and 3.6 assists per game — at that age is impressive. He’s best suited playing next to a more dynamic guard like Arizona had this year in Caleb Love. Boswell can play the part of initiating offense but he’s limited as a playmaker. He also struggles finishing around the basket. He shot 51.7 percent at the rim, per Synergy. He’s solid as a spot-up shooter, knocking down 66 3s at a 37.9 percent clip this year. In two seasons, he’s shot 39.2 percent from deep and 79.3 percent at the free throw line. That’s enough sample size to believe in his shot. He’s a plus defender on the ball capable of guarding bigger players because of his strength.

 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Duke

Illinois Fighting Illini

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 230

Mitchell is a good energy guy with plus-athleticism at 6-9. He is limited offensively because of his jump shot. His shot actually got worse from his freshman to sophomore season. As he freshman, he made 19-of-54 3s (35.2 percent) and shot 76.3 percent at the free-throw line. This season he went 11-of-40 (27.5 percent) from deep and made just 62.3 percent of his free throws. His shot got flatter with a pronounced hitch. There’s a lot of work to be done there in the offseason. But Mitchell did get better at learning how to attack space when defenders would sag off him. He handles it well for his size and has some burst. He also learned how to be a better cutter with his man often focused on helping off.

His numbers were still solid, averaging 11.6 points and 6.0 rebounds while making 59 percent of his 2s. He’s long enough that he could play at the center spot in smaller lineups. Duke didn’t use him much as a facilitator because it had Kyle Filipowski as the hub of its offense, but it’s feasible that’s something Mitchell could be capable of with his skill level. He’s also a switchable defender with the quickness to be part of an aggressive pick-and-roll scheme. Fit will be important for Mitchell. Ideally, he’ll be surrounded by shooters and play in an up-tempo system.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 230

Mitchell is a good energy guy with plus-athleticism at 6-9. He is limited offensively because of his jump shot. His shot actually got worse from his freshman to sophomore season. As he freshman, he made 19-of-54 3s (35.2 percent) and shot 76.3 percent at the free-throw line. This season he went 11-of-40 (27.5 percent) from deep and made just 62.3 percent of his free throws. His shot got flatter with a pronounced hitch. There’s a lot of work to be done there in the offseason. But Mitchell did get better at learning how to attack space when defenders would sag off him. He handles it well for his size and has some burst. He also learned how to be a better cutter with his man often focused on helping off.

His numbers were still solid, averaging 11.6 points and 6.0 rebounds while making 59 percent of his 2s. He’s long enough that he could play at the center spot in smaller lineups. Duke didn’t use him much as a facilitator because it had Kyle Filipowski as the hub of its offense, but it’s feasible that’s something Mitchell could be capable of with his skill level. He’s also a switchable defender with the quickness to be part of an aggressive pick-and-roll scheme. Fit will be important for Mitchell. Ideally, he’ll be surrounded by shooters and play in an up-tempo system.
 — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

Duke

Missouri Tigers

Ht: 6-8Wt: 220

Jefferson is a perfect fit at defensive-minded Iowa State. Jefferson is an excellent defender. He has a strong base and is tough to move inside and then he’s able to guard on the perimeter as well. He’s always looking to strip the ball and averages 1.2 steals per game. Even when he doesn’t steal it, his swipe at the ball often throws off shooters. He’ll fit right in on a team that ranked second nationally in defensive turnover rate. Saint Mary’s defense was 10.2 points per 100 possessions better defensively with Jefferson on the floor, per CBB Analytics. The Gaels were 11-0 in the WCC when Jefferson suffered a season-ending knee injury and were just coming off a win at Gonzaga, where he went for 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Offensively, Jefferson has nice touch around the basket with both hands. He’s a capable shooter from the perimeter, but that’s not his strength. He’s better when he catches it outside at taking his man to the block off a dribble down. He’s so strong that it’s tough keeping him from getting to his spots. He also has good awareness at being able to find the open man. He averaged 10.2 points and 2.3 assists per game for the Gaels. He’ll provide a back-to-the-basket scoring presence that Iowa State was missing this past year.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-8Wt: 220

Jefferson is a perfect fit at defensive-minded Iowa State. Jefferson is an excellent defender. He has a strong base and is tough to move inside and then he’s able to guard on the perimeter as well. He’s always looking to strip the ball and averages 1.2 steals per game. Even when he doesn’t steal it, his swipe at the ball often throws off shooters. He’ll fit right in on a team that ranked second nationally in defensive turnover rate. Saint Mary’s defense was 10.2 points per 100 possessions better defensively with Jefferson on the floor, per CBB Analytics. The Gaels were 11-0 in the WCC when Jefferson suffered a season-ending knee injury and were just coming off a win at Gonzaga, where he went for 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Offensively, Jefferson has nice touch around the basket with both hands. He’s a capable shooter from the perimeter, but that’s not his strength. He’s better when he catches it outside at taking his man to the block off a dribble down. He’s so strong that it’s tough keeping him from getting to his spots. He also has good awareness at being able to find the open man. He averaged 10.2 points and 2.3 assists per game for the Gaels. He’ll provide a back-to-the-basket scoring presence that Iowa State was missing this past year.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

South Florida

Iowa State Cyclones

Ht: 6-6Wt: 185

After spending three years at Houston as a third option, Mark transferred to Arkansas and became the go-to guy on a mediocre team. He led the Razorbacks in scoring at 16.2 points per game. He’s also lived in the mid-range, so his game is not tailor-made for the analytics era, but he is a guy who can go get his own shot just about whenever you need it. He’s one of those slithery lefties that defenders struggle with. He’s a better shooter off the bounce than off the catch. He played a lot in isolation for the Razorbacks.

Mark did bump his efficiency numbers up by shooting it better from 3 — 36.4 percent, compared to 32.8 percent his junior year — and getting to the line more often, where he made 80.4 percent of his free throws. Mark can bet a pest on the ball with his long reach and has always had good steal numbers — he averaged 1.2 per game this season. He’s a tricky fit because he’s at his best with the ball in his hands but he’d rather score than pass; however, he is capable of setting teammates up and even had a 23.4 assist rate as a sophomore.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 185

After spending three years at Houston as a third option, Mark transferred to Arkansas and became the go-to guy on a mediocre team. He led the Razorbacks in scoring at 16.2 points per game. He’s also lived in the mid-range, so his game is not tailor-made for the analytics era, but he is a guy who can go get his own shot just about whenever you need it. He’s one of those slithery lefties that defenders struggle with. He’s a better shooter off the bounce than off the catch. He played a lot in isolation for the Razorbacks.

Mark did bump his efficiency numbers up by shooting it better from 3 — 36.4 percent, compared to 32.8 percent his junior year — and getting to the line more often, where he made 80.4 percent of his free throws. Mark can bet a pest on the ball with his long reach and has always had good steal numbers — he averaged 1.2 per game this season. He’s a tricky fit because he’s at his best with the ball in his hands but he’d rather score than pass; however, he is capable of setting teammates up and even had a 23.4 assist rate as a sophomore.
 — C.J. Moore 

If Mark wants to continue to be a primary scorer, he picked a good spot. He’ll play alongside Indiana State transfer Julian Larry, who is better as second or third options and a good enough shooter to space the floor when Mark wants to work in isolation or out of the pick and roll. There are similarities to the Texas and Arkansas offenses. Both rely on spacing the floor and running simple actions to get their scorers opportunities. With Max Abmas graduating, someone needs to step up and be willing to be that shotmaker. Mark is the leading candidate.

— C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

Arkansas

Texas Longhorns

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 215

Bamba is a 3-and-D type wing who transferred to Villanova a year ago from Washington State, and the Wildcats looked awesome on paper. It didn’t quite work out, but Bamba did help the Cats move from 78th to 13th in adjusted defense. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game one season after averaging 15.8 points for the Cougars.

Bamba is not a primary scorer but solid as a catch-and-shoot guy who can also attack a closeout and occasionally play out of a ball screen. He’s shot 38 percent from 3 for his career. He can definitely be part of a winning group and would be a solid third or fourth option on a good team.. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 215

Bamba is a 3-and-D type wing who transferred to Villanova a year ago from Washington State, and the Wildcats looked awesome on paper. It didn’t quite work out, but Bamba did help the Cats move from 78th to 13th in adjusted defense. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game one season after averaging 15.8 points for the Cougars.

Bamba is not a primary scorer but solid as a catch-and-shoot guy who can also attack a closeout and occasionally play out of a ball screen. He’s shot 38 percent from 3 for his career. He can definitely be part of a winning group and would be a solid third or fourth option on a good team.. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 255

This is a tough loss for a Minnesota team that did not have much depth on the interior this year. Payne is a tough, physical interior player who rebounds, hits the glass and finishes at the rim. He’s a very direct player in that way, possessing all sorts of bounce and explosive athleticism. That’s the key skill for Payne. He is one of the best big-man athletes in the country.

Offensively, almost every shot he took this year was at the rim. When he wants to or has a runway, he can get above the rim and finish. But the skill level and hands can occasionally abandon him. Still, he made almost 64 percent of his shots at the rim, per Synergy, which is solid enough. Mostly, Payne is going to play out of ball-screens and in the dunker spot, but he also posted a few times per game for Minnesota to very mixed results. The turnover rate in those situations is quite poor, and I don’t know how great I feel about him putting the ball on the ground more than once. But as a rim-runner, he has a lot of utility if another team runs a ball-screen-centric offense. He’ll also get a significant number of tip-outs and put-backs.

More than on offense though, Payne has a ton of upside on defense. He can explosively rise up to block shots, as well as guard a bit in space. He moves really well laterally for a player his size at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds. He rotates in a timely manner on the baseline and always makes his presence felt, sometimes at the expense of taking himself out of rebounding position, but the overall impact is positive.

His game never seems to slow down. If I were a coach, I’d love to invest further time and energy into him, especially if a significant basis of my offense was a well-spaced court with high-end ball-screen action where he’d have space to take off and fly.— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 255

This is a tough loss for a Minnesota team that did not have much depth on the interior this year. Payne is a tough, physical interior player who rebounds, hits the glass and finishes at the rim. He’s a very direct player in that way, possessing all sorts of bounce and explosive athleticism. That’s the key skill for Payne. He is one of the best big-man athletes in the country.

Offensively, almost every shot he took this year was at the rim. When he wants to or has a runway, he can get above the rim and finish. But the skill level and hands can occasionally abandon him. Still, he made almost 64 percent of his shots at the rim, per Synergy, which is solid enough. Mostly, Payne is going to play out of ball-screens and in the dunker spot, but he also posted a few times per game for Minnesota to very mixed results. The turnover rate in those situations is quite poor, and I don’t know how great I feel about him putting the ball on the ground more than once. But as a rim-runner, he has a lot of utility if another team runs a ball-screen-centric offense. He’ll also get a significant number of tip-outs and put-backs.

More than on offense though, Payne has a ton of upside on defense. He can explosively rise up to block shots, as well as guard a bit in space. He moves really well laterally for a player his size at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds. He rotates in a timely manner on the baseline and always makes his presence felt, sometimes at the expense of taking himself out of rebounding position, but the overall impact is positive.

His game never seems to slow down. If I were a coach, I’d love to invest further time and energy into him, especially if a significant basis of my offense was a well-spaced court with high-end ball-screen action where he’d have space to take off and fly.— Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Minnesota

Texas A&M Aggies

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 222

Thiero plays incredibly hard, with reckless abandon at all times, and he’s going to try to make stuff happen just by being big, athletic and willing to throw his weight around. He averaged 7.2 points, five rebounds, one assist, nearly one steal, and 1.1 blocks, but he played injured for a portion of the season, dealing with a broken thumb along with what the team referred to as “general soreness.” The goal for him was just to bring energy and intensity, and he generally brought it in a big way.

He was one of the few Wildcats this year to consistently bring value on the defensive end. He rotated around the court with disruptive intent and attacked everything that went up on the glass. On the offensive end, his impact was more limited, but he consistently did all of the little things required. He made only 48 percent of his shots at the rim and wasn’t all that comfortable firing from 3. He needs to get better with his touch on the interior, and he has to come into next season way more comfortable firing away from 3. If those two things happen, he might be a 2025 NBA Draft pick. The tools, athleticism and motor are all there, and he seems to take real pride in defending. But unless the skills come along, he might end up as more of a role-player as a starter next season if he chooses not to return to Kentucky. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 222

Thiero plays incredibly hard, with reckless abandon at all times, and he’s going to try to make stuff happen just by being big, athletic and willing to throw his weight around. He averaged 7.2 points, five rebounds, one assist, nearly one steal, and 1.1 blocks, but he played injured for a portion of the season, dealing with a broken thumb along with what the team referred to as “general soreness.” The goal for him was just to bring energy and intensity, and he generally brought it in a big way.

He was one of the few Wildcats this year to consistently bring value on the defensive end. He rotated around the court with disruptive intent and attacked everything that went up on the glass. On the offensive end, his impact was more limited, but he consistently did all of the little things required. He made only 48 percent of his shots at the rim and wasn’t all that comfortable firing from 3. He needs to get better with his touch on the interior, and he has to come into next season way more comfortable firing away from 3. If those two things happen, he might be a 2025 NBA Draft pick. The tools, athleticism and motor are all there, and he seems to take real pride in defending. But unless the skills come along, he might end up as more of a role-player as a starter next season if he chooses not to return to Kentucky. — Sam Vecenie 

We already saw one Northern Colorado transfer take college hoops by storm this season in Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht. Now, Thomas is hitting the portal, and he’s also a strong candidate to shine at a high major.

The 6-foot-7 wing started his career at Loyola Chicago, but didn’t get much playing time and relocated to Greeley, Co. to jump start his career. It was a good choice. Thomas exploded this season, earning first-team All-Big Sky honors while averaging 19.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.9 steals and almost a block per game. He shot 47.2 percent from the field, 33 percent on more than six 3-point attempts per game and nearly 87 percent at the free-throw line.

The sheer versatility of Thomas’ attack was most impressive. He could grab a defensive rebound, start the break in transition and become an immediate pull-up threat from 25 feet out. If that shot wasn’t available, he’d attack off the bounce and use his powerful 6-7 frame to get all the way to the rim. In halfcourt situations, he was somewhat successful in ball screens — though his decision-making still has room to improve — and thrived posting up mismatches on the block.

A few coaches have raised concerns when I ask about Thomas’ game scaling up to the high-major level. Much of his offensive success can be attributed to physical advantages he had over other Big Sky players. But it’s hard to find transfer options with Thomas’ size, athleticism, touch and playmaking instincts. I think he’s a high-major starter somewhere next year, and might be more than that if he continues to grow as a shooter. — Sam Vecenie

We already saw one Northern Colorado transfer take college hoops by storm this season in Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht. Now, Thomas is hitting the portal, and he’s also a strong candidate to shine at a high major.

The 6-foot-7 wing started his career at Loyola Chicago, but didn’t get much playing time and relocated to Greeley, Co. to jump start his career. It was a good choice. Thomas exploded this season, earning first-team All-Big Sky honors while averaging 19.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.9 steals and almost a block per game. He shot 47.2 percent from the field, 33 percent on more than six 3-point attempts per game and nearly 87 percent at the free-throw line.

The sheer versatility of Thomas’ attack was most impressive. He could grab a defensive rebound, start the break in transition and become an immediate pull-up threat from 25 feet out. If that shot wasn’t available, he’d attack off the bounce and use his powerful 6-7 frame to get all the way to the rim. In halfcourt situations, he was somewhat successful in ball screens — though his decision-making still has room to improve — and thrived posting up mismatches on the block.

A few coaches have raised concerns when I ask about Thomas’ game scaling up to the high-major level. Much of his offensive success can be attributed to physical advantages he had over other Big Sky players. But it’s hard to find transfer options with Thomas’ size, athleticism, touch and playmaking instincts. I think he’s a high-major starter somewhere next year, and might be more than that if he continues to grow as a shooter. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Northern Colorado

USC Trojans

Ht: 6-6Wt: 205

A two-year starter at Colorado, Hadley originally started his career at Northeastern before going to the junior college level for a season and then reappearing at Colorado. He’s one of those players that does a lot of things well, and it wouldn’t be unfair to call him a glue guy.

Most of his offense comes at the rim, whether via running out in transition, attacking post mismatches as a big 2-guard, cutting backdoor or driving closeouts. He crashes the glass and is a solid screener. He doesn’t take many bad shots, which is how he ended up averaging 11.6 points on only 7.3 field goal attempts per game with an impressive 63.7 true-shooting percentage.

Beyond that, Hadley is a good passer who unselfishly made the right play for star teammates K.J. Simpson and Tristan da Silva last season. He takes on tough defensive assignments and is sharp positionally off the ball, always seeming to be in the right place.

There are so many teams across the country that could use a player like Hadley. He probably won’t make an All-Conference team unless he improves as a shooter, but he is the kind of player that just helps teams win. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-6Wt: 205

A two-year starter at Colorado, Hadley originally started his career at Northeastern before going to the junior college level for a season and then reappearing at Colorado. He’s one of those players that does a lot of things well, and it wouldn’t be unfair to call him a glue guy.

Most of his offense comes at the rim, whether via running out in transition, attacking post mismatches as a big 2-guard, cutting backdoor or driving closeouts. He crashes the glass and is a solid screener. He doesn’t take many bad shots, which is how he ended up averaging 11.6 points on only 7.3 field goal attempts per game with an impressive 63.7 true-shooting percentage.

Beyond that, Hadley is a good passer who unselfishly made the right play for star teammates K.J. Simpson and Tristan da Silva last season. He takes on tough defensive assignments and is sharp positionally off the ball, always seeming to be in the right place.

There are so many teams across the country that could use a player like Hadley. He probably won’t make an All-Conference team unless he improves as a shooter, but he is the kind of player that just helps teams win. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Colorado

Louisville Cardinals

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 195

A multi-year starter at Virginia Tech, Pedulla has been extremely productive running the show as the team’s primary lead guard. He has a tight, crafty handle, and while he’s not overly shifty, he stays on balance and changes speeds effectively to get into the teeth of the defense.

He’s especially good at leveraging his ability to score at all three levels. Defenses have to be cognizant of his step-back and midrange pull-up jumpers, as well as him stopping on a dime for floaters. He can get into his step-back in a variety of ways: behind-the-legs dribbles, crossovers and more. He hasn’t made a particularly high percentage off the catch but clearly has good touch and may improve in that area in a more manageable offensive role.

It often felt like he was asked to do too much at Virginia Tech. With M.J. Collins having a poor season and teammates Hunter Cattoor and Tyler Nickel serving more as floor-spacers, Pedulla was often the sole driver of the offense. That did allow him to earn a third-team All-ACC berth with averages of 16.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, but he also committed 3.3 turnovers a contest. To me, his miscues were more a function of his offensive responsibilities than any skill deficiency.

Pedulla plays with confidence and is a genuine high-major starting point guard. Ideally, he’d be paired with a strong, bigger combo guard who can generate rim pressure and set Pedulla up for more open catch-and-shoot 3s. But there are many other teams that could use a battle-tested, older, two-year starting ACC floor-general.
— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 195

A multi-year starter at Virginia Tech, Pedulla has been extremely productive running the show as the team’s primary lead guard. He has a tight, crafty handle, and while he’s not overly shifty, he stays on balance and changes speeds effectively to get into the teeth of the defense.

He’s especially good at leveraging his ability to score at all three levels. Defenses have to be cognizant of his step-back and midrange pull-up jumpers, as well as him stopping on a dime for floaters. He can get into his step-back in a variety of ways: behind-the-legs dribbles, crossovers and more. He hasn’t made a particularly high percentage off the catch but clearly has good touch and may improve in that area in a more manageable offensive role.

It often felt like he was asked to do too much at Virginia Tech. With M.J. Collins having a poor season and teammates Hunter Cattoor and Tyler Nickel serving more as floor-spacers, Pedulla was often the sole driver of the offense. That did allow him to earn a third-team All-ACC berth with averages of 16.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, but he also committed 3.3 turnovers a contest. To me, his miscues were more a function of his offensive responsibilities than any skill deficiency.

Pedulla plays with confidence and is a genuine high-major starting point guard. Ideally, he’d be paired with a strong, bigger combo guard who can generate rim pressure and set Pedulla up for more open catch-and-shoot 3s. But there are many other teams that could use a battle-tested, older, two-year starting ACC floor-general.
— Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Virginia Tech

Ole Miss Rebels

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 184

Johnson struggled to find playing time in his first two seasons at Ohio State, but has blossomed into a quality high-major starting point guard at South Carolina. This season, he took another solid step forward, averaging 14.1 points, four rebounds and three assists per game in the Gamecocks’ breakout season under Lamont Paris.

Johnson is an aggressive, attack-oriented guard who can play on or off the ball. He shared lead ballhandling responsibilities with Ta’Lon Cooper, serving as more of a scorer than a distributor. He generated offense primarily through a combination of ball screens and spot ups, though he was also the Gamecocks’ main option when sets broke down late in the shot clock.

While Johnson generally knocks down his catch-and-shoot attempts when open and can get medium-percentage looks when necessary, I don’t think he can consistently create high-efficiency shots on his own. Johnson finished just 48.1 percent of his attempts at the rim and made just 26.2 percent of his pull-up 3s. He’d be better served as an off ball player who uses the threat of his jumper to attack closeouts and get into the teeth of the defense.

Johnson is undeniably a high-major starter who can help any number of teams. He’s proven to be an experienced, steady older hand and has played in a lot of tough games in the SEC. He may even make another all-conference team. But he has enough flaws to where his new team can’t expect its offense to thrive if he’s the main cog. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 184

Johnson struggled to find playing time in his first two seasons at Ohio State, but has blossomed into a quality high-major starting point guard at South Carolina. This season, he took another solid step forward, averaging 14.1 points, four rebounds and three assists per game in the Gamecocks’ breakout season under Lamont Paris.

Johnson is an aggressive, attack-oriented guard who can play on or off the ball. He shared lead ballhandling responsibilities with Ta’Lon Cooper, serving as more of a scorer than a distributor. He generated offense primarily through a combination of ball screens and spot ups, though he was also the Gamecocks’ main option when sets broke down late in the shot clock.

While Johnson generally knocks down his catch-and-shoot attempts when open and can get medium-percentage looks when necessary, I don’t think he can consistently create high-efficiency shots on his own. Johnson finished just 48.1 percent of his attempts at the rim and made just 26.2 percent of his pull-up 3s. He’d be better served as an off ball player who uses the threat of his jumper to attack closeouts and get into the teeth of the defense.

Johnson is undeniably a high-major starter who can help any number of teams. He’s proven to be an experienced, steady older hand and has played in a lot of tough games in the SEC. He may even make another all-conference team. But he has enough flaws to where his new team can’t expect its offense to thrive if he’s the main cog. — Sam Vecenie

Who says you can’t go home again? Johnson started his career at Ohio State and now will be returning to finish it. With Bruce Thornton, last season’s leading scorer, also returning, Ohio State may field the Big 10’s best backcourt next season. Thornton is more of a pure point guard, which allows Johnson to function in his ideal role as more of a scorer, shooter and straight-line driver.

The one downside is the Buckeyes’ backcourt figures to be a bit small. Freshman reserve Scotty Middleton, who brought size and on-ball defensive potential last season, has entered the transfer portal. Still, with a nucleus of Thornton and Johnson, Ohio State looks like a potential preseason top-25 team in Jake Diebler’s first full season in charge. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

South Carolina

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 211

Three years after transferring from Iowa State when then-coach Steve Prohm was fired, Dunbar had a big-time breakout season for the Pride in 2023-24, earning second-team All-CAA honors after averaging nearly 18 points and seven rebounds per game.

A long wing scorer, Dunbar’s shot-making will be his signature skill for a high major. Over the last two seasons, Dubar has drilled 40.1 percent of his nearly 300 3-point attempts, a terrific number for a chiseled 6-foot-7, 215-pound wing. His mechanics off the catch feature a funky load into the shooting motion from the left side, but the jumper undeniably falls. He would be an ideal floor-spacer for teams whose wings drift back and forth from the wings to the corners off the ball. While his uncommon left-side load up causes issues with his pull-up jumper, he can attack the rim on straight-line drives and is an effective finisher using his strength and balance through contact.

Dunbar made himself an even more valuable option by being especially effective in Hofstra’s games against high-major competition. He dropped 24 points on Duke while drilling seven 3s, scored 23 against St. John’s, notched 17 points against a good UNLV team, tallied 18 against a strong Princeton team and averaged 19.5 points over his two games against NCAA Tournament-bound Charleston.

He’s a high-major starter next season, and his game should scale up due to his shot-making ability. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 211

Three years after transferring from Iowa State when then-coach Steve Prohm was fired, Dunbar had a big-time breakout season for the Pride in 2023-24, earning second-team All-CAA honors after averaging nearly 18 points and seven rebounds per game.

A long wing scorer, Dunbar’s shot-making will be his signature skill for a high major. Over the last two seasons, Dubar has drilled 40.1 percent of his nearly 300 3-point attempts, a terrific number for a chiseled 6-foot-7, 215-pound wing. His mechanics off the catch feature a funky load into the shooting motion from the left side, but the jumper undeniably falls. He would be an ideal floor-spacer for teams whose wings drift back and forth from the wings to the corners off the ball. While his uncommon left-side load up causes issues with his pull-up jumper, he can attack the rim on straight-line drives and is an effective finisher using his strength and balance through contact.

Dunbar made himself an even more valuable option by being especially effective in Hofstra’s games against high-major competition. He dropped 24 points on Duke while drilling seven 3s, scored 23 against St. John’s, notched 17 points against a good UNLV team, tallied 18 against a strong Princeton team and averaged 19.5 points over his two games against NCAA Tournament-bound Charleston.

He’s a high-major starter next season, and his game should scale up due to his shot-making ability. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Hofstra

Tennessee Volunteers

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185

Pegues, a hero of Furman’s upset of Virginia in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, took another leap forward this season. Last season’s Southern Conference Tournament MVP made the All-Tournament team again this season after earning first-team All-SoCon honors while averaging 18.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game with better than a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He showed an ability to succeed against higher-level competition, playing well in games against Belmont, Liberty, Wyoming, Arkansas and Tulane this season,

Pegues’ improvement in ball screens makes him a more valuable player in the portal. He took on more primary shot creation duties within Furman’s five-out, Princeton-inspired offense that often uses its bigs to playmake from the top of the key. He’s always been a sharp cutter in those situations, as well as a good spot-up shooter from 3. However, Pegues thrived most this season running off screens, becoming one of the toughest guards in the conference thanks to his ability to pull-up from range with simple mechanics. Furman’s offense has fairly specific reads that allowed him to make easy decisions, but I also thought he made less obvious sharp passing reads while limiting his turnovers where he could.

If he can scale his game to a higher level, Pegues is a multi-faceted playmaker who could end up starting for a team in need of a point guard. Clemson, also in South Carolina, runs an offensive scheme that makes a lot of sense for Pegues’ game. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185

Pegues, a hero of Furman’s upset of Virginia in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, took another leap forward this season. Last season’s Southern Conference Tournament MVP made the All-Tournament team again this season after earning first-team All-SoCon honors while averaging 18.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game with better than a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He showed an ability to succeed against higher-level competition, playing well in games against Belmont, Liberty, Wyoming, Arkansas and Tulane this season,

Pegues’ improvement in ball screens makes him a more valuable player in the portal. He took on more primary shot creation duties within Furman’s five-out, Princeton-inspired offense that often uses its bigs to playmake from the top of the key. He’s always been a sharp cutter in those situations, as well as a good spot-up shooter from 3. However, Pegues thrived most this season running off screens, becoming one of the toughest guards in the conference thanks to his ability to pull-up from range with simple mechanics. Furman’s offense has fairly specific reads that allowed him to make easy decisions, but I also thought he made less obvious sharp passing reads while limiting his turnovers where he could.

If he can scale his game to a higher level, Pegues is a multi-faceted playmaker who could end up starting for a team in need of a point guard. Clemson, also in South Carolina, runs an offensive scheme that makes a lot of sense for Pegues’ game. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Furman

Auburn Tigers

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 225

Miličić was originally seen as a big get for Virginia after playing well for the youth team of German pro club Ratiopharm Ulm, but it didn’t work out for him in Charlottesville. He transferred to Charlotte to play for former Virginia assistant Ron Sanchez, and after entering the starting lineup midway through his sophomore season, he grew into the team’s most dangerous player as a junior under new coach Aaron Fearne.

A third-team all-AAC honoree this season, Miličić is about as multi-skilled of a college 4 as one can find at his level. His counting numbers — 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game — were depressed by Charlotte being one of the 10 slowest-paced teams in the country. He can play with or without the ball, as Charlotte used him in all sorts of perimeter actions as either the screener and/or the ballhandler. He can run off screens to shoot from distance, or he can instinctively cut backdoor for easy shots at the rim. Overall, Miličić drilled 147 3s at a 38.1 percent clip, firing effectively in spot-up situations, off direct actions and when relocating off the bounce when opponents closed out. Put it all together, and Miličić is an exceedingly smart, mobile, skilled offensive big.

Though not known for his defense, he’s hardly a sieve. He is okay at protecting the rim from the opposite side and didn’t get toasted in individual matchups or when defending pick-and-roll in the AAC.

He’s a high-major starter who could make an impact on a good team next season. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 225

Miličić was originally seen as a big get for Virginia after playing well for the youth team of German pro club Ratiopharm Ulm, but it didn’t work out for him in Charlottesville. He transferred to Charlotte to play for former Virginia assistant Ron Sanchez, and after entering the starting lineup midway through his sophomore season, he grew into the team’s most dangerous player as a junior under new coach Aaron Fearne.

A third-team all-AAC honoree this season, Miličić is about as multi-skilled of a college 4 as one can find at his level. His counting numbers — 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game — were depressed by Charlotte being one of the 10 slowest-paced teams in the country. He can play with or without the ball, as Charlotte used him in all sorts of perimeter actions as either the screener and/or the ballhandler. He can run off screens to shoot from distance, or he can instinctively cut backdoor for easy shots at the rim. Overall, Miličić drilled 147 3s at a 38.1 percent clip, firing effectively in spot-up situations, off direct actions and when relocating off the bounce when opponents closed out. Put it all together, and Miličić is an exceedingly smart, mobile, skilled offensive big.

Though not known for his defense, he’s hardly a sieve. He is okay at protecting the rim from the opposite side and didn’t get toasted in individual matchups or when defending pick-and-roll in the AAC.

He’s a high-major starter who could make an impact on a good team next season. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Charlotte

Tennessee Volunteers

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 217

Fidler was one of the best-kept secrets in the country this year. A skilled scorer at Omaha with size, shooting ability and a tight handle that allowed him to attack defenses in diverse ways, Fidler averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season while shooting 45 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from 3, and 85.4 percent from the line. A three-year starter, he’s one of those guys who has improved incrementally every season.

When Fidler has the ball, he prefers to get into the midrange areas or drive at the Summit League level, as opposed to settling for 3s. But I especially love the way he moves without the ball and shoots off that movement. Omaha regularly started him on the left side of the court before running him off a variety of screens — mostly pindowns into curls, with some flare actions as counters — into zoom dribble hand-off actions to get him loose. He can execute some ball-screen sets himself and also attacks heavy closeouts well. His touch is superb across all three levels, with a nice floater game, strong catch-and-shoot proficiency and an ability to fire from distance. He’s not a wild athlete, and his pull-up jumper wasn’t quite effective enough this season to imagine him as a dynamic on-ball scorer at the high-major level.

Still, Fidler is a no-doubt starter-quality player at the highest level of college hoops, with some upside to be more. It’s easy to envision him upping his 3-point rate and becoming an effective hybrid wing/forward in the right scheme. For example, the Nebraska native could slot into Greg McDermott’s Creighton scheme like Baylor Scheierman did two seasons ago when transferring from the Summit League.

— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 217

Fidler was one of the best-kept secrets in the country this year. A skilled scorer at Omaha with size, shooting ability and a tight handle that allowed him to attack defenses in diverse ways, Fidler averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season while shooting 45 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from 3, and 85.4 percent from the line. A three-year starter, he’s one of those guys who has improved incrementally every season.

When Fidler has the ball, he prefers to get into the midrange areas or drive at the Summit League level, as opposed to settling for 3s. But I especially love the way he moves without the ball and shoots off that movement. Omaha regularly started him on the left side of the court before running him off a variety of screens — mostly pindowns into curls, with some flare actions as counters — into zoom dribble hand-off actions to get him loose. He can execute some ball-screen sets himself and also attacks heavy closeouts well. His touch is superb across all three levels, with a nice floater game, strong catch-and-shoot proficiency and an ability to fire from distance. He’s not a wild athlete, and his pull-up jumper wasn’t quite effective enough this season to imagine him as a dynamic on-ball scorer at the high-major level.

Still, Fidler is a no-doubt starter-quality player at the highest level of college hoops, with some upside to be more. It’s easy to envision him upping his 3-point rate and becoming an effective hybrid wing/forward in the right scheme. For example, the Nebraska native could slot into Greg McDermott’s Creighton scheme like Baylor Scheierman did two seasons ago when transferring from the Summit League.

— Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Omaha

Michigan State Spartans

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 228

Townsend is a bruiser with some skill and impressive production. He averaged 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in leading Oakland to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Townsend is a power forward who is strong enough to play some small-ball center. He operates a lot from the elbows and the mid-post, where likes to bully his way to the basket. He’s smart once he gets there, playing off two feet and using shot fakes or a shoulder to the chest to create space to score. He struggles some to finish over length, which we saw in Oakland’s second-round NCAA Tournament loss to NC State when he went for 30 points, but was just 9-of-22 inside the arc. He rarely shoots from outside the paint; he made 12 3s all season — two of which were against the Wolfpack — and has shot just 31.4 percent for his career.

His body type and productivity is reminiscent of former Harvard star Chris Ledlum, who averaged 18.8 points in his final season at Harvard and saw his average cut in half at St. John’s when he transferred up. Townsend could fit in the right system, much like Kansas’ K.J. Adams. Ideally, Townsend’s new team would pair him with a center who can shoot. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 228

Townsend is a bruiser with some skill and impressive production. He averaged 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in leading Oakland to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Townsend is a power forward who is strong enough to play some small-ball center. He operates a lot from the elbows and the mid-post, where likes to bully his way to the basket. He’s smart once he gets there, playing off two feet and using shot fakes or a shoulder to the chest to create space to score. He struggles some to finish over length, which we saw in Oakland’s second-round NCAA Tournament loss to NC State when he went for 30 points, but was just 9-of-22 inside the arc. He rarely shoots from outside the paint; he made 12 3s all season — two of which were against the Wolfpack — and has shot just 31.4 percent for his career.

His body type and productivity is reminiscent of former Harvard star Chris Ledlum, who averaged 18.8 points in his final season at Harvard and saw his average cut in half at St. John’s when he transferred up. Townsend could fit in the right system, much like Kansas’ K.J. Adams. Ideally, Townsend’s new team would pair him with a center who can shoot. — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

Miami (Fla.)

Arizona Wildcats

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

Bilodeau is one of the best shooting bigs in the portal. He averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot 35.3 percent from 3 and made 59.6 percent of his 2s. He is a gifted scorer who can make a catch-and-shoot jumper, put it on the floor and get to the mid-range or score around the basket from the post.
Oregon State played some bigger lineups so he spent most of his time at the two forward spots, but he’s big enough to also play center. He’s a great addition for a UCLA team that needed shooting and offense. This is the type of skilled big the Bruins were after last year when they tried the overseas route. Playing against Bilodeau in the Pac-12, they know what they’re getting.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

Bilodeau is one of the best shooting bigs in the portal. He averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot 35.3 percent from 3 and made 59.6 percent of his 2s. He is a gifted scorer who can make a catch-and-shoot jumper, put it on the floor and get to the mid-range or score around the basket from the post.
Oregon State played some bigger lineups so he spent most of his time at the two forward spots, but he’s big enough to also play center. He’s a great addition for a UCLA team that needed shooting and offense. This is the type of skilled big the Bruins were after last year when they tried the overseas route. Playing against Bilodeau in the Pac-12, they know what they’re getting.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

South Florida

UCLA Bruins

Ht: 6-10Wt: 210

Pryor played a big role in South Florida winning the American. The Bulls were 2-4 when Amir Abdur-Rahim inserted Pryor into the starting lineup and went to a five-out attack. South Florida won 21 of its next 22 games. Pryor can make some wild decisions, but his talent is real. He handles the ball so well that South Florida would even have him bring the ball up the floor and occasionally set a ball screen for him. He is one of the fastest players his size in the country, and he uses his speed to his advantage when he pulls more traditional bigs out onto the perimeter. His shot looks legit, and he made 35.2 percent of his 3s this season. Because he’s such a tough matchup and plays so aggressively with the ball in his hands, he had a high free-throw rate (50.2) and made 81.4 percent of his free throws at USF.

Pryor was a surprise considering his history. He spent two years at Boise State and rode the bench, then transferred to Northwest Florida State for one season of junior college ball. His versatility will make him a popular man in the portal because he’s switchable on defense, can play either big man spot and is the type of playmaking center that unlocks five-out offense. Has the type of size and skill that there’s even some pro potential if he can refine his game in his final college season, which is wild considering he couldn’t get off the bench at Boise State.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-10Wt: 210

Pryor played a big role in South Florida winning the American. The Bulls were 2-4 when Amir Abdur-Rahim inserted Pryor into the starting lineup and went to a five-out attack. South Florida won 21 of its next 22 games. Pryor can make some wild decisions, but his talent is real. He handles the ball so well that South Florida would even have him bring the ball up the floor and occasionally set a ball screen for him. He is one of the fastest players his size in the country, and he uses his speed to his advantage when he pulls more traditional bigs out onto the perimeter. His shot looks legit, and he made 35.2 percent of his 3s this season. Because he’s such a tough matchup and plays so aggressively with the ball in his hands, he had a high free-throw rate (50.2) and made 81.4 percent of his free throws at USF.

Pryor was a surprise considering his history. He spent two years at Boise State and rode the bench, then transferred to Northwest Florida State for one season of junior college ball. His versatility will make him a popular man in the portal because he’s switchable on defense, can play either big man spot and is the type of playmaking center that unlocks five-out offense. Has the type of size and skill that there’s even some pro potential if he can refine his game in his final college season, which is wild considering he couldn’t get off the bench at Boise State.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 190

The son of former NBA All-Star Peja Stojaković, Andrej was a McDonald’s All-American and an enormous get for Stanford. Much like the rest of the team, his season was hit or miss. He started strongly, averaging about 10 points per game while shooting 38 percent from 3 over his first 12 games. But he hit a freshman wall over his next 10 games in the Pac-12, averaging just six points per game while never getting into double-figures and shooting just 36 percent from the field. He showed some flashes late with impressive games against Utah and USC, but overall, his first collegiate season didn’t go according to plan.

Touted as a terrific shooter like his father, Stojaković made just 32.7 percent of his 3-point attempts last season. He has great touch and moves well off the ball, but at just 190 pounds, his frame didn’t look ready for high-major hoops last season. He needs to get in the weight room and become more capable of dealing with physicality. It would behoove him to go somewhere with a creative offensive scheme that flies its wings off screening actions and gives them off-ball options based on the defense’s coverages. Stojaković is smart and has a good feel for the game. He projects as a high-level scoring wing and floor-spacer wherever he ends up. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 190

The son of former NBA All-Star Peja Stojaković, Andrej was a McDonald’s All-American and an enormous get for Stanford. Much like the rest of the team, his season was hit or miss. He started strongly, averaging about 10 points per game while shooting 38 percent from 3 over his first 12 games. But he hit a freshman wall over his next 10 games in the Pac-12, averaging just six points per game while never getting into double-figures and shooting just 36 percent from the field. He showed some flashes late with impressive games against Utah and USC, but overall, his first collegiate season didn’t go according to plan.

Touted as a terrific shooter like his father, Stojaković made just 32.7 percent of his 3-point attempts last season. He has great touch and moves well off the ball, but at just 190 pounds, his frame didn’t look ready for high-major hoops last season. He needs to get in the weight room and become more capable of dealing with physicality. It would behoove him to go somewhere with a creative offensive scheme that flies its wings off screening actions and gives them off-ball options based on the defense’s coverages. Stojaković is smart and has a good feel for the game. He projects as a high-level scoring wing and floor-spacer wherever he ends up. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Stanford

California Golden Bears

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 265

It’s hard to find elite defensive big men in the transfer portal, so teams looking for one will be excited to see Williams, the three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year who also won first-team All-CAA honors the past two seasons.

The British native, who boasts one of the longest wingspan in the country at 7-foot-5, is the epitome of a rim protector. He’s tremendous in drop coverage, backpedaling well and extending his arms out to take up space in the paint. Yet he also moves incredibly well for a 260-pound player, so he is capable of coming up to the level of a ball screen or even switching and staying with smaller players for a couple of slides. His rotations from the opposite side of the floor are sharp, too.

His offensive game is serviceable, though a bit limited. He can play out high in ball-screen and dribble-handoff situations. He’s an aggressive offensive rebounder and can occasionally grab-and-go on the fast break in the right situation. But while he’s comfortable shooting a lefty hook shot on the block, I’m skeptical his post-up game will translate to a high-major level.

Still, I think Williams can play at an all-conference level at a high major and wouldn’t be stunned if he gets NBA looks once he turns pro due to his defense. He’s a no-brainer for a number of schools. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 265

It’s hard to find elite defensive big men in the transfer portal, so teams looking for one will be excited to see Williams, the three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year who also won first-team All-CAA honors the past two seasons.

The British native, who boasts one of the longest wingspan in the country at 7-foot-5, is the epitome of a rim protector. He’s tremendous in drop coverage, backpedaling well and extending his arms out to take up space in the paint. Yet he also moves incredibly well for a 260-pound player, so he is capable of coming up to the level of a ball screen or even switching and staying with smaller players for a couple of slides. His rotations from the opposite side of the floor are sharp, too.

His offensive game is serviceable, though a bit limited. He can play out high in ball-screen and dribble-handoff situations. He’s an aggressive offensive rebounder and can occasionally grab-and-go on the fast break in the right situation. But while he’s comfortable shooting a lefty hook shot on the block, I’m skeptical his post-up game will translate to a high-major level.

Still, I think Williams can play at an all-conference level at a high major and wouldn’t be stunned if he gets NBA looks once he turns pro due to his defense. He’s a no-brainer for a number of schools. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Drexel

Kentucky Wildcats

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 193

Uzan got some NBA buzz before the season, and the thought was he could propel himself into the 2024 draft with a good performance. By that measure, he had a slightly disappointing sophomore season. He averaged 11.3 points and 5.6 assists per game last season, but the biggest worry is his shooting. After hitting 40.8 percent from 3 on a low volume as a freshman, his 3-point percentage dropped to 29.6 this season. His stroke looks solid, so there’s some hope that part of his game can improve.

Uzan’s size and vision are his defining attributes. He can make all the pick-and-roll reads and is strong going both left and right. He’s not a dynamic scorer, lacks blow-by speed, has struggled finishing at the rim (46 percent last season, per Synergy) and doesn’t get to the free throw line often, but he’s enough of a threat to keep defenses honest. Defensively, he has a knack for forcing turnovers, averaging 1.5 steals per game.

Uzan fits best next to a scoring combo guard who would allow him to run the offense and focus more on setting up his teammates. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 193

Uzan got some NBA buzz before the season, and the thought was he could propel himself into the 2024 draft with a good performance. By that measure, he had a slightly disappointing sophomore season. He averaged 11.3 points and 5.6 assists per game last season, but the biggest worry is his shooting. After hitting 40.8 percent from 3 on a low volume as a freshman, his 3-point percentage dropped to 29.6 this season. His stroke looks solid, so there’s some hope that part of his game can improve.

Uzan’s size and vision are his defining attributes. He can make all the pick-and-roll reads and is strong going both left and right. He’s not a dynamic scorer, lacks blow-by speed, has struggled finishing at the rim (46 percent last season, per Synergy) and doesn’t get to the free throw line often, but he’s enough of a threat to keep defenses honest. Defensively, he has a knack for forcing turnovers, averaging 1.5 steals per game.

Uzan fits best next to a scoring combo guard who would allow him to run the offense and focus more on setting up his teammates. — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Miami (Fla.)

Houston Cougars

Ht: 7-2Wt: 230

Ivisic quickly followed John Calipari to Arkansas, which is a good fit if Calipari tries to copy the offense he ran this past year at Kentucky and Ivisic makes it possible for him to do so. The big Croatian dazzled in his debut this season when he had 13 points, two assists, five rebounds, three blocks, two steals and made three 3s in a Jan. 20 win against Georgia. Ivisic had only three other games that came close to that kind of production, but the glimpses of what he could be sure were fun. Ivisic has the kind of skill that makes the imagination run wild. He can really pass — he even threw a behind-the-back dart for a 3 in his debut — and then he can shoot 3s, making 6-of-16 on the year. Whether the shooting is real or not could determine whether he becomes a star or not, because if it is, then his ceiling as a scorer is fairly high.

Like all of UK’s freshmen, Ivisic is not as far in his development as a defender and that’s where the speed of the game was a challenge. He’s slow-footed and can get picked on in ball-screen situations. But he does have upside as a rim protector. If he gets stronger and learns how to defend better in space, he could really turn into something. It was a big win for Calipari to get him to follow.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 7-2Wt: 230

Ivisic quickly followed John Calipari to Arkansas, which is a good fit if Calipari tries to copy the offense he ran this past year at Kentucky and Ivisic makes it possible for him to do so. The big Croatian dazzled in his debut this season when he had 13 points, two assists, five rebounds, three blocks, two steals and made three 3s in a Jan. 20 win against Georgia. Ivisic had only three other games that came close to that kind of production, but the glimpses of what he could be sure were fun. Ivisic has the kind of skill that makes the imagination run wild. He can really pass — he even threw a behind-the-back dart for a 3 in his debut — and then he can shoot 3s, making 6-of-16 on the year. Whether the shooting is real or not could determine whether he becomes a star or not, because if it is, then his ceiling as a scorer is fairly high.

Like all of UK’s freshmen, Ivisic is not as far in his development as a defender and that’s where the speed of the game was a challenge. He’s slow-footed and can get picked on in ball-screen situations. But he does have upside as a rim protector. If he gets stronger and learns how to defend better in space, he could really turn into something. It was a big win for Calipari to get him to follow.  — C.J. Moore 

Center

Committed

South Florida

Arkansas Razorbacks

Ht: 6-4Wt: 205

Perkins is a two-year starter at Iowa who has averaged double figures in each of the last two seasons. The equation with him is simple: He’s a physical, big guard who wants to pressure the defense and use his 210-pound frame to put his shoulder into opponents while attacking the paint. He will attack in transition when the opportunity presents itself, but is also experienced enough to know when to slow down and get into the midrange, where he loves to stop and pop or take quick floaters.

More importantly, though, Perkins took a leap this year as a passer and decision-maker. His ability to slow down and hold defenders on his hip really played up, and he became more capable at forcing help and then finding his teammates on rolls or dump-off passes. He rarely turns it over as an older player, with well over a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. All told, Perkins averaged 14 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists this year while also grabbing 1.6 steals, strong numbers in a difficult league. He also improved as a catch-and-shoot player, making 37 percent of those chances, per Synergy.

Perkins can be hit or miss on the defensive end, and his close to the season was rough — he averaged just 10 points on 31 percent from the field over his last 10 games. Still, he is an obvious high-major player and starter at all but the top programs next year. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4Wt: 205

Perkins is a two-year starter at Iowa who has averaged double figures in each of the last two seasons. The equation with him is simple: He’s a physical, big guard who wants to pressure the defense and use his 210-pound frame to put his shoulder into opponents while attacking the paint. He will attack in transition when the opportunity presents itself, but is also experienced enough to know when to slow down and get into the midrange, where he loves to stop and pop or take quick floaters.

More importantly, though, Perkins took a leap this year as a passer and decision-maker. His ability to slow down and hold defenders on his hip really played up, and he became more capable at forcing help and then finding his teammates on rolls or dump-off passes. He rarely turns it over as an older player, with well over a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. All told, Perkins averaged 14 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists this year while also grabbing 1.6 steals, strong numbers in a difficult league. He also improved as a catch-and-shoot player, making 37 percent of those chances, per Synergy.

Perkins can be hit or miss on the defensive end, and his close to the season was rough — he averaged just 10 points on 31 percent from the field over his last 10 games. Still, he is an obvious high-major player and starter at all but the top programs next year. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Iowa

Missouri Tigers

Ht: 6-4Wt: 190

Wagner was one of the top-rated guards in the 2023 class but did not live up to the hype as a freshman, averaging 9.9 points and 3.3 assists per game and shooting 29.2 percent from 3. Plus-minus numbers are not always the most reliable, but his were noticeably bad. Kentucky allowed 113.2 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor and was 25 points per 100 possessions better when Wagner went to the bench, per CBB Analytics.

There’s still some hope Wagner can become a really good college player. He’s at his best when he’s looking to set up teammates. The handle and vision are his strongest attributes. He can drive either direction and favors going left even though he’s a right-handed player. He forces some tough runners and shots at the rim that hurt his efficiency, but the burst is there to get to the rim and put the defense in rotations. He was better when he drove to pass than when he drove looking to score.

His jump shot is streaky and his mechanics could use some work. He holds the ball out away from his body and then pulls it back. It’s almost like a slingshot and it doesn’t have much arc. Defensively, a lot of his issues are off the ball. He’s out of position too often and playing catchup. The Wildcats were bad as a team and many of their guys just need seasoning. Wagner just needs to get in the right system where he’ll be developed and coached.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 190

Wagner was one of the top-rated guards in the 2023 class but did not live up to the hype as a freshman, averaging 9.9 points and 3.3 assists per game and shooting 29.2 percent from 3. Plus-minus numbers are not always the most reliable, but his were noticeably bad. Kentucky allowed 113.2 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor and was 25 points per 100 possessions better when Wagner went to the bench, per CBB Analytics.

There’s still some hope Wagner can become a really good college player. He’s at his best when he’s looking to set up teammates. The handle and vision are his strongest attributes. He can drive either direction and favors going left even though he’s a right-handed player. He forces some tough runners and shots at the rim that hurt his efficiency, but the burst is there to get to the rim and put the defense in rotations. He was better when he drove to pass than when he drove looking to score.

His jump shot is streaky and his mechanics could use some work. He holds the ball out away from his body and then pulls it back. It’s almost like a slingshot and it doesn’t have much arc. Defensively, a lot of his issues are off the ball. He’s out of position too often and playing catchup. The Wildcats were bad as a team and many of their guys just need seasoning. Wagner just needs to get in the right system where he’ll be developed and coached.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-3Wt: 195

Small has put up good numbers on bad teams the last two seasons. He started his career at East Carolina and then spent last season at Oklahoma State, where he averaged 15.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’s a power guard who can create his own shot. It had to do that a lot at Oklahoma State, where he didn’t have a lot of help. He’s a career 34.7 percent 3-point shooter but shot a career-best 37.4 percent as a Cowboy from deep. That’s promising, given that he didn’t play on a team where he was getting set up for many good shots.

Athletically, Small is one of the best guards in the portal. He’s able to rebound and is built like a football player. His finishing numbers at the rim were not good, but he does hunt contact and get to the free-throw line often. He made 110 free throws this season at an 86.6 percent clip. Small is turnover prone — 3.1 turnovers for the Cowboys — and has always had a high turnover rate. But it didn’t help that he was playing for a young team without a ton of offensive flow. The Cowboys were 13.3 points per 100 possessions better offensively with him on the floor, per CBB Analytics, so there’s hope that he can make a good team even better and that his stats are just not empty calories.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-3Wt: 195

Small has put up good numbers on bad teams the last two seasons. He started his career at East Carolina and then spent last season at Oklahoma State, where he averaged 15.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’s a power guard who can create his own shot. It had to do that a lot at Oklahoma State, where he didn’t have a lot of help. He’s a career 34.7 percent 3-point shooter but shot a career-best 37.4 percent as a Cowboy from deep. That’s promising, given that he didn’t play on a team where he was getting set up for many good shots.

Athletically, Small is one of the best guards in the portal. He’s able to rebound and is built like a football player. His finishing numbers at the rim were not good, but he does hunt contact and get to the free-throw line often. He made 110 free throws this season at an 86.6 percent clip. Small is turnover prone — 3.1 turnovers for the Cowboys — and has always had a high turnover rate. But it didn’t help that he was playing for a young team without a ton of offensive flow. The Cowboys were 13.3 points per 100 possessions better offensively with him on the floor, per CBB Analytics, so there’s hope that he can make a good team even better and that his stats are just not empty calories.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In portal

Oklahoma State

Ht: 6-2Wt: 205

The Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year is one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball. Butler is the prototypical Aztec. He plays in-your-face, physical defense. He’s aware off the ball and will fight through screens. He’s terrific on the ball and even when he gets beat, he’ll fight to get back in the play. Offensively, Butler is best as a slasher. He has a burst that allows him to blow by defenders. He’s a capable 3-point shooter — 31 percent this past year — but he’s better inside the arc. He can hit a pull-up mid-ranger, as he did to beat Florida Atlantic in the 2023 Final Four. He can play either guard spot and would be best on a team that has scorers where he can just blend in offensively and then be the stopper defensively.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-2Wt: 205

The Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year is one of the best perimeter defenders in college basketball. Butler is the prototypical Aztec. He plays in-your-face, physical defense. He’s aware off the ball and will fight through screens. He’s terrific on the ball and even when he gets beat, he’ll fight to get back in the play. Offensively, Butler is best as a slasher. He has a burst that allows him to blow by defenders. He’s a capable 3-point shooter — 31 percent this past year — but he’s better inside the arc. He can hit a pull-up mid-ranger, as he did to beat Florida Atlantic in the 2023 Final Four. He can play either guard spot and would be best on a team that has scorers where he can just blend in offensively and then be the stopper defensively.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

South Florida

Kentucky Wildcats

Ht: 6-7Wt: 190

White is one of the top wing scorers in the portal. He’s best getting to the paint and drawing fouls — he draws 7.3 fouls per 40 minutes, which ranks 11th nationally. He gets there either driving from the perimeter or working from the mid-post and backing his man down. He looks for contact and is demonstrative in making sure officials know there was contact. White is solid in catch-and-shoot situations. He made 39 percent from 3 this year. He’s not as good off the bounce and has a tendency to lean back on his mid-range jumpers. It helps him get those shots off but the mechanics are shaky.
It’s hard to argue with the production. The All-CAA forward averaged 19.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.5 turnovers per game. He’s performed against high-majors too. He scored 27 points and had 10 rebounds in an upset win over Kentucky and followed that up with 28 points in a loss at Arkansas. He also scored 19 points against both North Carolina and Oklahoma in 2022-23. He is turnover-prone because he’s so aggressive and can struggle with more physical defenders who can push him off his spot, but that’s when he can rely on his speed.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-7Wt: 190

White is one of the top wing scorers in the portal. He’s best getting to the paint and drawing fouls — he draws 7.3 fouls per 40 minutes, which ranks 11th nationally. He gets there either driving from the perimeter or working from the mid-post and backing his man down. He looks for contact and is demonstrative in making sure officials know there was contact. White is solid in catch-and-shoot situations. He made 39 percent from 3 this year. He’s not as good off the bounce and has a tendency to lean back on his mid-range jumpers. It helps him get those shots off but the mechanics are shaky.
It’s hard to argue with the production. The All-CAA forward averaged 19.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.5 turnovers per game. He’s performed against high-majors too. He scored 27 points and had 10 rebounds in an upset win over Kentucky and followed that up with 28 points in a loss at Arkansas. He also scored 19 points against both North Carolina and Oklahoma in 2022-23. He is turnover-prone because he’s so aggressive and can struggle with more physical defenders who can push him off his spot, but that’s when he can rely on his speed.
 — C.J. Moore 

Forward

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 210

A graduate transfer, Johnson has an intriguing game that should allow him to successfully move up a level or two. Johnson averaged 14 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season to go with 1.7 steals.

Johnson’s best skill is his ability to shoot from long range at a high volume. He drilled 36.5 percent of his nearly six 3-point attempts per game, with a number of them coming from beyond the NBA line. His mechanics are clean and pure for someone his size, whether shooting as a  trailer in transition, in spot-up situations or when running pick-and-pop actions.

Most of his offense inside the arc came on the block, where Johnson poured in turnaround jumpers while repeatedly drawing fouls on drop steps. It’s hard to find players with genuine size who can score inside and step away and shoot this fluidly from the perimeter.

Throw in the fact that he rebounds well, is at least positionally aware on defense and can generate steals in passing lanes, and Johnson should be in high demand. You may not have heard about him because he played for East Carolina, but high-major teams certainly have. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 210

A graduate transfer, Johnson has an intriguing game that should allow him to successfully move up a level or two. Johnson averaged 14 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season to go with 1.7 steals.

Johnson’s best skill is his ability to shoot from long range at a high volume. He drilled 36.5 percent of his nearly six 3-point attempts per game, with a number of them coming from beyond the NBA line. His mechanics are clean and pure for someone his size, whether shooting as a  trailer in transition, in spot-up situations or when running pick-and-pop actions.

Most of his offense inside the arc came on the block, where Johnson poured in turnaround jumpers while repeatedly drawing fouls on drop steps. It’s hard to find players with genuine size who can score inside and step away and shoot this fluidly from the perimeter.

Throw in the fact that he rebounds well, is at least positionally aware on defense and can generate steals in passing lanes, and Johnson should be in high demand. You may not have heard about him because he played for East Carolina, but high-major teams certainly have. — Sam Vecenie

Like Norchad Omier, Miami’s center of the last two seasons, Kidd does nearly all of his work around the rim. The difference is he’s bigger and more athletic. Whereas Omier uses his frame to carve out space, Kidd deploys length to finish. Kidd is also a bit better as a ball-screen rim-runner, which could signal Miami’s desire to change its offensive style — although Kidd did show comfort as a post finisher, too.

The big question with Kidd’s addition is whether Omier will be back. The starting center on a Final Four team and two-time All-ACC pick would likely start ahead of Kidd, but I don’t see how they’d play much together unless Omier drastically improves his perimeter shot. Also, it’s hard to believe Kidd would commit this early just to be a backup.

Regardless, the additions of Kidd and Brandon Johnson significantly upgrade Miami’s interior depth. If Omier returns, they could form one of the better big man trios in the country. If he doesn’t, the Hurricanes may need to find another playable big man. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

East Carolina

Miami Hurricanes

Ht: 6-8Wt: 228

Godfrey could be a steal for someone because his numbers aren’t going to get him noticed. He averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game. That’s a result of backing up P.J. Hall and Ian Schieffelin. Godfrey is a high-major starter-level talent. He’s an old-school four man. Most of his buckets come in tight. His father played 11 years in the NFL as a linebacker, and Godfrey benefitted from those genetics. He is strong and does a good job creating angles for post entries, then once he has the ball, he uses his shoulders to create space. He has a good feel with his back to the basket for which way to spin based on where his defender is. He scored 1.046 points per post-up, according to Synergy’s logging, which ranked 65th nationally among players who finished at least 50 post-ups.

Godfrey is a quick-twitch athlete who moves really well for his build and can rebound outside of his area. He’s quick off the floor and has the chance to be an elite rim roller. His physicality allows him to play up if necessary as a small-ball five. Clemson also played him some at the three, and he handles and passes the ball well enough to play the wing in short spurts. He’s a capable 3-point shooter but rarely takes any — 3 of 7 on the year. If he gets to the point where he’s more of a 3-point threat, he would benefit because he has a strong first step, especially if he’s guarded by a bigger player.Defensively, Godfrey is a really good team defender and Clemson’s defensive numbers were better when he was on the floor. He has good awareness off the ball and seems to communicate well. He’s a little awkward when switched onto guards on the perimeter, but he has the lateral quickness to slide his feet and stay in front. In the post, you aren’t moving him. He’s going to hold his ground and contest. His block rate (4.5) is good for a 6-8 forward. Godfrey was a solid contributor on a team that made the Elite Eight. He had 12 points in the Elite Eight loss to Alabama, proving he can perform on a big stage. Again, the numbers do not pop but the tape does.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-8Wt: 228

Godfrey could be a steal for someone because his numbers aren’t going to get him noticed. He averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game. That’s a result of backing up P.J. Hall and Ian Schieffelin. Godfrey is a high-major starter-level talent. He’s an old-school four man. Most of his buckets come in tight. His father played 11 years in the NFL as a linebacker, and Godfrey benefitted from those genetics. He is strong and does a good job creating angles for post entries, then once he has the ball, he uses his shoulders to create space. He has a good feel with his back to the basket for which way to spin based on where his defender is. He scored 1.046 points per post-up, according to Synergy’s logging, which ranked 65th nationally among players who finished at least 50 post-ups.

Godfrey is a quick-twitch athlete who moves really well for his build and can rebound outside of his area. He’s quick off the floor and has the chance to be an elite rim roller. His physicality allows him to play up if necessary as a small-ball five. Clemson also played him some at the three, and he handles and passes the ball well enough to play the wing in short spurts. He’s a capable 3-point shooter but rarely takes any — 3 of 7 on the year. If he gets to the point where he’s more of a 3-point threat, he would benefit because he has a strong first step, especially if he’s guarded by a bigger player.Defensively, Godfrey is a really good team defender and Clemson’s defensive numbers were better when he was on the floor. He has good awareness off the ball and seems to communicate well. He’s a little awkward when switched onto guards on the perimeter, but he has the lateral quickness to slide his feet and stay in front. In the post, you aren’t moving him. He’s going to hold his ground and contest. His block rate (4.5) is good for a 6-8 forward. Godfrey was a solid contributor on a team that made the Elite Eight. He had 12 points in the Elite Eight loss to Alabama, proving he can perform on a big stage. Again, the numbers do not pop but the tape does.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-11Wt: 235

Tennessee landed the perfect replacement for Jonas Aidoo. Okpara should help the Vols stay elite on the defensive end. He is one of the best rim protectors in the portal. He averaged 2.4 blocks per game and ranked 18th nationally in block rate. He’s long and quick off the floor. Okpara also plays above the rim on offense. He does a good job getting out of ball screens quickly and putting pressure on the rim, and he can go up high to catch lobs. He’s also capable of being an outlet on the perimeter and being part of dribble handoffs. He hasn’t shown an ability to make a perimeter jumper, but he did try six 3-pointers this season — he missed all six. He was at his best near the end of the season, averaging 13.7 points in three NIT games. He averaged 6.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the season.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-11Wt: 235

Tennessee landed the perfect replacement for Jonas Aidoo. Okpara should help the Vols stay elite on the defensive end. He is one of the best rim protectors in the portal. He averaged 2.4 blocks per game and ranked 18th nationally in block rate. He’s long and quick off the floor. Okpara also plays above the rim on offense. He does a good job getting out of ball screens quickly and putting pressure on the rim, and he can go up high to catch lobs. He’s also capable of being an outlet on the perimeter and being part of dribble handoffs. He hasn’t shown an ability to make a perimeter jumper, but he did try six 3-pointers this season — he missed all six. He was at his best near the end of the season, averaging 13.7 points in three NIT games. He averaged 6.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the season.
 — C.J. Moore 

Center

Committed

South Florida

Tennessee Volunteers

Ht: 6-9Wt: 225

Stewart is intriguing as someone who could potentially become a playmaking five. At Duke, he was just barely in the rotation — averaging 8.3 minutes per game — and was used mostly in the dunker spot or as a rim roller. Stewart is one of the best leapers in the sport. If he gets it close to the rim, he’s going up strong with two hands and going to try to dunk the ball. He reminds me some of Kansas forward KJ Adams. Adams is at his best in the short roll. If the defense gives him a lane, he’ll put pressure on the rim. If the tag comes, he can read it and pass to the open man. This is the part that is the unknown with Stewart because we haven’t seen it, but the build and athleticism is similar to Adams and Stewart is three inches taller. Also similar to Adams, he has a one-handed push shot that he can make once he gets inside 10 feet.

The advanced numbers are promising. Stewart had a 19.4 offensive rebounding rate, which would have ranked third nationally at KenPom if he’d played enough minutes to qualify. His 24.4 percent defensive rebounding rate would have ranked tied for 62nd. He also had a solid block rate (6.2), which would have been just outside the top 100. At worst, Stewart is an energy guy who rebounds, defends and dunks. But with three years of eligibility left, there’s upside for him to eventually become much more.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-9Wt: 225

Stewart is intriguing as someone who could potentially become a playmaking five. At Duke, he was just barely in the rotation — averaging 8.3 minutes per game — and was used mostly in the dunker spot or as a rim roller. Stewart is one of the best leapers in the sport. If he gets it close to the rim, he’s going up strong with two hands and going to try to dunk the ball. He reminds me some of Kansas forward KJ Adams. Adams is at his best in the short roll. If the defense gives him a lane, he’ll put pressure on the rim. If the tag comes, he can read it and pass to the open man. This is the part that is the unknown with Stewart because we haven’t seen it, but the build and athleticism is similar to Adams and Stewart is three inches taller. Also similar to Adams, he has a one-handed push shot that he can make once he gets inside 10 feet.

The advanced numbers are promising. Stewart had a 19.4 offensive rebounding rate, which would have ranked third nationally at KenPom if he’d played enough minutes to qualify. His 24.4 percent defensive rebounding rate would have ranked tied for 62nd. He also had a solid block rate (6.2), which would have been just outside the top 100. At worst, Stewart is an energy guy who rebounds, defends and dunks. But with three years of eligibility left, there’s upside for him to eventually become much more.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-10Wt: 200

Walters is a 3-point specialist who doesn’t need much room to shoot. The big lefty has a quick and high release, and he shot a solid 39.4 percent from 3 as a freshman, averaging 5.4 points in only 12.3 minutes per game. Walters was a floor spacer for the Crimson Tide, but he wasn’t afraid to put it on the floor and attack shot blockers at the rim.
Walters is able to cross match onto perimeter players and can also handle himself against bigs. On the perimeter, he uses his length to give him some extra room to defend the ball and contain the dribble. You see his build and expect that he’d play soft, but he has some fight to him and can handle himself when a ball handler’s eyes light up and he decides he wants to take on Walters. He can play both forward spots. He shot 82.5 percent at the free-throw line, which is a good indicator that his shooting efficiency should continue with even more volume. It’ll be interesting to see what Walters becomes because his potential is enticing. With his size and stroke, he’ll be a guy NBA folks will be keeping an eye on.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-10Wt: 200

Walters is a 3-point specialist who doesn’t need much room to shoot. The big lefty has a quick and high release, and he shot a solid 39.4 percent from 3 as a freshman, averaging 5.4 points in only 12.3 minutes per game. Walters was a floor spacer for the Crimson Tide, but he wasn’t afraid to put it on the floor and attack shot blockers at the rim.
Walters is able to cross match onto perimeter players and can also handle himself against bigs. On the perimeter, he uses his length to give him some extra room to defend the ball and contain the dribble. You see his build and expect that he’d play soft, but he has some fight to him and can handle himself when a ball handler’s eyes light up and he decides he wants to take on Walters. He can play both forward spots. He shot 82.5 percent at the free-throw line, which is a good indicator that his shooting efficiency should continue with even more volume. It’ll be interesting to see what Walters becomes because his potential is enticing. With his size and stroke, he’ll be a guy NBA folks will be keeping an eye on.
 — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

Alabama

Michigan Wolverines

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 216

Power was a five-star prospect who struggled to make the rotation at Duke, which isn’t all that unusual. We’ve seen highly touted guys go to Duke in the past and then ended up starring elsewhere. Semi Ojeleye comes to mind.

At Duke, Power was basically just a spot-up shooter. He was much more as a high-schooler. Power was one of the best scorers on the Nike EBYL Circuit and showed the ability to score from all three levels. He could put it on the deck and excelled in the mid-range with pull-up jumpers. He has a solid handle for a guy his size with the ability to go either direction. He was also an elite prospect in baseball as a power lefty pitcher. He shoots right-handed. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Power eventually emerge as a primary option wherever he lands next. Expect high-majors who missed last time to try to get back in the mix.
 — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 216

Power was a five-star prospect who struggled to make the rotation at Duke, which isn’t all that unusual. We’ve seen highly touted guys go to Duke in the past and then ended up starring elsewhere. Semi Ojeleye comes to mind.

At Duke, Power was basically just a spot-up shooter. He was much more as a high-schooler. Power was one of the best scorers on the Nike EBYL Circuit and showed the ability to score from all three levels. He could put it on the deck and excelled in the mid-range with pull-up jumpers. He has a solid handle for a guy his size with the ability to go either direction. He was also an elite prospect in baseball as a power lefty pitcher. He shoots right-handed. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Power eventually emerge as a primary option wherever he lands next. Expect high-majors who missed last time to try to get back in the mix.
 — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

This past season was supposed to be a breakout season for Poplar, who was the fifth option on the Final Four team. Poplar was someone NBA folks had their eyes on because of his athleticism, size and ability to shoot. He did improve his scoring numbers as a junior — going from 8.4 points to 13.1 — but he was still Miami’s fourth-leading scorer and didn’t exactly live up to some of the preseason hype, nor did the Canes, who went 15-17.
Poplar has shown, though, that he can be a starter on a really good team, and he has a solid track record of making shots the last two years. After shooting 21.4 percent from 3 as a freshman, he shot 37.5 percent as a sophomore and 38.5 percent this past year. With more responsibility in the offense, he did show this past season that he’s capable of playing out of ball screens. But what he does best is spot up for jumpers and attack the rim in transition or on long closeouts.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

This past season was supposed to be a breakout season for Poplar, who was the fifth option on the Final Four team. Poplar was someone NBA folks had their eyes on because of his athleticism, size and ability to shoot. He did improve his scoring numbers as a junior — going from 8.4 points to 13.1 — but he was still Miami’s fourth-leading scorer and didn’t exactly live up to some of the preseason hype, nor did the Canes, who went 15-17.
Poplar has shown, though, that he can be a starter on a really good team, and he has a solid track record of making shots the last two years. After shooting 21.4 percent from 3 as a freshman, he shot 37.5 percent as a sophomore and 38.5 percent this past year. With more responsibility in the offense, he did show this past season that he’s capable of playing out of ball screens. But what he does best is spot up for jumpers and attack the rim in transition or on long closeouts.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 210

Kidd’s game is pretty simple. He catches and finishes well around the rim, having partnered with Sean Pedulla to form a terrific two-man game. He had 50 dunks last season and made 79 percent of his shots at the rim in total this past season, the fourth-best mark in the country among the nearly 1,000 players who took at least 100 such shots, per Synergy. Ultimately, he was one of the most improved players in the ACC this season, spiking his averages up to 13.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per night.

He also showed some impressive post-up flashes and was usually effective at getting to his hook shot. He can make them with both hands, has a high release point and is patient in deploying pump fakes to set up better situations for himself.

Defensively, I have questions. His higher center of gravity hindered him at times this season and he’s nowhere near the shot-blocker he should be with his length. He seemed to regularly miss opportunities to contest from the opposite side. But it’s hard to find size in the portal, and Kidd is at least a proven high-major starter who can produce on offense. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Virginia Tech

Miami Hurricanes

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 210

I’m fascinated to see what becomes of Petraitis. He served a specific playmaking small-ball center role for Air Force and was key in their two Mountain West upset wins last season over New Mexico and UNLV. The son of two former Oregon State players, Petraitis is an extremely intelligent player who was Air Force’s primary option. He averaged 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per game last season while playing on the fourth-slowest-paced team in Division I, per KenPom.

He scores mostly as a driver and cutter, with a majority of his shot attempts coming around the basket. He made about 35 percent of his 3s, but most Mountain West teams didn’t guard him closely out there because he tends to take slow-loading set shots. But Petriatis was a maestro at hitting backdoor cuts from outside within Air Force’s offense, finding creative angles for bounce passes to teammates all across the court. He also showed an ability to deliver those passes on the move as opposed to just from a standstill position. In a more normal year for the league, as opposed to this standout one, he wouldn’t have looked out of place on an All-Mountain West team.

I’m a believer in his game translating outside of Air Force’s unique setup. Even if the Falcons didn’t win many games, Petraitis’ style is the kind that helps teams gain critical edges. I think he would be a high-value fourth option on an awesome team or a great No. 2 on a solid one.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 210

I’m fascinated to see what becomes of Petraitis. He served a specific playmaking small-ball center role for Air Force and was key in their two Mountain West upset wins last season over New Mexico and UNLV. The son of two former Oregon State players, Petraitis is an extremely intelligent player who was Air Force’s primary option. He averaged 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per game last season while playing on the fourth-slowest-paced team in Division I, per KenPom.

He scores mostly as a driver and cutter, with a majority of his shot attempts coming around the basket. He made about 35 percent of his 3s, but most Mountain West teams didn’t guard him closely out there because he tends to take slow-loading set shots. But Petriatis was a maestro at hitting backdoor cuts from outside within Air Force’s offense, finding creative angles for bounce passes to teammates all across the court. He also showed an ability to deliver those passes on the move as opposed to just from a standstill position. In a more normal year for the league, as opposed to this standout one, he wouldn’t have looked out of place on an All-Mountain West team.

I’m a believer in his game translating outside of Air Force’s unique setup. Even if the Falcons didn’t win many games, Petraitis’ style is the kind that helps teams gain critical edges. I think he would be a high-value fourth option on an awesome team or a great No. 2 on a solid one.  — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Air Force

California Golden Bears

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 240

Dia was one of the breakout players across college basketball this season. After averaging just 2.6 points for Vanderbilt in the 2022-23 season, Dia went across the road to Belmont and became an immediate All-Missouri Valley contributor. He averaged 16.9 points and nearly six rebounds per game, knocked down 34 percent of his 3s as a floor-spacing big man and was a matchup nightmare at that level.

Dia moves incredibly well for a big-bodied 240-pound forward, with the capability to slash and drive around bigger players to get all the way to the rim. Yet if he has a smaller player on the block, he can put his shoulder into them and get to the basket that way. His handle is clean and he draws fouls on drives and post-ups.

His jumper is a smooth set shot that looks clean coming out of his hand. His shooting off the bounce isn’t consistent enough yet, but he can get to it off the catch, out of pick-and-pops or even the occasional step back. By the latter portion of the season, he showed some playmaking chops off the bounce. At Belmont, when he was on the court, the entire offense went through him. Honestly, he’s clearly skilled enough to play at the high-major level.

One downside to his game is he was a bit of a black hole at times this season. He has a tendency to overdribble into bad spots and settle for contested jumpers. The improved passing he showed later in the season needs to be there more consistently, and he’ll need to excise the 20-percent share of difficult shots from his diet to become a more efficient scorer.

Dia is clearly gifted, though, and has significant upside if he can find a well-spaced system that allows him to hunt driving lanes and play in space. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 240

Dia was one of the breakout players across college basketball this season. After averaging just 2.6 points for Vanderbilt in the 2022-23 season, Dia went across the road to Belmont and became an immediate All-Missouri Valley contributor. He averaged 16.9 points and nearly six rebounds per game, knocked down 34 percent of his 3s as a floor-spacing big man and was a matchup nightmare at that level.

Dia moves incredibly well for a big-bodied 240-pound forward, with the capability to slash and drive around bigger players to get all the way to the rim. Yet if he has a smaller player on the block, he can put his shoulder into them and get to the basket that way. His handle is clean and he draws fouls on drives and post-ups.

His jumper is a smooth set shot that looks clean coming out of his hand. His shooting off the bounce isn’t consistent enough yet, but he can get to it off the catch, out of pick-and-pops or even the occasional step back. By the latter portion of the season, he showed some playmaking chops off the bounce. At Belmont, when he was on the court, the entire offense went through him. Honestly, he’s clearly skilled enough to play at the high-major level.

One downside to his game is he was a bit of a black hole at times this season. He has a tendency to overdribble into bad spots and settle for contested jumpers. The improved passing he showed later in the season needs to be there more consistently, and he’ll need to excise the 20-percent share of difficult shots from his diet to become a more efficient scorer.

Dia is clearly gifted, though, and has significant upside if he can find a well-spaced system that allows him to hunt driving lanes and play in space. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Belmont

Ole Miss Rebels

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 175

“Boopie” Miller translated to the high-major level about as well as could have been expected after missing nearly all of the 2022-23 season at Central Michigan with a broken foot. He averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals for the Demon Deacons while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3.

On the plus side, Miller is dynamic with the ball in his hands. He plays with suddenness and has a variety of crafty moves to get by his man, including high-arcing scoop shots, up-and-unders and more. He’ll pull up from any spot within 23 feet of the hoop if he feels he has some space, but he’s certainly most confident from the midrange right now. He shot 46 percent from that area, per Synergy, and also has a nice little floater game.

So what are the downsides? Decision-making can be an adventure; there are games where he tries to play through struggles and ends up with a ton of missed shots and turnovers. His turnover rate spiked this year in conference play, some of the pull-your-hair-out variety. Finally, Miller’s size is a problem on defense. You need a scheme that will account for him on that end.

Still, Miller proved this year that he’s able to handle high-major competition while playing for a borderline at-large team. I do feel like it would behoove him to consider a return to Wake Forest, though, as I’m struggling to find a scheme that works quite as well for smaller, dynamic guards on the ball as Steve Forbes’ does.

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 175

“Boopie” Miller translated to the high-major level about as well as could have been expected after missing nearly all of the 2022-23 season at Central Michigan with a broken foot. He averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals for the Demon Deacons while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3.

On the plus side, Miller is dynamic with the ball in his hands. He plays with suddenness and has a variety of crafty moves to get by his man, including high-arcing scoop shots, up-and-unders and more. He’ll pull up from any spot within 23 feet of the hoop if he feels he has some space, but he’s certainly most confident from the midrange right now. He shot 46 percent from that area, per Synergy, and also has a nice little floater game.

So what are the downsides? Decision-making can be an adventure; there are games where he tries to play through struggles and ends up with a ton of missed shots and turnovers. His turnover rate spiked this year in conference play, some of the pull-your-hair-out variety. Finally, Miller’s size is a problem on defense. You need a scheme that will account for him on that end.

Still, Miller proved this year that he’s able to handle high-major competition while playing for a borderline at-large team. I do feel like it would behoove him to consider a return to Wake Forest, though, as I’m struggling to find a scheme that works quite as well for smaller, dynamic guards on the ball as Steve Forbes’ does.

Guard

Committed

Wake Forest

SMU Mustangs

Ht: 6-1Wt: 180

It’s tough to project what Holloway could become. The jumper is the biggest selling point. He shoots with range and is a better shooter than his percentages as a freshman would suggest. He made 52 3s but at a 30.2 percent clip. Right now, a majority of his scoring is from beyond the arc because his size limits his ability to score around the basket. He made only 19 of his 56 attempts at the rim, per Synergy. Holloway started out hot, putting up 19 points and six assists in his debut against Baylor. He had a few other breakout performances in the nonconference, including 24 points in a win against Indiana. But he hit a wall and lost his starting job midway through the year, only to gain it back at the end of February. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.7 assists for the season, and there were glimpses of why he had a five-star ranking coming out of high school. Defensively, he adapted to what wasn’t an easy scheme to play in. Auburn switches a lot and puts a lot of pressure on the ball. Holloway was able to fit in that scheme and is handsy on the ball. He didn’t have high steals numbers, but that might be something that comes down the road.

The question is whether he can overcome his size and eventually become an efficient scorer. It’s hard to find anyone who can shoot with his kids of range, so if he ever gets there, he could become a valuable threat, especially in the pick-and-roll. And the fact he was able to start for one of the best teams in the SEC is promising.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-1Wt: 180

It’s tough to project what Holloway could become. The jumper is the biggest selling point. He shoots with range and is a better shooter than his percentages as a freshman would suggest. He made 52 3s but at a 30.2 percent clip. Right now, a majority of his scoring is from beyond the arc because his size limits his ability to score around the basket. He made only 19 of his 56 attempts at the rim, per Synergy. Holloway started out hot, putting up 19 points and six assists in his debut against Baylor. He had a few other breakout performances in the nonconference, including 24 points in a win against Indiana. But he hit a wall and lost his starting job midway through the year, only to gain it back at the end of February. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.7 assists for the season, and there were glimpses of why he had a five-star ranking coming out of high school. Defensively, he adapted to what wasn’t an easy scheme to play in. Auburn switches a lot and puts a lot of pressure on the ball. Holloway was able to fit in that scheme and is handsy on the ball. He didn’t have high steals numbers, but that might be something that comes down the road.

The question is whether he can overcome his size and eventually become an efficient scorer. It’s hard to find anyone who can shoot with his kids of range, so if he ever gets there, he could become a valuable threat, especially in the pick-and-roll. And the fact he was able to start for one of the best teams in the SEC is promising.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Auburn

Alabama Crimson Tide

Ht: 6-4Wt: 200

Hall was the starting point guard for the 14th-best offense in college basketball. He was solid in that role, making smart decisions and picking his moments to score. He averaged 9.0 points and 5.1 assists and shot 35.9 percent from deep this season. He’s at his best working out of ball screens, able to shoot if a defender goes under and also able to get the dominoes falling when he gets a step and can get a paint touch. He always plays with his head up looking for teammates inside or out. At 6-4, Hall has good size and plays with some physicality. He’s got a sturdy build and is strong with the ball, rarely making mistakes. New BYU coach Kevin Young will likely try to make a push to keep him at BYU.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 200

Hall was the starting point guard for the 14th-best offense in college basketball. He was solid in that role, making smart decisions and picking his moments to score. He averaged 9.0 points and 5.1 assists and shot 35.9 percent from deep this season. He’s at his best working out of ball screens, able to shoot if a defender goes under and also able to get the dominoes falling when he gets a step and can get a paint touch. He always plays with his head up looking for teammates inside or out. At 6-4, Hall has good size and plays with some physicality. He’s got a sturdy build and is strong with the ball, rarely making mistakes. New BYU coach Kevin Young will likely try to make a push to keep him at BYU.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

South Florida

BYU Cougars

Ht: 7-1Wt: 225

Bradshaw is the type of player that if you saw him in a workout, you’d dream big. He has a beautiful high release with a picturesque goose neck follow-through on his jumper. He moves fluidly and can play above the rim. He can finish with either hand. He’s a warmup all-star. He was a five-star who ranked fifth in his recruiting class. There’s plenty of potential there, but he still has a long way to go. Bradshaw struggled to get minutes at Kentucky, barely getting on the floor late in the year. He averaged 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game.

What he does best now is operate from the dunker spot, finishing dump-offs and occasionally stepping out to shoot a jumper. He made 4-of-14 3s and 5-of-11 mid-range jumpers, per Synergy. He has no back-to-the-basket game. He finished three post-up opportunities all season (scoring once), and two of those were when he had a small guard switched onto him. On the defensive end is where he needs the most coaching. His effort and awareness aren’t great. In his defense, he played on a team that this was an issue up and down the roster. Bradshaw is old for his grade — he’s already 20 — but with three years of eligibility remaining, there’s still time for him learn how to become a productive college player. In the right system with the right coach, this could work. He just needs someone who will spend a lot of time with him in film study and rev up his motor.
— C.J. Moore 

Ht: 7-1Wt: 225

Bradshaw is the type of player that if you saw him in a workout, you’d dream big. He has a beautiful high release with a picturesque goose neck follow-through on his jumper. He moves fluidly and can play above the rim. He can finish with either hand. He’s a warmup all-star. He was a five-star who ranked fifth in his recruiting class. There’s plenty of potential there, but he still has a long way to go. Bradshaw struggled to get minutes at Kentucky, barely getting on the floor late in the year. He averaged 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game.

What he does best now is operate from the dunker spot, finishing dump-offs and occasionally stepping out to shoot a jumper. He made 4-of-14 3s and 5-of-11 mid-range jumpers, per Synergy. He has no back-to-the-basket game. He finished three post-up opportunities all season (scoring once), and two of those were when he had a small guard switched onto him. On the defensive end is where he needs the most coaching. His effort and awareness aren’t great. In his defense, he played on a team that this was an issue up and down the roster. Bradshaw is old for his grade — he’s already 20 — but with three years of eligibility remaining, there’s still time for him learn how to become a productive college player. In the right system with the right coach, this could work. He just needs someone who will spend a lot of time with him in film study and rev up his motor.
— C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Kentucky

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 175

The hope was that Blocker, a former four-star and top-40 recruit, could at least be a solid backup point guard right away before stepping into the starting role as a sophomore. Instead, the Arkansas native struggled to see regular minutes.

He did manage to show some flashes, including a solid six-game stretch in late-November and early-December where he averaged eight points, three rebounds and two assists while shooting 64 percent from the field in 22 minutes per night. He had a 14-point game in 24 minutes against Florida in SEC play, had a couple of solid games in a row against Missouri and LSU, then played a total of 19 minutes the next three games. His minutes fluctuation was one of the stranger elements of a bizarre Arkansas season.

Blocker is a monster athlete who got to the foul line 58 times in 360 minutes. He finishes above the rim off one foot or two and maintains his balance well when absorbing contact. He passes well when drawing help, but his jumper needs to be completely reworked this summer to become a threat.

Still, it’s difficult to find backcourt athletes like this in the portal. It might take a year of development, and his floor is lower than many of the players around him on this list. But his upside is an all-conference high-major guard if things break right over the next couple of years. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 175

The hope was that Blocker, a former four-star and top-40 recruit, could at least be a solid backup point guard right away before stepping into the starting role as a sophomore. Instead, the Arkansas native struggled to see regular minutes.

He did manage to show some flashes, including a solid six-game stretch in late-November and early-December where he averaged eight points, three rebounds and two assists while shooting 64 percent from the field in 22 minutes per night. He had a 14-point game in 24 minutes against Florida in SEC play, had a couple of solid games in a row against Missouri and LSU, then played a total of 19 minutes the next three games. His minutes fluctuation was one of the stranger elements of a bizarre Arkansas season.

Blocker is a monster athlete who got to the foul line 58 times in 360 minutes. He finishes above the rim off one foot or two and maintains his balance well when absorbing contact. He passes well when drawing help, but his jumper needs to be completely reworked this summer to become a threat.

Still, it’s difficult to find backcourt athletes like this in the portal. It might take a year of development, and his floor is lower than many of the players around him on this list. But his upside is an all-conference high-major guard if things break right over the next couple of years. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 220

A two-year junior-college player in Washington, Ajayi transferred to Pepperdine and was theoretically a great fit at power forward next to Jevon Porter. Ajayi’s game starts with this power getting downhill. He can bowl his way to the basket in a straight line using his left shoulder to create space, and has a good handle with some shake to get to pull-ups and stepback midrange jumpers. He was a killer catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter this year, making 49 percent of his 3s in those situations. That number will drop, but he’s adding value even if he’s around 38 to 40 percent.

Ajayi’s productivity did come inefficiently for a bad team outside of his 3-point jumper. He made just 48 percent of his shots around the rim, per Synergy, and 44 percent on his midrange pull-up jumpers. His passing vision seems to only extend forward for dump-offs, not kickouts to the perimeter.

is Ajayi a good player on a bad team, or can his game scale up because of his excellent shooting? Pepperdine was such a mess that it’s hard to tell.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 220

A two-year junior-college player in Washington, Ajayi transferred to Pepperdine and was theoretically a great fit at power forward next to Jevon Porter. Ajayi’s game starts with this power getting downhill. He can bowl his way to the basket in a straight line using his left shoulder to create space, and has a good handle with some shake to get to pull-ups and stepback midrange jumpers. He was a killer catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter this year, making 49 percent of his 3s in those situations. That number will drop, but he’s adding value even if he’s around 38 to 40 percent.

Ajayi’s productivity did come inefficiently for a bad team outside of his 3-point jumper. He made just 48 percent of his shots around the rim, per Synergy, and 44 percent on his midrange pull-up jumpers. His passing vision seems to only extend forward for dump-offs, not kickouts to the perimeter.

is Ajayi a good player on a bad team, or can his game scale up because of his excellent shooting? Pepperdine was such a mess that it’s hard to tell.  — Sam Vecenie

Ajayi’s fit with Gonzaga makes sense, as he’s a Washington native. It’s interesting to see the Zags go for Ajayi, as he scored just 20 points on six-of-24 from the field across their two games against Pepperdine last season. Still, the Zags desperately needed a player like him who can swing between the 3 and 4 positions. With Anton Watson moving on, Jun Seok-Yeo and the injured Steele Venters were the only non-bigs on the roster taller than 6-foot-7. As long as his shooting translates, he should be an impact player for Mark Few next season.

— Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Pepperdine

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Ht: 6-11 Wt: 225

The brother of Michael and Jontay, Jevon possesses a similarly modern basketball skill set as a near 7-foot perimeter-oriented center. He averaged 16.2 points this season and is the kind of versatile offensive big that teams around the country seek.

Porter can score on the block and off dump-off passes, but he’s especially good on the perimeter. He can run through a wide variety of screening actions and dribble-hand-offs. He can reject the hand off and drive, or he can pick and pop with ease. He made less than 30 percent of his 3s this season, but the motion looks clean and pure, so I expect his percentage to go up at his next stop.

Porter needs to get stronger and become a better rebounder and defender at his next stop. It’s hard to delineate Porter’s culpability when Pepperdine’s entire defensive system was catastrophically bad, but he seemed to play a part in some coverage breakdowns. Porter will need to find the right fit and a coach that’s willing to grow with him, but he has high-major starter upside. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-11 Wt: 225

The brother of Michael and Jontay, Jevon possesses a similarly modern basketball skill set as a near 7-foot perimeter-oriented center. He averaged 16.2 points this season and is the kind of versatile offensive big that teams around the country seek.

Porter can score on the block and off dump-off passes, but he’s especially good on the perimeter. He can run through a wide variety of screening actions and dribble-hand-offs. He can reject the hand off and drive, or he can pick and pop with ease. He made less than 30 percent of his 3s this season, but the motion looks clean and pure, so I expect his percentage to go up at his next stop.

Porter needs to get stronger and become a better rebounder and defender at his next stop. It’s hard to delineate Porter’s culpability when Pepperdine’s entire defensive system was catastrophically bad, but he seemed to play a part in some coverage breakdowns. Porter will need to find the right fit and a coach that’s willing to grow with him, but he has high-major starter upside. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Pepperdine

Loyola Marymount Lions

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 215

t was a season of highs and lows for Oweh. He started the season on fire, averaging 15.7 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 65.5 percent from the Sooners during their 11-1 start. An aggressive, downhill attacker, Oweh was a force in transition, creating fastbreak opportunities with steals and filling lanes next to teammates to finish above the rim. Oklahoma used him in a creative way in their half-court offense, having him play more like a 4 in dribble hand-offs or using him in the dunker spot under the basket. 

But the wheels came off near the end of the season. In his final 11 games prior to the Big 12 conference tournament, Oweh averaged just 6.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in only 21 minutes per game while shooting 35.4 percent from the field. His shot selection was rough, he too often recklessly drove into tough Big 12 rim protectors and began committing too many turnovers considering his small offensive role.

So which player is he? In the end, Oweh was a power-five starter who averaged 11 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3 while generally playing aggressive point-of-attack defense.

The fit will be more important for Oweh at his next stop than it would be for most transfers. He needs to find a team that will use him creatively and channel him into more positive situations as a transition player and driver. He also needs to be surrounded by shooting, as I’m skeptical he will duplicate his 37.3 percent figure from 3. But considering his high-level defense and toughness, I expect him to start in a high-major league next season. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 215

t was a season of highs and lows for Oweh. He started the season on fire, averaging 15.7 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 65.5 percent from the Sooners during their 11-1 start. An aggressive, downhill attacker, Oweh was a force in transition, creating fastbreak opportunities with steals and filling lanes next to teammates to finish above the rim. Oklahoma used him in a creative way in their half-court offense, having him play more like a 4 in dribble hand-offs or using him in the dunker spot under the basket. 

But the wheels came off near the end of the season. In his final 11 games prior to the Big 12 conference tournament, Oweh averaged just 6.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in only 21 minutes per game while shooting 35.4 percent from the field. His shot selection was rough, he too often recklessly drove into tough Big 12 rim protectors and began committing too many turnovers considering his small offensive role.

So which player is he? In the end, Oweh was a power-five starter who averaged 11 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3 while generally playing aggressive point-of-attack defense.

The fit will be more important for Oweh at his next stop than it would be for most transfers. He needs to find a team that will use him creatively and channel him into more positive situations as a transition player and driver. He also needs to be surrounded by shooting, as I’m skeptical he will duplicate his 37.3 percent figure from 3. But considering his high-level defense and toughness, I expect him to start in a high-major league next season. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Oklahoma

Kentucky Wildcats

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 175

Allette was one of the best freshman scorers in all of college hoops this season, averaging 17.4 points in 19 games in addition to 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He was considered a significant recruit for the Monarchs as one of Canada’s top-rated high school guards. However, Allette was kicked off the team in January for what interim coach Kieran Donohue referred to as “conduct unbecoming of a Monarch.” What that means is unclear, so teams will need to find out exactly what went wrong.

When he plays, Allette is a monster driver who constantly tries to attack the basket. He’s not overly quick, but he mixes terrific deceleration with a strong frame to ward off defenders. He will need to improve his 52.2-percent shooting mark at the rim, but for a freshman, he did a good job of getting into the teeth of the defense.

He counters that skill with stop-and-pop jumpers from mid- and 3-point range. He made 46.3 percent of his midrange pull-ups last season, per Synergy, and converted 43.6 percent of his runners, a fair number. He hit 35.4 percent of his 3s, with better numbers coming off the catch.  Even with his inefficient finishing at the rim, it’s hard to find freshmen with this much scoring and shot creation capability, even at the Sun Belt level.

As one of the best scorers in the portal, I assume Allette ends up at a high-major school, though he has a wide range of potential outcomes considering Old Dominion was a bad team even while he was playing.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 175

Allette was one of the best freshman scorers in all of college hoops this season, averaging 17.4 points in 19 games in addition to 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He was considered a significant recruit for the Monarchs as one of Canada’s top-rated high school guards. However, Allette was kicked off the team in January for what interim coach Kieran Donohue referred to as “conduct unbecoming of a Monarch.” What that means is unclear, so teams will need to find out exactly what went wrong.

When he plays, Allette is a monster driver who constantly tries to attack the basket. He’s not overly quick, but he mixes terrific deceleration with a strong frame to ward off defenders. He will need to improve his 52.2-percent shooting mark at the rim, but for a freshman, he did a good job of getting into the teeth of the defense.

He counters that skill with stop-and-pop jumpers from mid- and 3-point range. He made 46.3 percent of his midrange pull-ups last season, per Synergy, and converted 43.6 percent of his runners, a fair number. He hit 35.4 percent of his 3s, with better numbers coming off the catch.  Even with his inefficient finishing at the rim, it’s hard to find freshmen with this much scoring and shot creation capability, even at the Sun Belt level.

As one of the best scorers in the portal, I assume Allette ends up at a high-major school, though he has a wide range of potential outcomes considering Old Dominion was a bad team even while he was playing.  — Sam Vecenie

Guard

In portal

Old Dominion

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 230

Hall is a fascinating player. After weighing nearly 300 pounds in high school, Hall is now down to the 230-pound range and added real shiftiness to his game. He averaged 16.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and was named second-team All-Atlantic-10 last season.

His shot profile is highly specific. Of his 273 halfcourt shot attempts last season, 107 were 3-pointers, 120 were at the rim and zero were dunks, per Synergy. Even with his weight loss, he still doesn’t have a ton of bounce. Instead, he’s an undersized 4 with guard skills who repeatedly drove to the rim from behind the arc or the mid-post. Most of his nominal post-up opportunities turned into face-up drives. His handle in these situations is creative, as he strings together a lot of different crossovers and spin moves.

He countered his desire to get to the rim by catching and firing from distance when those shot became available. He has a strange lefty stroke where his left leg flares forward, but he did drill nearly 36 percent of his four 3-point attempts per game.

While Hall can get to the rim at the A-10 level, his efficiency dropped drastically against good teams. He went 3-for-13 against Tennessee, 1-for-5 against Toledo, 4-for-13 against Tulane, 1-for-4 against Richmond, 3-for-11 against Dayton and 2-for-7 against Loyola Chicago. Can his game translate to the high-major level? Can he consistently finish below the rim against better competition? Will his shot continue to fall?

He’d be an interesting target for a school who already has shooters and is looking for more frontcourt shot creation. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 230

Hall is a fascinating player. After weighing nearly 300 pounds in high school, Hall is now down to the 230-pound range and added real shiftiness to his game. He averaged 16.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and was named second-team All-Atlantic-10 last season.

His shot profile is highly specific. Of his 273 halfcourt shot attempts last season, 107 were 3-pointers, 120 were at the rim and zero were dunks, per Synergy. Even with his weight loss, he still doesn’t have a ton of bounce. Instead, he’s an undersized 4 with guard skills who repeatedly drove to the rim from behind the arc or the mid-post. Most of his nominal post-up opportunities turned into face-up drives. His handle in these situations is creative, as he strings together a lot of different crossovers and spin moves.

He countered his desire to get to the rim by catching and firing from distance when those shot became available. He has a strange lefty stroke where his left leg flares forward, but he did drill nearly 36 percent of his four 3-point attempts per game.

While Hall can get to the rim at the A-10 level, his efficiency dropped drastically against good teams. He went 3-for-13 against Tennessee, 1-for-5 against Toledo, 4-for-13 against Tulane, 1-for-4 against Richmond, 3-for-11 against Dayton and 2-for-7 against Loyola Chicago. Can his game translate to the high-major level? Can he consistently finish below the rim against better competition? Will his shot continue to fall?

He’d be an interesting target for a school who already has shooters and is looking for more frontcourt shot creation. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

George Mason

UCF Knights

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 230

Dailey is a big-time athlete, above all. A top-50 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Dailey is coming off a successful first season at Oklahoma State. He’s young, but there are an awful lot of tools to work with here. With a powerful frame, Dailey can rise up and throw down in addition to contorting his frame around defenders to finish at the basket.

He made 65 percent of his attempts at the rim, per Synergy, although that percentage did drop off substantially in the halfcourt. A lefty with real body control, Dailey has good touch inside of 15 feet and should be able to continue honing that piece of his game as he ages. Everything off the bounce for Dailey was a slash to the rim, and if he got cut off, his counter was a turnaround midrange jumper that he actually made over 50 percent of. Right now though, Dailey’s game on offense is a bit simple. He’ll flash to the midpost for jumpers or drives. He’ll spot up in the corners. Or, he’ll try to attack and get downhill toward the rim.

He’s still developing as a passer, and definitely does not seem to have a ton of shiftiness with the ball. But when you’re this big and this athletic, you don’t need a ton of it to be effective if you play in direct lines. The other fun thing that Oklahoma State did was let Dailey initiate from a standstill at the elbows and make some passes to cutters. I don’t know that I totally trust him at this point passing on the move, but he does have vision that should grow. Ultimately, Dailey is a bit of a project, but one worth investing in. He has tools that NBA teams look for and should keep developing into a plus defender. The jumper is going to be the swing skill here, though. Dailey needs to get way more comfortable as a shooter from distance to reach his ceiling.

As soon as that happens, he’ll be very impactful on a winning team. Even without it, he can give energy and effort like he did this season. The ceiling is higher than where he’s ranked on this list, but it’ll take some work this summer for him to be an immediate starter on a team that is a top-six seed in the NCAA Tournament. And with the way that college hoops is now, where immediate production is key or else the portal could beckon, that did knock him down a few spots for me.— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 230

Dailey is a big-time athlete, above all. A top-50 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Dailey is coming off a successful first season at Oklahoma State. He’s young, but there are an awful lot of tools to work with here. With a powerful frame, Dailey can rise up and throw down in addition to contorting his frame around defenders to finish at the basket.

He made 65 percent of his attempts at the rim, per Synergy, although that percentage did drop off substantially in the halfcourt. A lefty with real body control, Dailey has good touch inside of 15 feet and should be able to continue honing that piece of his game as he ages. Everything off the bounce for Dailey was a slash to the rim, and if he got cut off, his counter was a turnaround midrange jumper that he actually made over 50 percent of. Right now though, Dailey’s game on offense is a bit simple. He’ll flash to the midpost for jumpers or drives. He’ll spot up in the corners. Or, he’ll try to attack and get downhill toward the rim.

He’s still developing as a passer, and definitely does not seem to have a ton of shiftiness with the ball. But when you’re this big and this athletic, you don’t need a ton of it to be effective if you play in direct lines. The other fun thing that Oklahoma State did was let Dailey initiate from a standstill at the elbows and make some passes to cutters. I don’t know that I totally trust him at this point passing on the move, but he does have vision that should grow. Ultimately, Dailey is a bit of a project, but one worth investing in. He has tools that NBA teams look for and should keep developing into a plus defender. The jumper is going to be the swing skill here, though. Dailey needs to get way more comfortable as a shooter from distance to reach his ceiling.

As soon as that happens, he’ll be very impactful on a winning team. Even without it, he can give energy and effort like he did this season. The ceiling is higher than where he’s ranked on this list, but it’ll take some work this summer for him to be an immediate starter on a team that is a top-six seed in the NCAA Tournament. And with the way that college hoops is now, where immediate production is key or else the portal could beckon, that did knock him down a few spots for me.— Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Oklahoma State

UCLA Bruins

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 175

North Texas went back to the junior-college well to find Edwards, a creative scoring guard who earned first-team All-AAC honors while averaging 19.1 points per game this season. Playing next to a bigger wing playmaker in Rubin Jones, Edwards was able to be himself. He uses nasty hesitations and hang-dribble-crossover combinations to get separation from defenders, whether going toward the rim or backward for stepback jumpers. By stringing together multiple moves, Edwards gets defenders stuck on their heels when trying to contest him.

His stepback game especially stood out. Though Edwards only made 27.4 percent of his step-back 3s last season, he did convert 48 percent of his pull-up midrange jumpers, indicating he has real touch even when heavily guarded and operating on the move. He can play off-ball, driving well to the rim on heavy closeouts and hitting catch-and-shoot 3s at a 37 percent clip, per Synergy.

Ultimately, I buy Edwards’ ability to separate from his man and score at the high-major level. He had some monster scoring games against good teams such as Seton Hall, Florida Atlantic and Boise State. His gifts are real, even if it’d be nice if he’d improve as a passer and cut down on some of his more difficult shots.

He’s not going to bring much else to the table, so he’s probably best as a sixth man unless a high-major can pair him with a big initiator like North Texas did. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 175

North Texas went back to the junior-college well to find Edwards, a creative scoring guard who earned first-team All-AAC honors while averaging 19.1 points per game this season. Playing next to a bigger wing playmaker in Rubin Jones, Edwards was able to be himself. He uses nasty hesitations and hang-dribble-crossover combinations to get separation from defenders, whether going toward the rim or backward for stepback jumpers. By stringing together multiple moves, Edwards gets defenders stuck on their heels when trying to contest him.

His stepback game especially stood out. Though Edwards only made 27.4 percent of his step-back 3s last season, he did convert 48 percent of his pull-up midrange jumpers, indicating he has real touch even when heavily guarded and operating on the move. He can play off-ball, driving well to the rim on heavy closeouts and hitting catch-and-shoot 3s at a 37 percent clip, per Synergy.

Ultimately, I buy Edwards’ ability to separate from his man and score at the high-major level. He had some monster scoring games against good teams such as Seton Hall, Florida Atlantic and Boise State. His gifts are real, even if it’d be nice if he’d improve as a passer and cut down on some of his more difficult shots.

He’s not going to bring much else to the table, so he’s probably best as a sixth man unless a high-major can pair him with a big initiator like North Texas did. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

North Texas

Vanderbilt Commodores

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 207

The way high majors evaluate Kugel after his season will be among the most fascinating things to track in the portal this year.

The 6-foot-5 scoring wing is arguably the best athlete in all of college basketball. No, I’m not exaggerating. Few players possess his blend of power, explosiveness and coordination. He’s built like an NBA player and moves like one. His first step is lethal and he is able to bend his body to leverage that explosiveness. Many, including me, thought had a shot to be a 2024 first-round NBA Draft pick if he developed properly. He was coming off one of the most impressive closing stretches of any freshman in 2022-23, averaging 17.3 points in SEC play while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from 3.

But man, did Kugel have a bad season. He averaged just 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and was removed from the Gators’ starting lineup after 11 games. His shot selection and decision-making during that time were horrendous, and he only made 39.4 percent of his field goals and 31.2 percent of his 3s over the course of the season while committing nearly two turnovers in 23 minutes per game. Even if bigs Tyrese Samuel and Micah Handlogten clogged the paint on Kugel’s drives, his reads weren’t good enough. Worse, he let his offensive struggles affect his defense, though he at least brought more energy later in the season.

We have Kugel ranked here based mostly on his 2023-24 performance, but his upside is genuinely tantalizing. I bet a big school takes a swing. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 207

The way high majors evaluate Kugel after his season will be among the most fascinating things to track in the portal this year.

The 6-foot-5 scoring wing is arguably the best athlete in all of college basketball. No, I’m not exaggerating. Few players possess his blend of power, explosiveness and coordination. He’s built like an NBA player and moves like one. His first step is lethal and he is able to bend his body to leverage that explosiveness. Many, including me, thought had a shot to be a 2024 first-round NBA Draft pick if he developed properly. He was coming off one of the most impressive closing stretches of any freshman in 2022-23, averaging 17.3 points in SEC play while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from 3.

But man, did Kugel have a bad season. He averaged just 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and was removed from the Gators’ starting lineup after 11 games. His shot selection and decision-making during that time were horrendous, and he only made 39.4 percent of his field goals and 31.2 percent of his 3s over the course of the season while committing nearly two turnovers in 23 minutes per game. Even if bigs Tyrese Samuel and Micah Handlogten clogged the paint on Kugel’s drives, his reads weren’t good enough. Worse, he let his offensive struggles affect his defense, though he at least brought more energy later in the season.

We have Kugel ranked here based mostly on his 2023-24 performance, but his upside is genuinely tantalizing. I bet a big school takes a swing. — Sam Vecenie

Kugel immediately gives the Jayhawks an infusion of backcourt athleticism they often lacked last season, even with Elmarko Jackson and Johnny Furphy playing out in transition.

The backcourt for Kansas is starting to take shape in an intriguing way. Dajuan Harris — assuming he returns — is the table-setter and a stalwart, national championship-winning point guard. Transfer commitment Zeke Mayo provides the pull-up shooting threat the Jayhawks lacked last season. Now. Kugel adds a dynamic, open-floor athlete to the mix.

The keys for Kugel will be the same as they were for Florida last season: He needs to exhibit better decision-making and shot selection. His aimless drives into traffic can’t continue at Kansas, especially if post scorer Hunter Dickinson returns. This is a big offseason for Kugel. He has all of the tools to be an NBA player, but he needs to start putting them together. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Florida

Kansas Jayhawks

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Maddox went through a transformation after two years at Cal State Fullerton when he transferred to Toledo two years ago. He made only 42 3s in two seasons at Fullerton and then made 64 3s in his junior year at Toledo and 72 this past year, shooting 42.4 percent from deep over the two years at Toledo. Maddox thrived as a spot-up shooter who can also make shots off the move. He led the Rockets in scoring this season at 15.6 points per game and was a second-team All-MAC performer.

The fifth-year guard has won throughout his career. Fullerton won the Big West conference tournament his sophomore season to make the NCAAs and then Toledo won back-to-back regular season MAC titles with Maddox starting. He can play either guard position but is better suited at shooting guard. He’s a strong leaper at the rim, which helps him finish around the basket. He’s been well-schooled in two years at Toledo, where Tod Kowalczyk has built a solid program that has been near the top of the charts in offense at the mid-major level. He’s had two guards successfully transfer up in the last few years — first Marreon Jackson to Arizona State and then RayJ Dennis starred at Baylor this past year. Maddox will try to be the next and should fit in well at Xavier, where Sean Miller has had success with mid-major guards.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Maddox went through a transformation after two years at Cal State Fullerton when he transferred to Toledo two years ago. He made only 42 3s in two seasons at Fullerton and then made 64 3s in his junior year at Toledo and 72 this past year, shooting 42.4 percent from deep over the two years at Toledo. Maddox thrived as a spot-up shooter who can also make shots off the move. He led the Rockets in scoring this season at 15.6 points per game and was a second-team All-MAC performer.

The fifth-year guard has won throughout his career. Fullerton won the Big West conference tournament his sophomore season to make the NCAAs and then Toledo won back-to-back regular season MAC titles with Maddox starting. He can play either guard position but is better suited at shooting guard. He’s a strong leaper at the rim, which helps him finish around the basket. He’s been well-schooled in two years at Toledo, where Tod Kowalczyk has built a solid program that has been near the top of the charts in offense at the mid-major level. He’s had two guards successfully transfer up in the last few years — first Marreon Jackson to Arizona State and then RayJ Dennis starred at Baylor this past year. Maddox will try to be the next and should fit in well at Xavier, where Sean Miller has had success with mid-major guards.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

South Florida

Xavier Musketeers

Ht: 6-6Wt: 200

Freeman is a relentless driver who finds a way to the rim constantly. He has a slick handle for a wing his size and is like an elastic man in the way he contorts his body to get through small cracks in the defense as he slithers to the basket. He’s turnover-prone because of his aggressiveness, but the hit rate is pretty good. He shoots 47.3 inside the arc and gets to the free throw line consistently, where he shoots 82.4 percent. He rarely ever settles for mid-range shots and is a solid 3-point shooter, knocking 2.4 down per game at a 35.1 percent clip.
It’ll be interesting to see if Freeman can pull back on the aggressiveness a bit when surrounded by better players and no longer needing to be such a high-usage player. He ranked eighth nationally in usage rate and averaged 21.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 turnovers per game. Can he be more efficient when being more choosy? If so, his ability to put pressure on the rim with the drive will be a real asset.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 200

Freeman is a relentless driver who finds a way to the rim constantly. He has a slick handle for a wing his size and is like an elastic man in the way he contorts his body to get through small cracks in the defense as he slithers to the basket. He’s turnover-prone because of his aggressiveness, but the hit rate is pretty good. He shoots 47.3 inside the arc and gets to the free throw line consistently, where he shoots 82.4 percent. He rarely ever settles for mid-range shots and is a solid 3-point shooter, knocking 2.4 down per game at a 35.1 percent clip.
It’ll be interesting to see if Freeman can pull back on the aggressiveness a bit when surrounded by better players and no longer needing to be such a high-usage player. He ranked eighth nationally in usage rate and averaged 21.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 turnovers per game. Can he be more efficient when being more choosy? If so, his ability to put pressure on the rim with the drive will be a real asset.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

South Florida

Arizona State Sun Devils

Ht: 6-8Wt: 205

Kent is the perfect glue guy. He played the four for the Sycamores and was happily the fifth option. He knew how to play off his teammates, who could all handle, pass and shoot, and he was an efficiency all-star, finishing with the third-highest offensive rating (135.3) in college basketball. He made the most of his opportunities, averaging 13.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He is an elite cutter and scored 5.6 points per game off cuts alone, best in college hoops, per Synergy. He’s made himself into a shooter. He was sub-30 from 3 his first three seasons but shot 36.6 percent this season on 82 attempts. Defensively, he’s solid. Long and strong enough to deal with post players and also laterally quick enough to defend wings. Just an easy player to play with and know he’s going to be in the right spots.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-8Wt: 205

Kent is the perfect glue guy. He played the four for the Sycamores and was happily the fifth option. He knew how to play off his teammates, who could all handle, pass and shoot, and he was an efficiency all-star, finishing with the third-highest offensive rating (135.3) in college basketball. He made the most of his opportunities, averaging 13.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He is an elite cutter and scored 5.6 points per game off cuts alone, best in college hoops, per Synergy. He’s made himself into a shooter. He was sub-30 from 3 his first three seasons but shot 36.6 percent this season on 82 attempts. Defensively, he’s solid. Long and strong enough to deal with post players and also laterally quick enough to defend wings. Just an easy player to play with and know he’s going to be in the right spots.
 — C.J. Moore 

Wing

Committed

Indiana State

Texas Longhorns

Ht: 6-10Wt: 220

Carr is a solid high-efficiency, low-usage player who can play either big man spot. He played power forward at Wake Forest in a two-big lineup but could also work on the lone big for a team that wants to play more five-out basketball. Carr averaged 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game for Wake Forest, where he transferred two years ago after playing his first two seasons at Delaware. He is a solid 3-point shooter (37.1 percent) but needs time and space to get it off. He’s slow-footed but he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim when he sees an opening. He’s highly skilled and thrives in the post and mid-post, able to score either backing his man down or facing up. He scored 1.11 points per possession on post-ups, per Synergy.

Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes has been the transfer portal whisperer with his players always outproducing expectations, and Carr was no different. His numbers got better transferring up a level. While Carr wasn’t one of the go-to guys for the Deacs, they were better with him on the floor, outscoring opponents by 14.5 points per 100 possessions, per CBB Analytics. Carr is really solid as a third, fourth or even fifth option. He’s going to play his part and make the most of his opportunities.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-10Wt: 220

Carr is a solid high-efficiency, low-usage player who can play either big man spot. He played power forward at Wake Forest in a two-big lineup but could also work on the lone big for a team that wants to play more five-out basketball. Carr averaged 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game for Wake Forest, where he transferred two years ago after playing his first two seasons at Delaware. He is a solid 3-point shooter (37.1 percent) but needs time and space to get it off. He’s slow-footed but he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim when he sees an opening. He’s highly skilled and thrives in the post and mid-post, able to score either backing his man down or facing up. He scored 1.11 points per possession on post-ups, per Synergy.

Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes has been the transfer portal whisperer with his players always outproducing expectations, and Carr was no different. His numbers got better transferring up a level. While Carr wasn’t one of the go-to guys for the Deacs, they were better with him on the floor, outscoring opponents by 14.5 points per 100 possessions, per CBB Analytics. Carr is really solid as a third, fourth or even fifth option. He’s going to play his part and make the most of his opportunities.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

South Florida

Kentucky Wildcats

Ht: 6-7Wt: 210

Goode is a specialist who should generate plenty of interest because he’s an easy plug-and-play option who would fit anywhere. He is a spot-up shooter with a strong track record of making 3s. He shot 38.8 percent from deep in three years at Illinois. He had his best season this past year, playing a career-high 20.1 minutes and averaging 5.7 points for one of the best offenses in college basketball. At 6-7, he has good positional size. He doesn’t do much else offensively besides make catch-and-shoot jumpers and space the floor. He’s attempted only 46 2s in his career compared to 219 tries from 3. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-7Wt: 210

Goode is a specialist who should generate plenty of interest because he’s an easy plug-and-play option who would fit anywhere. He is a spot-up shooter with a strong track record of making 3s. He shot 38.8 percent from deep in three years at Illinois. He had his best season this past year, playing a career-high 20.1 minutes and averaging 5.7 points for one of the best offenses in college basketball. At 6-7, he has good positional size. He doesn’t do much else offensively besides make catch-and-shoot jumpers and space the floor. He’s attempted only 46 2s in his career compared to 219 tries from 3. — C.J. Moore 

Wing

Committed

South Florida

Indiana Hoosiers

Ht: 6-11Wt: 205

Last offseason, I wrote the old Fran Fraschilla line about Miller: he’s a year away from being a year away. By that math, we still have one more year until Miller breaks out, so look out 2025-26. Miller has been at his best playing international basketball for Spain. He underwhelmed at Florida State, where he showed up midway through the 2022-23 season. In his first full season this year, he averaged 7.6 points, 1.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game on a middling ACC team. It’s easy to see the potential because he doesn’t move like the normal 6-11 guy. He can handle, pass and has what looks like a workable jumper. The shooting has yet to really come through, however. He’s shot 28.2 percent from deep in his two seasons at FSU, and he forces some questionable shots considering his percentages.

Miller did try to play with more physicality as a sophomore. He still needs to add strength, and he wasn’t always able to get where he wanted to go because he’s just not strong enough yet. He also had a tendency to just drop his shoulder and get called for a charge. He’s turnover prone (1.5 per game) and needs to make better decisions with the ball. His defensive metrics did approve drastically, likely thanks to him adding some strength. His length and skill should still generate high-major interest. Maybe some day we see it all come together.

 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-11Wt: 205

Last offseason, I wrote the old Fran Fraschilla line about Miller: he’s a year away from being a year away. By that math, we still have one more year until Miller breaks out, so look out 2025-26. Miller has been at his best playing international basketball for Spain. He underwhelmed at Florida State, where he showed up midway through the 2022-23 season. In his first full season this year, he averaged 7.6 points, 1.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game on a middling ACC team. It’s easy to see the potential because he doesn’t move like the normal 6-11 guy. He can handle, pass and has what looks like a workable jumper. The shooting has yet to really come through, however. He’s shot 28.2 percent from deep in his two seasons at FSU, and he forces some questionable shots considering his percentages.

Miller did try to play with more physicality as a sophomore. He still needs to add strength, and he wasn’t always able to get where he wanted to go because he’s just not strong enough yet. He also had a tendency to just drop his shoulder and get called for a charge. He’s turnover prone (1.5 per game) and needs to make better decisions with the ball. His defensive metrics did approve drastically, likely thanks to him adding some strength. His length and skill should still generate high-major interest. Maybe some day we see it all come together.

 — C.J. Moore 

Forward

In portal

Florida State

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 225

A McDonald’s All-American and top-20 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Biliew struggled to establish himself during his freshman season. He played just 7.4 minutes per game in 20 games, dealt with back spasms late in the campaign and scored just six points total in the 2024 calendar year.

Beyond his back issues, Biliew’s skill level did not look up to par. He plays hard all the time and has athletic gifts, but was such an offensive non-factor that it was hard for the Cyclones to have him on the court. As is the case with many freshman, it wasn’t always clear he was in the right spot on the court all the time.

As a former five-star recruit, Biliew will have a number of options at his disposal. But teams must ask themselves if they know his exact best role. Is he a 4 who can play on the perimeter after a summer of improving his jumper? If so, his effort, rebounding and defensive potential could be game-altering. But if his skills don’t improve and he’s instead more of a high-energy, undersized 5, he’s less valuable. There’s not much to take away from this season’s tape, so it will be critical for teams to work through the injury factor, his team context and more.

I’ll also just note that it would be smart for Biliew to consider returning to Iowa State. The graduations of Robert Jones, Tre King and Hason Ward would open up minutes for Biliew, even though the Cyclones already brought in Charlotte’s Dishon Jackson as a transfer center. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 225

A McDonald’s All-American and top-20 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Biliew struggled to establish himself during his freshman season. He played just 7.4 minutes per game in 20 games, dealt with back spasms late in the campaign and scored just six points total in the 2024 calendar year.

Beyond his back issues, Biliew’s skill level did not look up to par. He plays hard all the time and has athletic gifts, but was such an offensive non-factor that it was hard for the Cyclones to have him on the court. As is the case with many freshman, it wasn’t always clear he was in the right spot on the court all the time.

As a former five-star recruit, Biliew will have a number of options at his disposal. But teams must ask themselves if they know his exact best role. Is he a 4 who can play on the perimeter after a summer of improving his jumper? If so, his effort, rebounding and defensive potential could be game-altering. But if his skills don’t improve and he’s instead more of a high-energy, undersized 5, he’s less valuable. There’s not much to take away from this season’s tape, so it will be critical for teams to work through the injury factor, his team context and more.

I’ll also just note that it would be smart for Biliew to consider returning to Iowa State. The graduations of Robert Jones, Tre King and Hason Ward would open up minutes for Biliew, even though the Cyclones already brought in Charlotte’s Dishon Jackson as a transfer center. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Iowa State

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Ht: 5-11Wt: 165

Hawkins is one of the best passers in college basketball. The undersized point guard averaged 7.5 assists per game in his first season at Minnesota, setting the school’s single-season record and finishing second nationally in assists per game. He’s ranked in the top 13 in assist rate in each of his three seasons of college basketball. He sees the whole floor really well and does a good job of using his eyes to move defenders and create an opening.

Hawkins also averaged 9.5 points and shot 36.4 percent from 3. He struggles shooting around the rim because of his size, but the jumper is solid. His size can also give him challenges defensively, but he’s an experienced player who knows how to play on both ends. After originally saying he was returning, he was a late addition to the portal.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 5-11Wt: 165

Hawkins is one of the best passers in college basketball. The undersized point guard averaged 7.5 assists per game in his first season at Minnesota, setting the school’s single-season record and finishing second nationally in assists per game. He’s ranked in the top 13 in assist rate in each of his three seasons of college basketball. He sees the whole floor really well and does a good job of using his eyes to move defenders and create an opening.

Hawkins also averaged 9.5 points and shot 36.4 percent from 3. He struggles shooting around the rim because of his size, but the jumper is solid. His size can also give him challenges defensively, but he’s an experienced player who knows how to play on both ends. After originally saying he was returning, he was a late addition to the portal.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

South Florida

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Ht: 6-0Wt: 205

Alexander is back in the portal for the second straight season. He made his mark at Butler, helping the Bulldogs improve by five wins in Big East play. He’s played four years on middling Big East teams and has yet to play in a NCAA Tournament, spending his first three years at St. John’s. Alexander has always produced solid but not spectacular numbers, averaging 11.3, 4.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game this past season. Causing turnovers has always been his greatest skill, ranking in the top 50 in steals rate in three of his first seasons. He’s one of the best there is at heating up his man and taking the ball.

Alexander plays with physicality on the offensive end. He likes to get his body into his man on the drive, using his shoulders and backside to make space for himself. He sees the floor well and does a good job setting his teammates up. He can make the occasional 3 but shooting isn’t his strength. He’s a career 27.6 percent 3-point shooter. Most of his shots come in the paint, using his burst and strength to get where he wants to go. He’s a solid option as a veteran starting point guard, especially if he’s surrounded by shooters and his scoring isn’t really needed. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-0Wt: 205

Alexander is back in the portal for the second straight season. He made his mark at Butler, helping the Bulldogs improve by five wins in Big East play. He’s played four years on middling Big East teams and has yet to play in a NCAA Tournament, spending his first three years at St. John’s. Alexander has always produced solid but not spectacular numbers, averaging 11.3, 4.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game this past season. Causing turnovers has always been his greatest skill, ranking in the top 50 in steals rate in three of his first seasons. He’s one of the best there is at heating up his man and taking the ball.

Alexander plays with physicality on the offensive end. He likes to get his body into his man on the drive, using his shoulders and backside to make space for himself. He sees the floor well and does a good job setting his teammates up. He can make the occasional 3 but shooting isn’t his strength. He’s a career 27.6 percent 3-point shooter. Most of his shots come in the paint, using his burst and strength to get where he wants to go. He’s a solid option as a veteran starting point guard, especially if he’s surrounded by shooters and his scoring isn’t really needed. — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

The first-team All-ASUN guard is one of the best scorers in the transfer portal. He averaged 21.3 points per game and put up 43 points in the ASUN final, plus had some big games against high-majors, dropping 26 points against Central Florida and 32 against Cincinnati this season. He’s also struggled against elite defenses, going for 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting with four assists and four turnovers in the opening around against UConn and scoring 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting and one turnover against Houston in the nonconference.

Blackmon started his career at Grand Canyon, where he didn’t play much, and then spent the last two years at Stetson. Sometimes it’s hard to say how a player like this will translate up multiple levels, but the shooting and ability to get off a shot appears real. He can shoot off the move — 49.5 percent coming off screens, per Synergy — and is also able to create shots off the bounce. He has the quickness to generate his shot. The adjustment will be playing with better players where there’s not a need for him to take such hard shots. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 220

The first-team All-ASUN guard is one of the best scorers in the transfer portal. He averaged 21.3 points per game and put up 43 points in the ASUN final, plus had some big games against high-majors, dropping 26 points against Central Florida and 32 against Cincinnati this season. He’s also struggled against elite defenses, going for 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting with four assists and four turnovers in the opening around against UConn and scoring 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting and one turnover against Houston in the nonconference.

Blackmon started his career at Grand Canyon, where he didn’t play much, and then spent the last two years at Stetson. Sometimes it’s hard to say how a player like this will translate up multiple levels, but the shooting and ability to get off a shot appears real. He can shoot off the move — 49.5 percent coming off screens, per Synergy — and is also able to create shots off the bounce. He has the quickness to generate his shot. The adjustment will be playing with better players where there’s not a need for him to take such hard shots. — C.J. Moore 

1

Committed

South Florida

Miami Hurricanes

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195

A multi-time transfer who started his career at Mississippi State before going to Kansas State, Carter is a battle-tested Big 12 guard who became a more primary option last season to mixed results. As a sophomore in 2022-23, Carter was fifth starter who played 26 minutes a night and focused on tough defensive assignments for an excellent Elite 8 team. His defense, by and large, was there this year too.

But his attempt to take on a larger offensive role next to Tylor Perry was a roller coaster. He had big games, such as a 21-point performance in the Wildcats’ end-of-season win against Iowa State, and had a six-game stretch in January where he averaged 16.5 points while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3. But he also shot his team out of games, going 1-for-7 against TCU, 2-for-12 against Oklahoma, 2-for-10 against Texas and 1-for-7 against Kansas in four losses that would have substantially helped Kansas State’s bubble profile. In total, Carter averaged 14.6 points, five rebounds and 2.6 assists, but shot just 39.1 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3.

Carter is fast enough to push the game in transition and is a shifty driver when using Euro steps and when splitting ball screens. But he’s not a good enough shooter to have a significant offensive role on an NCAA Tournament-caliber high-major team. His defense makes him a valuable player who can start at this level, but he’ll either need to scale back his usage or become a much better shooter. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195

A multi-time transfer who started his career at Mississippi State before going to Kansas State, Carter is a battle-tested Big 12 guard who became a more primary option last season to mixed results. As a sophomore in 2022-23, Carter was fifth starter who played 26 minutes a night and focused on tough defensive assignments for an excellent Elite 8 team. His defense, by and large, was there this year too.

But his attempt to take on a larger offensive role next to Tylor Perry was a roller coaster. He had big games, such as a 21-point performance in the Wildcats’ end-of-season win against Iowa State, and had a six-game stretch in January where he averaged 16.5 points while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from 3. But he also shot his team out of games, going 1-for-7 against TCU, 2-for-12 against Oklahoma, 2-for-10 against Texas and 1-for-7 against Kansas in four losses that would have substantially helped Kansas State’s bubble profile. In total, Carter averaged 14.6 points, five rebounds and 2.6 assists, but shot just 39.1 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3.

Carter is fast enough to push the game in transition and is a shifty driver when using Euro steps and when splitting ball screens. But he’s not a good enough shooter to have a significant offensive role on an NCAA Tournament-caliber high-major team. His defense makes him a valuable player who can start at this level, but he’ll either need to scale back his usage or become a much better shooter. — Sam Vecenie

Carter is an excellent get in what could be an important season for Matt McMahon at LSU. He’s a good creator from the wing and a physical defender, which is something that the team will lose with wing Jordan Wright graduating. The odds are that Carter will be asked to be a secondary creator in the backcourt, which is something he is capable of accomplishing. He’ll be a legitimate starter and should fit well within McMahon’s scheme, where it’s incumbent upon off-guards to slash and take driving lanes given to them after that initial screen.

The question for LSU is whether or not they will need a lead guard or if it will be Jalen Cook. Cook missed the final 10 games of the Tigers’ season, with at least a number of those being due to a suspension for what McMahon called a “failure to meet the standards that I have in place for the program.” In the 13 games he played, he averaged 15.6 points and looked the part of a high-major point guard after transferring back to LSU from Tulane. Cook still has a year of eligibility left, and he hasn’t announced any transfer plans. But we never got final clarity on that end-of-year suspension, so we’re keeping our eyes open to see McMahon’s plans are there.

— Sam Vecenie

Guard

S

Kansas State

LSU Tigers

Ht: 6-3Wt: 185

You know what you’re getting in Kriisa. He’s an elite shooter, especially off the catch (49.4 percent this year, per Synergy) and he can run an offense, knowing the pick-and-roll reads and when to pass ahead in transition. He was the floor general on back-to-back top 10 offenses at Arizona and then put up his best scoring numbers of his career this year on a mediocre West Virginia team, averaging 11 points and shooting a career-best 42.4 percent from 3. At his best, Kriisa plays with a swagger that rubs off on his teammates. He needs to play next to a more dynamic guard who can get into the teeth of the defense and put pressure on the rim, because that’s where he struggles. He’s not going to get a lot of paint touches. He barely ever gets to the rim. He’s an average defender and can struggle at the point of attack, but he is experienced and knows how to play. And there aren’t many shooters who can match him.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-3Wt: 185

You know what you’re getting in Kriisa. He’s an elite shooter, especially off the catch (49.4 percent this year, per Synergy) and he can run an offense, knowing the pick-and-roll reads and when to pass ahead in transition. He was the floor general on back-to-back top 10 offenses at Arizona and then put up his best scoring numbers of his career this year on a mediocre West Virginia team, averaging 11 points and shooting a career-best 42.4 percent from 3. At his best, Kriisa plays with a swagger that rubs off on his teammates. He needs to play next to a more dynamic guard who can get into the teeth of the defense and put pressure on the rim, because that’s where he struggles. He’s not going to get a lot of paint touches. He barely ever gets to the rim. He’s an average defender and can struggle at the point of attack, but he is experienced and knows how to play. And there aren’t many shooters who can match him.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In portal

West Virginia

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 175

Davis moved to Butler last season after earning first-team All-Big West honors at UC Irvine in 2022-23, and his game translated about as well as Bulldogs coach Thad Matta could have expected. Davis started all 33 games this season as the shooting guard next to Posh Alexander, averaging 13.5 points per game on 43 percent from the field, 35.1 percent from 3 and 95 percent from the free-throw line. (Don’t look sideways at that 3-point percentage; Davis’ shot diet had a high degree of difficulty.) He was the team’s most efficient source of offense for the first two-thirds of the season.

Davis has great feel for finding the dead spaces in the defense. He took 50 3-pointers off screens this season and made them at a 40 percent clip, per Synergy. Butler also used him in dribble-hand-off actions, where he’d launch and connect if the defense went under the screen. He’s also fast, and makes himself faster leveraging the threat of his shot to get all the way to the rim and finish. He made about 60 percent of his shots at the rim and about 54 percent of his floater-range shots as well.

Davis did have issues pulling up off the dribble, as he hit only 22.2 percent of those shots from 3 and only 26.7 percent from midrange. He also tailed off late, averaging just 10.9 points and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3 in the team’s 2-7 run to close the season. Opponents seemed to have a better feel for Davis and Butler’s offense the second time around. It’s possible Davis might fit better on a team with more frontcourt offensive punch. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 175

Davis moved to Butler last season after earning first-team All-Big West honors at UC Irvine in 2022-23, and his game translated about as well as Bulldogs coach Thad Matta could have expected. Davis started all 33 games this season as the shooting guard next to Posh Alexander, averaging 13.5 points per game on 43 percent from the field, 35.1 percent from 3 and 95 percent from the free-throw line. (Don’t look sideways at that 3-point percentage; Davis’ shot diet had a high degree of difficulty.) He was the team’s most efficient source of offense for the first two-thirds of the season.

Davis has great feel for finding the dead spaces in the defense. He took 50 3-pointers off screens this season and made them at a 40 percent clip, per Synergy. Butler also used him in dribble-hand-off actions, where he’d launch and connect if the defense went under the screen. He’s also fast, and makes himself faster leveraging the threat of his shot to get all the way to the rim and finish. He made about 60 percent of his shots at the rim and about 54 percent of his floater-range shots as well.

Davis did have issues pulling up off the dribble, as he hit only 22.2 percent of those shots from 3 and only 26.7 percent from midrange. He also tailed off late, averaging just 10.9 points and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3 in the team’s 2-7 run to close the season. Opponents seemed to have a better feel for Davis and Butler’s offense the second time around. It’s possible Davis might fit better on a team with more frontcourt offensive punch. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Butler

Washington Huskies

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 200

A 6-foot-3 scoring guard who has added more to his skill set each season, the Bloomington, Ind. native was a second-team All-Missouri Valley selection this season after averaging 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Though he’s improved as a driver and playmaker, his game is predicated off the threat of his jumper. Hickman drilled 40.2 percent of his nearly six 3-point attempts per game this season, including a 46.2 percent mark on catch-and-shoot 3s. He cannot be left open and will hunt shots off screens when guarded closely, using his improved craft in ball screens and dribble hand-offs. He’s not quite a point guard, but he’s a good enough secondary ballhandler to find success at the high-major level, much like Cormac Ryan has for North Carolina this season.

I know of one team in the Big Ten that happens to be located in Hickman’s home town and desperately need shooters despite being located in a state with arguably the deepest pool of shooting prospects in the country. No pressure, Mike Woodson. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 200

A 6-foot-3 scoring guard who has added more to his skill set each season, the Bloomington, Ind. native was a second-team All-Missouri Valley selection this season after averaging 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Though he’s improved as a driver and playmaker, his game is predicated off the threat of his jumper. Hickman drilled 40.2 percent of his nearly six 3-point attempts per game this season, including a 46.2 percent mark on catch-and-shoot 3s. He cannot be left open and will hunt shots off screens when guarded closely, using his improved craft in ball screens and dribble hand-offs. He’s not quite a point guard, but he’s a good enough secondary ballhandler to find success at the high-major level, much like Cormac Ryan has for North Carolina this season.

I know of one team in the Big Ten that happens to be located in Hickman’s home town and desperately need shooters despite being located in a state with arguably the deepest pool of shooting prospects in the country. No pressure, Mike Woodson. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Bradley

Cincinnati Bearcats

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 192

Clary was Penn State’s leading scorer this season until he was dismissed from the program in February for reasons coach Mike Rhoades has kept to himself. Teams will want to do their own due diligence on what happened after Clary got elbowed in the face against Minnesota on Jan. 27. He missed the next two games and played drastically fewer minutes in the following three before Rhoades dismissed him.

When Clary was at his best, he was a dynamic scoring guard who drilled 37.7 percent of his 3s and used the threat of his shot to attack defenses. He has a unique gift for being able to change directions with the ball while seemingly at full speed. He’s shot just 51 percent on shots at the rim in halfcourt situations, per Synergy, but makes up for his poor finishing with a dynamic floater game. He loves to get into the midrange areas for pull-up jumpers, fading away from awkward angles or using his pivot foot to create separation. He has some passing ability, as evidenced by his 3.8 assists per game, but is more of a score-first guard.

I will note that Penn State was better without him this season. According to Bart Torvik’s rating system, Penn State was the 102nd-best team in the country as of Jan. 27 and 51st from that  point on. The biggest difference was on defense, where the team looked much more cohesive. While I wouldn’t attribute all of that improvement to Clary’s absence, he was quite ambivalent on that end of the floor.

If he’s willing to put in the effort to defend, he’s a clear high-major difference-maker. If he prefers to be ball-dominant and less defensively inclined, schools at the AAC and Atlantic-10 level make more sense for him. He’s one of the most talented players to hit the portal this year, but must be willing to focus on the details to reach his ceiling. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 192

Clary was Penn State’s leading scorer this season until he was dismissed from the program in February for reasons coach Mike Rhoades has kept to himself. Teams will want to do their own due diligence on what happened after Clary got elbowed in the face against Minnesota on Jan. 27. He missed the next two games and played drastically fewer minutes in the following three before Rhoades dismissed him.

When Clary was at his best, he was a dynamic scoring guard who drilled 37.7 percent of his 3s and used the threat of his shot to attack defenses. He has a unique gift for being able to change directions with the ball while seemingly at full speed. He’s shot just 51 percent on shots at the rim in halfcourt situations, per Synergy, but makes up for his poor finishing with a dynamic floater game. He loves to get into the midrange areas for pull-up jumpers, fading away from awkward angles or using his pivot foot to create separation. He has some passing ability, as evidenced by his 3.8 assists per game, but is more of a score-first guard.

I will note that Penn State was better without him this season. According to Bart Torvik’s rating system, Penn State was the 102nd-best team in the country as of Jan. 27 and 51st from that  point on. The biggest difference was on defense, where the team looked much more cohesive. While I wouldn’t attribute all of that improvement to Clary’s absence, he was quite ambivalent on that end of the floor.

If he’s willing to put in the effort to defend, he’s a clear high-major difference-maker. If he prefers to be ball-dominant and less defensively inclined, schools at the AAC and Atlantic-10 level make more sense for him. He’s one of the most talented players to hit the portal this year, but must be willing to focus on the details to reach his ceiling. — Sam Vecenie

Clary is an extremely skilled player, and Mississippi State coach Chris Jans has a strong track record of success when taking chances on players at second stops — likely a function of his long junior college history. At first glance, you might have some concerns on how Clary and star 5-foot-10 guard Josh Hubbard fit. Hubbard was one of the best freshmen in the SEC this year, and has earned the right to have the ball in his hands.

However, Jans teams have always been at their best with two smaller, creative guards. This year, Dashawn Davis and Shakeel Moore played regularly with Hubbard on the team’s No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, it was Davis and Moore together on their NCAA Tournament team. At New Mexico State, it was AJ Harris plus a mix of Terrell Brown, Sidy N’Dir, Keyon Jones and other small players on their tournament teams. Both Hubbard and Clary are tremendous scorers of the basketball and will get a lot of freedom to play with the ball in their hands.

— Sam Vecenie

Guard

In portal

Penn State

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 230

Kyle is a tremendous athlete who threw down 101 dunks this year, per Synergy, on his way to 13.1 points while shooting 62.3 percent from the field. He was named first team All-Summit League this year for the Jackrabbits, who made the NCAA Tournament.

Everything with Kyle is forceful. He gets off the ground quickly, using his long arms to punish the rim. Almost all of his shots come around the basket, where South Dakota State largely used him on the block or out of the dunker spot. He shouldn’t expect many post touches at his next stop, but he had some fun moments as a rim-runner in ball screens and should be able to catch and finish dump-off passes. He runs the court well in transition and crushes the offensive glass.

But teams recruiting Kyle are doing so for his potential defensive impact. Kyle was the Summer League Defensive Player of the Year last season, averaging 1.7 blocks per game. His activity was the key reason the Jackrabbits had the best 2-point defense in the league.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s coming off one of his best games of the season in the NCAA Tournament, when he notched 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists against Iowa State. The Cyclones make sense as a destination for Kyle given the close relationship between the South Dakota State and Iowa State staffs and the Cyclones’ need on the interior. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 230

Kyle is a tremendous athlete who threw down 101 dunks this year, per Synergy, on his way to 13.1 points while shooting 62.3 percent from the field. He was named first team All-Summit League this year for the Jackrabbits, who made the NCAA Tournament.

Everything with Kyle is forceful. He gets off the ground quickly, using his long arms to punish the rim. Almost all of his shots come around the basket, where South Dakota State largely used him on the block or out of the dunker spot. He shouldn’t expect many post touches at his next stop, but he had some fun moments as a rim-runner in ball screens and should be able to catch and finish dump-off passes. He runs the court well in transition and crushes the offensive glass.

But teams recruiting Kyle are doing so for his potential defensive impact. Kyle was the Summer League Defensive Player of the Year last season, averaging 1.7 blocks per game. His activity was the key reason the Jackrabbits had the best 2-point defense in the league.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s coming off one of his best games of the season in the NCAA Tournament, when he notched 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists against Iowa State. The Cyclones make sense as a destination for Kyle given the close relationship between the South Dakota State and Iowa State staffs and the Cyclones’ need on the interior. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

South Dakota State

UCLA Bruins

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Which version of Mashburn should his new team expect to get? He was arguably the foundational piece of New Mexico’s rebirth under Richard Pitino in his first two seasons. In 2022-23, Mashburn was a first-team All-Mountain West performer, averaging 19.1 points per game and drilling 38.2 percent of his 3s. The season before, he averaged 18.2 points and was third-team All-MWC. But Mashburn took a step back this season, falling behind Donovan Dent and Jaelen House in the pecking order while scoring 14.1 points per game on just 36 percent from the field.

A combo guard, Mashburn can fill it up once he gets going, but has never been consistent beyond the arc as he has been inside it. Mashburn wants to live in the 10-to-15-foot range around the elbows and at least made 35 percent of his 212 open catch-and-shoot 3s over the past two seasons, per Synergy. But his pull-up 3-point numbers haven’t been good enough, nor has he consistently finished well around the rim. Every shot he takes around the basket seems to have a high degree of difficulty.

Mashburn’s aggressiveness in hunting shots has value, and it should translate to the  high-major level due to his decisiveness and experience. Will those shots be efficient ones? Your guess is as good as mine. But he is a good fit for an uptempo team as a sixth man or, potentially, a fifth starter with the right defensive infrastructure around him. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-2Wt: 195

Which version of Mashburn should his new team expect to get? He was arguably the foundational piece of New Mexico’s rebirth under Richard Pitino in his first two seasons. In 2022-23, Mashburn was a first-team All-Mountain West performer, averaging 19.1 points per game and drilling 38.2 percent of his 3s. The season before, he averaged 18.2 points and was third-team All-MWC. But Mashburn took a step back this season, falling behind Donovan Dent and Jaelen House in the pecking order while scoring 14.1 points per game on just 36 percent from the field.

A combo guard, Mashburn can fill it up once he gets going, but has never been consistent beyond the arc as he has been inside it. Mashburn wants to live in the 10-to-15-foot range around the elbows and at least made 35 percent of his 212 open catch-and-shoot 3s over the past two seasons, per Synergy. But his pull-up 3-point numbers haven’t been good enough, nor has he consistently finished well around the rim. Every shot he takes around the basket seems to have a high degree of difficulty.

Mashburn’s aggressiveness in hunting shots has value, and it should translate to the  high-major level due to his decisiveness and experience. Will those shots be efficient ones? Your guess is as good as mine. But he is a good fit for an uptempo team as a sixth man or, potentially, a fifth starter with the right defensive infrastructure around him. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

New Mexico

Temple Owls

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 265

Lampkin took the college hoops world by storm late in the season as a fun, big-bodied post presence for Colorado. After starting his career at TCU, Lampkin moved to Boulder and had the best season of his career, averaging 10.6 points and seven rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field.
Almost all of Lampkin’s touches come around the rim, particularly on the block. He’s an absolute load down there who throws his weight around, especially against skinnier bigs. In the Buffaloes’ last 13 games, when they went 10-3, Lampkin improved his numbers to 12 points, seven rebounds and 2.4 assists per game on 63.2 percent shooting from the field. He’s sneakily a sharp passer who can find cutters when teams double-team him.

There are downsides that other schools must consider. Lampkin couldn’t have been in a better offensive position this year, as Colorado constantly surrounded him with four shooters. Additionally, Lampkin is a poor defender who does not provide any rim protection. He’ll take up space, but Colorado’s opponents were able to parade to the hoop this season. Unsurprisingly given his body type, he’s also a liability in space, as Marquette showed in Colorado’s Round of 32 NCAA Tournament defeat. Finally, though he’s a strong passer, he can be turnover-prone when crowded.

But teams who deploy post-centric offenses and feature rosters loaded with shooting can make Lampkin an impactful offensive starting center. He has soft touch and plays with an attitude that is infectious to his teammates. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 265

Lampkin took the college hoops world by storm late in the season as a fun, big-bodied post presence for Colorado. After starting his career at TCU, Lampkin moved to Boulder and had the best season of his career, averaging 10.6 points and seven rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field.
Almost all of Lampkin’s touches come around the rim, particularly on the block. He’s an absolute load down there who throws his weight around, especially against skinnier bigs. In the Buffaloes’ last 13 games, when they went 10-3, Lampkin improved his numbers to 12 points, seven rebounds and 2.4 assists per game on 63.2 percent shooting from the field. He’s sneakily a sharp passer who can find cutters when teams double-team him.

There are downsides that other schools must consider. Lampkin couldn’t have been in a better offensive position this year, as Colorado constantly surrounded him with four shooters. Additionally, Lampkin is a poor defender who does not provide any rim protection. He’ll take up space, but Colorado’s opponents were able to parade to the hoop this season. Unsurprisingly given his body type, he’s also a liability in space, as Marquette showed in Colorado’s Round of 32 NCAA Tournament defeat. Finally, though he’s a strong passer, he can be turnover-prone when crowded.

But teams who deploy post-centric offenses and feature rosters loaded with shooting can make Lampkin an impactful offensive starting center. He has soft touch and plays with an attitude that is infectious to his teammates. — Sam Vecenie

I haven’t been one of Lampkin’s biggest fans for many of the reasons we saw in Colorado’s Round of 32 loss to Marquette, when the Golden Eagles repeatedly attacked him in ball screens. Lampkin’s not a good rim protector in drop coverage and he’s not mobile enough to switch.

One way to mitigate his defensive issues is to deploy him in a zone, where he could take up space inside and use his size and length at the basket. The Orange used much less zone in Red Autry’s first season than they did under Jim Boeheim — just 20 percent of their defensive possessions, per Synergy. Syracuse was quite poor on defense last season, finishing 13th in the ACC in defensive rating while giving up 111 points per 100 possessions, per KenPom. So perhaps Lampkin’s recruitment signals a desire to go back to more zone next season.

If the Orange plan to use a similar amount of man-to-man again next season, I do not think Lampkin will be a particularly successful addition. But Lampkin is undeniably skilled on offense and will give the team a real post presence, something it lacked this season following the departure of Jesse Edwards. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Colorado

Syracuse Orange

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220

Anyone looking for a versatile big who can play both the 4 and the 5 should be intrigued by Brown-Jones, a first-team All-Southern Conference choice who originally started his career at VCU before moving down a level to Greensboro and thriving. He averaged 18.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season on a good 21-win team in the league.

Brown-Joens is a versatile big man offensively who served in a lot of roles for Greensboro. The Spartans posted him with reasonable success because he was a foul-drawing machine at the SoCon level. He has excellent hands that were always available for dump-off passes in the dunker spot, and he occasionally spotted up and fired from 3. He can act as a screener or dribble-hand-off player in ball screens, then roll all the way to the rim or pop for 3. He’s not the best passer or playmaker, but he rarely makes mistakes.

Defensively, Brown-Jones is a bit small to control the paint at the high-major level, but was useful rotating across from the opposite side to make his presence felt. He got a bit stationary on defense at times last season, but was more active at VCU, which makes me think he’ll be a better defender as his offensive role scales down.

There’s no doubt Brown-Jones is a high-major player, but his exact role depends on the team that gets him. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220

Anyone looking for a versatile big who can play both the 4 and the 5 should be intrigued by Brown-Jones, a first-team All-Southern Conference choice who originally started his career at VCU before moving down a level to Greensboro and thriving. He averaged 18.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season on a good 21-win team in the league.

Brown-Joens is a versatile big man offensively who served in a lot of roles for Greensboro. The Spartans posted him with reasonable success because he was a foul-drawing machine at the SoCon level. He has excellent hands that were always available for dump-off passes in the dunker spot, and he occasionally spotted up and fired from 3. He can act as a screener or dribble-hand-off player in ball screens, then roll all the way to the rim or pop for 3. He’s not the best passer or playmaker, but he rarely makes mistakes.

Defensively, Brown-Jones is a bit small to control the paint at the high-major level, but was useful rotating across from the opposite side to make his presence felt. He got a bit stationary on defense at times last season, but was more active at VCU, which makes me think he’ll be a better defender as his offensive role scales down.

There’s no doubt Brown-Jones is a high-major player, but his exact role depends on the team that gets him. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

UNC-Greensboro

Ole Miss Rebels

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 255

Dainja started the final 21 games of his sophomore season, but saw his playing time decrease this season after Illinois leaned into a more open style, playing stretch big Coleman Hawkins at center and bringing Dainja off the bench.

When Dainja was on the floor and engaged, he was one of the most productive per-minute big men in the Big Ten. His averages don’t pop off the page — 6.1 points per game this season, 9.5 last campaign — but that’s mostly a result of playing time. He’s talented enough to be a go-to guy in the right system, with extremely soft touch and hands. He’s efficient, shooting 66.9 percent from the field this season. He’s also an elite offensive rebounder who would have ranked 11th in offensive rebounding rate nationally if he’d played enough minutes to qualify. While the Illini didn’t throw Dainja the ball a ton in the post, he’s capable as a back-to-the-basket scorer.

Dainja had his best game of the year in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, scoring 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks against Morehead State. He gave more effort on defense late in the season, and the Illini were stingier with him on the floor.

Dainja started his career at Baylor, redshirting on the 2021 national title team and then transferring as a sophomore mid-year after playing in only three games. His biggest weakness is at the free throw line: He gets there often, but is only a career 50.9 percent shooter. — C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 255

Dainja started the final 21 games of his sophomore season, but saw his playing time decrease this season after Illinois leaned into a more open style, playing stretch big Coleman Hawkins at center and bringing Dainja off the bench.

When Dainja was on the floor and engaged, he was one of the most productive per-minute big men in the Big Ten. His averages don’t pop off the page — 6.1 points per game this season, 9.5 last campaign — but that’s mostly a result of playing time. He’s talented enough to be a go-to guy in the right system, with extremely soft touch and hands. He’s efficient, shooting 66.9 percent from the field this season. He’s also an elite offensive rebounder who would have ranked 11th in offensive rebounding rate nationally if he’d played enough minutes to qualify. While the Illini didn’t throw Dainja the ball a ton in the post, he’s capable as a back-to-the-basket scorer.

Dainja had his best game of the year in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, scoring 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks against Morehead State. He gave more effort on defense late in the season, and the Illini were stingier with him on the floor.

Dainja started his career at Baylor, redshirting on the 2021 national title team and then transferring as a sophomore mid-year after playing in only three games. His biggest weakness is at the free throw line: He gets there often, but is only a career 50.9 percent shooter. — C.J. Moore

Memphis continues a strong couple of days in the portal, winning over Dainja after getting Tulsa scorer PJ Haggerty locked in the day before. The 6-foot-9 Dainja will give Penny Hardaway and company the kind of big-bodied post scorer the Tigers have lacked since Jalen Duren left in 2022.

As a former top-100 recruit, Dainja has always left coaches and scouts believing there was more to his game than he’s shown so far. Maybe Memphis will be the place to tease that potential out. The Tigers’ only frontcourt player right now is Nick Jourdain, whose ability to step out and shoot should blend nicely with Dainja’s interior scoring. The Tigers also tend to bet big on offensive rebounding under Hardaway, and Dainja’s long arms should create plenty of second chances, even if having him crash the offensive glass could lead to more odd-man transition breaks for opponents.

Defense will be key; Dainja needs to keep his energy high on that end for a Memphis team that finished outside of the top-100 in points allowed per 100 possessions. But the best way for Hardaway to improve that mark is to continue to recruit high-effort perimeter defenders that fight around screens well in order to account for Dainja in drop coverage.

— Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Illinois

Memphis Tigers

Ht: 6-2Wt: 180

Isaacs is an adventure. It’s fun when he’s running hot. but he can also shoot his team out of a game. The one guarantee is he’s going to shoot. A lot. He averaged 15.8 points on 14.1 shots this season. He is wired to score and attack. He’s not that fast but seems to figure out a way to get past defenders. He’s good at changing speeds and knowing when he can gain leverage. He can make some tough passes and sees the floor well, but he prefers to shoot over passing. That’s why it’s tough to play him on the ball. He takes a lot of contested jumpers and shot just 29.3 percent from 3 this season after shooting 37.8 percent as a freshman. He struggles to finish at the rim, shooting 48.3 percent this season, per Synergy. Defensively, Isaacs is someone teams are going to hunt. He’s competitive and will battle, but he has his limitations.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-2Wt: 180

Isaacs is an adventure. It’s fun when he’s running hot. but he can also shoot his team out of a game. The one guarantee is he’s going to shoot. A lot. He averaged 15.8 points on 14.1 shots this season. He is wired to score and attack. He’s not that fast but seems to figure out a way to get past defenders. He’s good at changing speeds and knowing when he can gain leverage. He can make some tough passes and sees the floor well, but he prefers to shoot over passing. That’s why it’s tough to play him on the ball. He takes a lot of contested jumpers and shot just 29.3 percent from 3 this season after shooting 37.8 percent as a freshman. He struggles to finish at the rim, shooting 48.3 percent this season, per Synergy. Defensively, Isaacs is someone teams are going to hunt. He’s competitive and will battle, but he has his limitations.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

Texas Tech

Creighton Bluejays

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 193

Griffiths was one of my favorite freshmen in this class, and he can absolutely shoot from distance despite what the numbers say this year. There just wasn’t anyone to get him the ball for most of this year. It’s not an accident that he started to play better when Jeremiah Williams regained his eligibility, and the last seven games of the year were solid: He hit 37 percent of his 3s down the stretch and looked strong in the Big Ten tournament loss to Maryland.

Having said that, there were also very significant growing pains. Griffiths struggled a lot on the defensive end, which seemed to hold him out of lineups. On top of that, it felt like he started to press for about a two-month period in December and January, never quite getting into rhythm. All told, the season was a disappointment, but I’m willing to bet on Griffiths, and I’d bet a number of other high-major schools would, too.
 — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 193

Griffiths was one of my favorite freshmen in this class, and he can absolutely shoot from distance despite what the numbers say this year. There just wasn’t anyone to get him the ball for most of this year. It’s not an accident that he started to play better when Jeremiah Williams regained his eligibility, and the last seven games of the year were solid: He hit 37 percent of his 3s down the stretch and looked strong in the Big Ten tournament loss to Maryland.

Having said that, there were also very significant growing pains. Griffiths struggled a lot on the defensive end, which seemed to hold him out of lineups. On top of that, it felt like he started to press for about a two-month period in December and January, never quite getting into rhythm. All told, the season was a disappointment, but I’m willing to bet on Griffiths, and I’d bet a number of other high-major schools would, too.
 — Sam Vecenie 

Wing

Committed

Rutgers

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 203

Booth, a four-star recruit coming out of high school and the son of 10-year NBA veteran and current Denver Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth, averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season while making 19 starts.

The younger Booth preferred to hang around the perimeter at Notre Dame, taking more 3s (118) than 2s (74). The problem was he wasn’t very efficient, making only 29.7 percent of his triples. Run him off the line, and he was even worse, struggling to make pull-up jumpers. I don’t love his shot mechanics; he brings the ball close to his face as he starts his shooting motion and has a low release, which negates the perks of being a big man who can shoot.

But there is reason to be optimistic about the player he could become. While he played as a stretch four for the Fighting Irish, his best college position is probably as a center in a five-out offense, especially if he’s ever able to consistently make his jumper. He’ll need to get stronger to play that spot, but he has a good frame for a young player and was a solid team defender who was usually in the right spot.

He’s still 18 and doesn’t turn 19 until July. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 203

Booth, a four-star recruit coming out of high school and the son of 10-year NBA veteran and current Denver Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth, averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season while making 19 starts.

The younger Booth preferred to hang around the perimeter at Notre Dame, taking more 3s (118) than 2s (74). The problem was he wasn’t very efficient, making only 29.7 percent of his triples. Run him off the line, and he was even worse, struggling to make pull-up jumpers. I don’t love his shot mechanics; he brings the ball close to his face as he starts his shooting motion and has a low release, which negates the perks of being a big man who can shoot.

But there is reason to be optimistic about the player he could become. While he played as a stretch four for the Fighting Irish, his best college position is probably as a center in a five-out offense, especially if he’s ever able to consistently make his jumper. He’ll need to get stronger to play that spot, but he has a good frame for a young player and was a solid team defender who was usually in the right spot.

He’s still 18 and doesn’t turn 19 until July. — C.J. Moore 

Center

Committed

Miami (Fla.)

Illinois Fighting Illini

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 200

Not many players can realistically call themselves the best athlete in the portal, but Copeland is one of them. He’s lightning in a bottle on a basketball court, averaging 9.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals in just 22 minutes per game last season while playing some point guard and some off the ball for the Orange. He does things on the court that few can, from long hang-time finger rolls to spinning, whirling layups. His jump stops seem to cover eight feet, which is absurd.

Copeland pairs those athletic gifts with tremendous passing ability. He reads ball screens well and throws some of the most impressive live-dribble passes you’ll ever see on a court. I’m taking 20-foot wrap-arounds into tight windows, hook passes to rollers with ease, touch lobs, sharp dump-offs and more.

There is a wildness to his game that can be both intoxicating and frustrating for his team. He’ll turn the ball trying to do the spectacular. On top of that, he can’t really shoot. He made just 25 percent of his 3s and did not look particularly comfortable taking them in any circumstance.

But sometimes, the lightbulb comes on in a hurry with guys this athletic and with such a natural feel for the game. If it does, he might be truly special. Maybe he merely ends up as an impact backup like he was at Syracuse. But if he hits, he’s really going to hit. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 200

Not many players can realistically call themselves the best athlete in the portal, but Copeland is one of them. He’s lightning in a bottle on a basketball court, averaging 9.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals in just 22 minutes per game last season while playing some point guard and some off the ball for the Orange. He does things on the court that few can, from long hang-time finger rolls to spinning, whirling layups. His jump stops seem to cover eight feet, which is absurd.

Copeland pairs those athletic gifts with tremendous passing ability. He reads ball screens well and throws some of the most impressive live-dribble passes you’ll ever see on a court. I’m taking 20-foot wrap-arounds into tight windows, hook passes to rollers with ease, touch lobs, sharp dump-offs and more.

There is a wildness to his game that can be both intoxicating and frustrating for his team. He’ll turn the ball trying to do the spectacular. On top of that, he can’t really shoot. He made just 25 percent of his 3s and did not look particularly comfortable taking them in any circumstance.

But sometimes, the lightbulb comes on in a hurry with guys this athletic and with such a natural feel for the game. If it does, he might be truly special. Maybe he merely ends up as an impact backup like he was at Syracuse. But if he hits, he’s really going to hit. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 195

The former Virginia Tech player has had a strange start to his collegiate career. A former top-100 recruit who played at legendary Maryland powerhouse program DeMatha Catholic, Rice was hailed as a coup for Mike Young and co., who also brought in his former DeMatha coach Mike Jones to their staff. Rice dealt with an ankle injury early in his freshman season that kept him out until January, then broke his hand after playing one game against Syracuse and missed another five weeks. Then, after Jones decided to leave Virginia Tech to become an assistant at Maryland, Rice chose not to play this season and left the Virginia Tech program.

Rice has real upside. A combo guard who had offers from all over the place as a recruit, Rice is a crafty ballhandler, using sudden change-of-direction moves that include crossovers and spins. He’s not wildly explosive, but he uses his sharp handle to get to his spots. He’s more of a scorer than a passer and has no problem firing confident jumpers from distance when he gets even a bit of daylight.

His odd circumstances mean, in all likelihood, he will have four seasons of eligibility left. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 195

The former Virginia Tech player has had a strange start to his collegiate career. A former top-100 recruit who played at legendary Maryland powerhouse program DeMatha Catholic, Rice was hailed as a coup for Mike Young and co., who also brought in his former DeMatha coach Mike Jones to their staff. Rice dealt with an ankle injury early in his freshman season that kept him out until January, then broke his hand after playing one game against Syracuse and missed another five weeks. Then, after Jones decided to leave Virginia Tech to become an assistant at Maryland, Rice chose not to play this season and left the Virginia Tech program.

Rice has real upside. A combo guard who had offers from all over the place as a recruit, Rice is a crafty ballhandler, using sudden change-of-direction moves that include crossovers and spins. He’s not wildly explosive, but he uses his sharp handle to get to his spots. He’s more of a scorer than a passer and has no problem firing confident jumpers from distance when he gets even a bit of daylight.

His odd circumstances mean, in all likelihood, he will have four seasons of eligibility left. — Sam Vecenie

Rice will be heading to Kevin Willard’s Terps next season, even though Jones departed to become the head coach at Old Dominion. Willard succeeded for a long time at Seton Hall with combo scoring guards, whether they were purer shooters like Myles Powell, pull-up threats like Khadeen Carrington or attack-oriented drivers like Isaiah Whitehead. With last season’s starting point guard Jahmir Young departing and the rest of the backcourt cupboard bare outside of DeShawn Harris-Smith and role player Jahari Long, Rice projects as a starter next season and should help boost a Terps unit in desperate need of offensive firepower and shooting.

— Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Virginia Tech

Maryland Terrapins

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 220

Humrichous is a big shooter with athleticism, firing away from NBA range and spacing the floor. He’s a threat from anywhere inside 28 feet. He’ll come around screens and dribble-handoffs and fire if you go under. He’ll trail in transition and stop and pop off the catch. Or, he’ll just spot up and fire. Humrichous averaged 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from 3 in his first D-I season after playing three years at NAIA Huntington University.

Unlike fellow Missouri Valley shooter Cade Tyson, Humrichous hasn’t shown much off the bounce, but he can drive the ball and use his size to shield defenders from the shot, as well as attacking closeouts when necessary. He missed eight games with a foot injury this year, and Evansville went 1-7 in those games, including matchups with Cincinnati, Indiana State, Bradley and Drake that would have been nice evaluation opportunities. And by and large, it did feel like he struggled to get shots against the good teams Evansville played.

That’s the big question as he presumably looks toward the high-major level: Without having faced a ton of high-end competition, what exactly does his game look like against elite athletes? That question ended up sliding him down the board a bit for me. But if we look up and Humrichous is averaging 14 points while shooting 40 percent from 3 on an NCAA Tournament team next year, I won’t be surprised by that, either. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-9 Wt: 220

Humrichous is a big shooter with athleticism, firing away from NBA range and spacing the floor. He’s a threat from anywhere inside 28 feet. He’ll come around screens and dribble-handoffs and fire if you go under. He’ll trail in transition and stop and pop off the catch. Or, he’ll just spot up and fire. Humrichous averaged 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from 3 in his first D-I season after playing three years at NAIA Huntington University.

Unlike fellow Missouri Valley shooter Cade Tyson, Humrichous hasn’t shown much off the bounce, but he can drive the ball and use his size to shield defenders from the shot, as well as attacking closeouts when necessary. He missed eight games with a foot injury this year, and Evansville went 1-7 in those games, including matchups with Cincinnati, Indiana State, Bradley and Drake that would have been nice evaluation opportunities. And by and large, it did feel like he struggled to get shots against the good teams Evansville played.

That’s the big question as he presumably looks toward the high-major level: Without having faced a ton of high-end competition, what exactly does his game look like against elite athletes? That question ended up sliding him down the board a bit for me. But if we look up and Humrichous is averaging 14 points while shooting 40 percent from 3 on an NCAA Tournament team next year, I won’t be surprised by that, either. — Sam Vecenie 

Wing

Committed

Evansville

Illinois Fighting Illini

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 200

A starting guard on Furman’s team that beat Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in 2023, Foster took another leap this year. Basically every look for Foster within Bob Richey’s offense was either a shot at the rim or a catch-and-shoot 3. When Foster got a chance to attack in transition, he’d get downhill and finish through contact extremely well. He’s not a monster athlete in terms of explosiveness, but he carves out space well with his pivot foot, uses his shoulders to brush off defenders on drives and does a fantastic job of playing through the whistle. Foster only had one dunk all year, per Synergy, despite taking a significant number of his shots at the rim.

His numbers from distance weren’t great this year, as he only made 29.7 percent of his 3s, But he was extremely confident taking them, with about seven attempts per game. In the previous two years as a starter alongside 2023 NBA draft pick Jalen Slawson, Foster was much more effective from deep. He’ll need to get his shot off quicker, and it feels like he’s often not ready to catch and fire immediately. But he’s also a monster rebounder for a guard, averaging 7.5 per game this season. He plays hard, has a high-major frame, and should be ready to go. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 200

A starting guard on Furman’s team that beat Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in 2023, Foster took another leap this year. Basically every look for Foster within Bob Richey’s offense was either a shot at the rim or a catch-and-shoot 3. When Foster got a chance to attack in transition, he’d get downhill and finish through contact extremely well. He’s not a monster athlete in terms of explosiveness, but he carves out space well with his pivot foot, uses his shoulders to brush off defenders on drives and does a fantastic job of playing through the whistle. Foster only had one dunk all year, per Synergy, despite taking a significant number of his shots at the rim.

His numbers from distance weren’t great this year, as he only made 29.7 percent of his 3s, But he was extremely confident taking them, with about seven attempts per game. In the previous two years as a starter alongside 2023 NBA draft pick Jalen Slawson, Foster was much more effective from deep. He’ll need to get his shot off quicker, and it feels like he’s often not ready to catch and fire immediately. But he’s also a monster rebounder for a guard, averaging 7.5 per game this season. He plays hard, has a high-major frame, and should be ready to go. — Sam Vecenie 

With Quincy Olivari departing, the Musketeers need someone else who can knock down shots. Foster isn’t the shooter Olivari is, but very few are. He should enter the fold as a top-six player in the team’s rotation that plays physically and provides offensive firepower. I can’t imagine this is Sean Miller’s only move in the portal this year, even with Dayvion McKnight returning. But the team does have a solid upperclassman backcourt to build around now in McKnight, Foster and rising junior Desmond Claude. Throw in upside wing Dailyn Swain, and there is a lot to work with here. They should be in a solid position to get back to the NCAA Tournament next season with a few solid frontcourt additions.

— Sam Vecenie

Guard

338

Furman

Xavier Musketeers

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 185

A four-time All-Horizon League honoree, Warrick has big-game experience and a lot of talent on the ball. His goal every time he touches it is to push the ball down the court and pressure the defense immediately, driving transition play with his aggression. But then in the halfcourt, Warrick can play both on and off the ball as a primary scorer. He loves to get to his Eurostep if he’s on the right side or put his shoulder into his man on the left side and finish with his preferred hand.

Warrick’s 29.8 percent mark from 3 this year doesn’t look great, but he made 36.6 percent of his nearly 600 3s in the prior three seasons and has really deep range. The problem this year was that he had to take nearly half of his 3s off the dribble, per Synergy, which is a tough way to live when you’re not overly shifty or explosive. But given that he can attack in a straight line, finish at the rim and knock down shots off the catch, I like Warrick’s chances of transitioning well to the high-major level. He’s Northern Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer, and he got there on four good teams. He’s tough and physical, with touch and a nose for the bucket. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 185

A four-time All-Horizon League honoree, Warrick has big-game experience and a lot of talent on the ball. His goal every time he touches it is to push the ball down the court and pressure the defense immediately, driving transition play with his aggression. But then in the halfcourt, Warrick can play both on and off the ball as a primary scorer. He loves to get to his Eurostep if he’s on the right side or put his shoulder into his man on the left side and finish with his preferred hand.

Warrick’s 29.8 percent mark from 3 this year doesn’t look great, but he made 36.6 percent of his nearly 600 3s in the prior three seasons and has really deep range. The problem this year was that he had to take nearly half of his 3s off the dribble, per Synergy, which is a tough way to live when you’re not overly shifty or explosive. But given that he can attack in a straight line, finish at the rim and knock down shots off the catch, I like Warrick’s chances of transitioning well to the high-major level. He’s Northern Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer, and he got there on four good teams. He’s tough and physical, with touch and a nose for the bucket. — Sam Vecenie 

Guard

Committed

Northern Kentucky

Missouri Tigers

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 205

A three-year starter at Toledo, Moss has experienced plenty of regular-season success and an equal amount of conference tournament disappointment in his career.

In that time, Moss effectively made the leap from backcourt role player to primary option. More than half of Moss’ shot attempts this year came at the rim, and he finished at an above-average clip for a guard while drawing five free throw attempts per game. He’ll push in transition, use ball screens, or reject them to surge to the hoop. Toledo’s well-timed, sharply executed offense under Tod Kowalczyk helps Moss find driving lanes. Moss did at times overpenetrate and get into trouble underneath the rim, but he was an unselfish passer as well.

Moss’ main issue is he’s an inconsistent shooter. It takes him a long time to load into his shot, so don’t expect him to fire much off the bounce as he moves up to a higher level. There is some scope for him to improve off the catch; his jumper isn’t completely broken and he actually made 35 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s this year, per Synergy.

Moss should expect to make an immediate impact for a high-major on defense. He’s aggressive at the point-of-attack, cutting off lanes using his quickness and 205-pound frame. He made the MAC All-Defensive team, and though he wasn’t the team’s primary defender against top options, he used his physicality to average 1.7 steals per game.

I believe Moss can make an impact at a high major next season, so long as his new team does not surround him with too many non-shooters. Any team in need of rim pressure and perimeter defense should take a look. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 205

A three-year starter at Toledo, Moss has experienced plenty of regular-season success and an equal amount of conference tournament disappointment in his career.

In that time, Moss effectively made the leap from backcourt role player to primary option. More than half of Moss’ shot attempts this year came at the rim, and he finished at an above-average clip for a guard while drawing five free throw attempts per game. He’ll push in transition, use ball screens, or reject them to surge to the hoop. Toledo’s well-timed, sharply executed offense under Tod Kowalczyk helps Moss find driving lanes. Moss did at times overpenetrate and get into trouble underneath the rim, but he was an unselfish passer as well.

Moss’ main issue is he’s an inconsistent shooter. It takes him a long time to load into his shot, so don’t expect him to fire much off the bounce as he moves up to a higher level. There is some scope for him to improve off the catch; his jumper isn’t completely broken and he actually made 35 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s this year, per Synergy.

Moss should expect to make an immediate impact for a high-major on defense. He’s aggressive at the point-of-attack, cutting off lanes using his quickness and 205-pound frame. He made the MAC All-Defensive team, and though he wasn’t the team’s primary defender against top options, he used his physicality to average 1.7 steals per game.

I believe Moss can make an impact at a high major next season, so long as his new team does not surround him with too many non-shooters. Any team in need of rim pressure and perimeter defense should take a look. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Toledo

Oregon Ducks

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 200

Anyone in need of a scoring guard that’s been through the rigors of the SEC? What’s that? Everyone could use that? That’s good news for Lawrence, who averaged 13.8 points this season in his second year as a full-time starter at Vanderbilt.

The lefty guard loves to drive to the rim, where his strong 200-pound frame allows him to score through contact. His mechanics loading into his shot are slow, but he did at least attempt about four 3s per game. He has good length and the frame to impact games on defense, but was less consistent than you’d expect on that end. Sometimes he really brings it. Other times, his energy was a bit lacking.

He’s an ideal third guard for a high-major NCAA Tournament team. He’s older, has more of a track record and possessed a flair for the dramatic at Vandy with a couple of game-winners.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 200

Anyone in need of a scoring guard that’s been through the rigors of the SEC? What’s that? Everyone could use that? That’s good news for Lawrence, who averaged 13.8 points this season in his second year as a full-time starter at Vanderbilt.

The lefty guard loves to drive to the rim, where his strong 200-pound frame allows him to score through contact. His mechanics loading into his shot are slow, but he did at least attempt about four 3s per game. He has good length and the frame to impact games on defense, but was less consistent than you’d expect on that end. Sometimes he really brings it. Other times, his energy was a bit lacking.

He’s an ideal third guard for a high-major NCAA Tournament team. He’s older, has more of a track record and possessed a flair for the dramatic at Vandy with a couple of game-winners.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5Wt: 150

Overton started every game this season for a Drake team that won 28 games and pushed Washington State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before ultimately falling. The first-year player averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and was the second-leading freshman scorer in the Missouri Valley. His job was pretty simple: Spot up around Tucker DeVries and Atin Wright in halfcourt situations and attack in transition when given the opportunity. He can finish with both hands around the rim and looked the part athletically against some tough teams.

His release is a bit funky out in front of his face, but his shot preparation is excellent. He had some intriguing relocation moments against heavy closeouts, but for the most part, his new team will want him to either catch and shoot, or catch and attack the rim.

With Drake coach Darian DeVries heading to West Virginia, it’s no surprise Overton is leaving. The question now is whether Overton follows his coach to Morgantown.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5Wt: 150

Overton started every game this season for a Drake team that won 28 games and pushed Washington State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before ultimately falling. The first-year player averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and was the second-leading freshman scorer in the Missouri Valley. His job was pretty simple: Spot up around Tucker DeVries and Atin Wright in halfcourt situations and attack in transition when given the opportunity. He can finish with both hands around the rim and looked the part athletically against some tough teams.

His release is a bit funky out in front of his face, but his shot preparation is excellent. He had some intriguing relocation moments against heavy closeouts, but for the most part, his new team will want him to either catch and shoot, or catch and attack the rim.

With Drake coach Darian DeVries heading to West Virginia, it’s no surprise Overton is leaving. The question now is whether Overton follows his coach to Morgantown.  — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Drake

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Ht: 6-1Wt: 185

Collins is a low-efficiency scorer who puts up numbers (13.8 points, 3.2 assists, 2.6 steals), but his shot selection is questionable, especially when he feels like he’s playing on a team that he feels like he needs to score. His assist numbers dropped as a junior compared to his sophomore season when he was surrounded by better talent at Arizona State.

Collins is landing in a spot at TCU where Jamie Dixon usually has NCAA Tournament teams. The Horned Frogs have played faster in recent years, and that should play well with the speedy Collins. With the way the Frogs like to pressure and create turnovers, Collins is also a good fit. He ranked 13th nationally in steals rate this season.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-1Wt: 185

Collins is a low-efficiency scorer who puts up numbers (13.8 points, 3.2 assists, 2.6 steals), but his shot selection is questionable, especially when he feels like he’s playing on a team that he feels like he needs to score. His assist numbers dropped as a junior compared to his sophomore season when he was surrounded by better talent at Arizona State.

Collins is landing in a spot at TCU where Jamie Dixon usually has NCAA Tournament teams. The Horned Frogs have played faster in recent years, and that should play well with the speedy Collins. With the way the Frogs like to pressure and create turnovers, Collins is also a good fit. He ranked 13th nationally in steals rate this season.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

Committed

South Florida

TCU Horned Frogs

Ht: 6-9Wt: 230

Pringle’s job in the Alabama offense was to set a lot of screens and set shooters up with dribble handoffs. He played his role well and had a good sense for screening angle and when to cut when his defender forgot about him. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game, and all of his buckets were around the rim. He’s a good offensive rebounder and quick off the ground. He also gets out of a screen quickly and is a good roller, putting pressure on the rim.

Defensively, Pringle can guard both on the perimeter and inside. He holds his ground in the post and is willing to wrestle with back-to-the-basket bigs. He can be a little jumpy on the perimeter, but his athleticism is an asset defensively because of his ability to slide his feet and also help protect the rim. For a one-season rental, he’s a good option as a rim-rolling, energy big guy.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-9Wt: 230

Pringle’s job in the Alabama offense was to set a lot of screens and set shooters up with dribble handoffs. He played his role well and had a good sense for screening angle and when to cut when his defender forgot about him. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game, and all of his buckets were around the rim. He’s a good offensive rebounder and quick off the ground. He also gets out of a screen quickly and is a good roller, putting pressure on the rim.

Defensively, Pringle can guard both on the perimeter and inside. He holds his ground in the post and is willing to wrestle with back-to-the-basket bigs. He can be a little jumpy on the perimeter, but his athleticism is an asset defensively because of his ability to slide his feet and also help protect the rim. For a one-season rental, he’s a good option as a rim-rolling, energy big guy.  — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

Alabama

South Carolina Gamecocks

Ht: 6-7Wt: 205

Spillers played just one year at Appalachian State after transferring from the junior college level. He is an old-school power forward who does all of his damage around the basket. He plays much taller than 6-7 and has a long wingspan, which helps him get off shots inside 10 feet. The lefty has a nice hook shot and tries to dunk anytime he gets close to the rim. He averaged 12.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on one of the best mid-major teams in the country, earning him a spot on the Sun Belt all-league first team. After losing Andrew Carr to the transfer portal, Wake Forest quickly grabbed Spillers.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-7Wt: 205

Spillers played just one year at Appalachian State after transferring from the junior college level. He is an old-school power forward who does all of his damage around the basket. He plays much taller than 6-7 and has a long wingspan, which helps him get off shots inside 10 feet. The lefty has a nice hook shot and tries to dunk anytime he gets close to the rim. He averaged 12.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on one of the best mid-major teams in the country, earning him a spot on the Sun Belt all-league first team. After losing Andrew Carr to the transfer portal, Wake Forest quickly grabbed Spillers.
 — C.J. Moore 

Forward

Committed

South Florida

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Ht: 6-3Wt: 195

Reynolds played two years at Wyoming and then spent this last season at Green Bay, where his brother was an assistant coach. The Phoenix were in first place in the Horizon ahead of eventual champion Oakland until Reynolds suffered a high ankle sprain in mid-February.

Reynolds proved that he could score at the mid-major plus level, averaging 14.5 points per game as a sophomore at Wyoming, and then broke out this past year at a lower level, averaging 20 points and 4.5 assists per game at Green Bay. Reynolds, a lefty, does his best work getting to the rim and scoring from the mid-range. He’s a capable 3-point shooter (34.5 percent for his career) but does a majority of his scoring inside the arc. He is a power guard with a creative handle who finds a way to get to his spots. Assuming he transfers to the high-major level, I have some questions about how that will translate. Reynolds is not an explosive athlete, and it might be hard for him to be as efficient in the paint as he was at Green Bay. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3Wt: 195

Reynolds played two years at Wyoming and then spent this last season at Green Bay, where his brother was an assistant coach. The Phoenix were in first place in the Horizon ahead of eventual champion Oakland until Reynolds suffered a high ankle sprain in mid-February.

Reynolds proved that he could score at the mid-major plus level, averaging 14.5 points per game as a sophomore at Wyoming, and then broke out this past year at a lower level, averaging 20 points and 4.5 assists per game at Green Bay. Reynolds, a lefty, does his best work getting to the rim and scoring from the mid-range. He’s a capable 3-point shooter (34.5 percent for his career) but does a majority of his scoring inside the arc. He is a power guard with a creative handle who finds a way to get to his spots. Assuming he transfers to the high-major level, I have some questions about how that will translate. Reynolds is not an explosive athlete, and it might be hard for him to be as efficient in the paint as he was at Green Bay. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Green Bay

TCU Horned Frogs

Ht: 6-4Wt: 210

Miguel, who started his career at K-State, turned himself into a shooter in two years at South Florida. He broke out this season to average 14.7 points, 2.2 assists and shoot 39 percent from deep, making 2.2 3s per game. Miguel is at his best spotting up. He doesn’t need a lot of room to get his shot off. He plays well out of the triple-threat and has good footwork getting his shot off in a tight space, whether it’s with a jab, a crossover or a step back move. He’s a smaller 3-and-D wing.

He’s always been turnover prone, and he’s not a great layup maker. He hasnever shot above 60 percent at the rim and made just 48.6 of his tries at the rim this season, per Synergy. But I don’t think the shooting success was just a one-off. The ball looks good coming out of his hand, and he can shoot with range. He’s worth a look for any high-major needing a spot-up shooter.— C.J. Moore

Ht: 6-4Wt: 210

Miguel, who started his career at K-State, turned himself into a shooter in two years at South Florida. He broke out this season to average 14.7 points, 2.2 assists and shoot 39 percent from deep, making 2.2 3s per game. Miguel is at his best spotting up. He doesn’t need a lot of room to get his shot off. He plays well out of the triple-threat and has good footwork getting his shot off in a tight space, whether it’s with a jab, a crossover or a step back move. He’s a smaller 3-and-D wing.

He’s always been turnover prone, and he’s not a great layup maker. He hasnever shot above 60 percent at the rim and made just 48.6 of his tries at the rim this season, per Synergy. But I don’t think the shooting success was just a one-off. The ball looks good coming out of his hand, and he can shoot with range. He’s worth a look for any high-major needing a spot-up shooter.— C.J. Moore

Guard

Committed

South Florida

Maryland Terrapins

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 210

From the time Andy Enfield departed USC for the SMU head coaching job, the basketball world was waiting to see if James would at least hit the portal to assess his options. As LeBron James said recently, his son didn’t have any easy options. Ultimately, Bronny will declare for the NBA Draft and enter the transfer portal at the same time.

If Bronny James stays in college and transfers to a high-major school, I expect him to be more of a role player than a star next season. He’s not the first round, one-and-done prospect that some expected before his cardiac arrest last summer. But he could at least be a valuable college player as soon as next season.

James projects as a 3-and-D guard who plays hard, makes good decisions on offense, does the little things, passes well, leads the fast break off defensive rebounds, fills transition lanes and attacks the rim when he gets a chance. He is a terrific defensive player who really fights at the point-of-attack and has the length and foot speed to stick with most guards. He has good hands and is strong enough to stop defenders’ drives in their tracks. Plus, he’s a sharp team defender with great feel for the game.

James’ offense is a work in progress. He’s not a particularly high-level ballhandler, and needs time to develop into one considering his 6-foot-3 size. He struggled to generate any halfcourt paint touches this year, and isn’t much of a pull-up shooter yet. He made only 27 percent of his 3s last season, though he looked more confident taking them at USC and has more shooting talent than his percentage shows.

Still, there is a lot to be excited about Bronny’s game, even if he averaged less than five points and 20 minutes per game for a sub .500 team last season. He has real skills that can impact winning, and sources throughout basketball praise his demeanor in the face of immense fame. Remember: due to the cardiac arrest he suffered last July, he didn’t get a chance to spend much time on the court coming into last season.

It will take time if his goal is to be an NBA-level player. But if James stays in school, gets a clear offseason to hone in on his game and find the right context with dynamic shot creators next to him, he could make a big leap next season.— Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 210

From the time Andy Enfield departed USC for the SMU head coaching job, the basketball world was waiting to see if James would at least hit the portal to assess his options. As LeBron James said recently, his son didn’t have any easy options. Ultimately, Bronny will declare for the NBA Draft and enter the transfer portal at the same time.

If Bronny James stays in college and transfers to a high-major school, I expect him to be more of a role player than a star next season. He’s not the first round, one-and-done prospect that some expected before his cardiac arrest last summer. But he could at least be a valuable college player as soon as next season.

James projects as a 3-and-D guard who plays hard, makes good decisions on offense, does the little things, passes well, leads the fast break off defensive rebounds, fills transition lanes and attacks the rim when he gets a chance. He is a terrific defensive player who really fights at the point-of-attack and has the length and foot speed to stick with most guards. He has good hands and is strong enough to stop defenders’ drives in their tracks. Plus, he’s a sharp team defender with great feel for the game.

James’ offense is a work in progress. He’s not a particularly high-level ballhandler, and needs time to develop into one considering his 6-foot-3 size. He struggled to generate any halfcourt paint touches this year, and isn’t much of a pull-up shooter yet. He made only 27 percent of his 3s last season, though he looked more confident taking them at USC and has more shooting talent than his percentage shows.

Still, there is a lot to be excited about Bronny’s game, even if he averaged less than five points and 20 minutes per game for a sub .500 team last season. He has real skills that can impact winning, and sources throughout basketball praise his demeanor in the face of immense fame. Remember: due to the cardiac arrest he suffered last July, he didn’t get a chance to spend much time on the court coming into last season.

It will take time if his goal is to be an NBA-level player. But if James stays in school, gets a clear offseason to hone in on his game and find the right context with dynamic shot creators next to him, he could make a big leap next season.— Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 175

The Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year took a big leap this season, nearly doubling his scoring output to 11.1 points per game simply by becoming more efficient.

An undersized scoring guard, Johnson is going to get the ball and go. If he sees an opening off the catch or a screen, he’ll attack the rack. If his defender goes behind a dribble hand-off, he’ll stop and fire without a second thought. If he catches the ball and has a window to shoot, the ball is going up. He occasionally shows patience as a driver and can throw sharp passes; he had a fun chemistry with rim-running big Braxton Meah against bench units when Meah wasn’t starting. But he’s a scorer, through and through.

With Mike Hopkins fired, Johnson will look for a new home where he can continue to do his thing. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 175

The Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year took a big leap this season, nearly doubling his scoring output to 11.1 points per game simply by becoming more efficient.

An undersized scoring guard, Johnson is going to get the ball and go. If he sees an opening off the catch or a screen, he’ll attack the rack. If his defender goes behind a dribble hand-off, he’ll stop and fire without a second thought. If he catches the ball and has a window to shoot, the ball is going up. He occasionally shows patience as a driver and can throw sharp passes; he had a fun chemistry with rim-running big Braxton Meah against bench units when Meah wasn’t starting. But he’s a scorer, through and through.

With Mike Hopkins fired, Johnson will look for a new home where he can continue to do his thing. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Washington

Louisville Cardinals

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 180

I thought Essegian was primed to be one of the Big 10’s breakout players last season. He was an All-Freshman selection in 2022-23 after averaging 11.7 points and hitting 36 percent of his nearly 200 3-point attempts, and was even better in conference play.

But something was clearly amiss in Madison this season. Essegian tried playing through an early back injury, and his performances weren’t nearly of the caliber we saw last season. Already a rough defensive player under the best of circumstances, Essegian’s back injury made him even slower on that end. Ultimately, he lost his rotation spot on the team, with coach Greg Gard saying the team didn’t have time to let Essegian work through his defensive miscues or get back into game shape.

Essegian would certainly benefit from a change in scenery. The Fort Wayne native remains an immensely gifted offensive player and would fit in well at a school like Connecticut or Purdue, who both run off-ball actions for shooters. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 180

I thought Essegian was primed to be one of the Big 10’s breakout players last season. He was an All-Freshman selection in 2022-23 after averaging 11.7 points and hitting 36 percent of his nearly 200 3-point attempts, and was even better in conference play.

But something was clearly amiss in Madison this season. Essegian tried playing through an early back injury, and his performances weren’t nearly of the caliber we saw last season. Already a rough defensive player under the best of circumstances, Essegian’s back injury made him even slower on that end. Ultimately, he lost his rotation spot on the team, with coach Greg Gard saying the team didn’t have time to let Essegian work through his defensive miscues or get back into game shape.

Essegian would certainly benefit from a change in scenery. The Fort Wayne native remains an immensely gifted offensive player and would fit in well at a school like Connecticut or Purdue, who both run off-ball actions for shooters. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Wisconsin

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 220

Cohen, the NEC Player of the Year at Saint Francis (PA) in 2022-23, made a smart next step up last season. Instead of transferring to the highest level possible, he moved from a low major to a upper-tier mid major in UMass, where his game profiled wonderfully. He averaged 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while earning first-team All-Atlantic-10 honors.

Cohen has great touch around the rim with both hands. He makes more shots from awkward angles than anyone I can remember, including weird fadeaway hook and flip shots through contact from all over the paint. His footwork is terrific, he seems to catch every pass from his guards and creates extra possessions on the offensive glass. He can occasionally step out and shoot 3s, but is more comfortable passing from up top.

There are some athletic questions as he moves up again to play against bigs with more length. He isn’t explosive, so his game is built entirely on crafty footwork and angles. I don’t think he’d fare well in the super athletic leagues like the SEC or Big 12. But he could duplicate the season Josh Oduro, a multi-time All-Atlantic-10 player, had at Providence this season.

He has the upside to be a starting big man, but there is a bit more downside than there would be with some other options.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 220

Cohen, the NEC Player of the Year at Saint Francis (PA) in 2022-23, made a smart next step up last season. Instead of transferring to the highest level possible, he moved from a low major to a upper-tier mid major in UMass, where his game profiled wonderfully. He averaged 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while earning first-team All-Atlantic-10 honors.

Cohen has great touch around the rim with both hands. He makes more shots from awkward angles than anyone I can remember, including weird fadeaway hook and flip shots through contact from all over the paint. His footwork is terrific, he seems to catch every pass from his guards and creates extra possessions on the offensive glass. He can occasionally step out and shoot 3s, but is more comfortable passing from up top.

There are some athletic questions as he moves up again to play against bigs with more length. He isn’t explosive, so his game is built entirely on crafty footwork and angles. I don’t think he’d fare well in the super athletic leagues like the SEC or Big 12. But he could duplicate the season Josh Oduro, a multi-time All-Atlantic-10 player, had at Providence this season.

He has the upside to be a starting big man, but there is a bit more downside than there would be with some other options.  — Sam Vecenie

Well, this is going to be really interesting. He’s certainly skilled enough to play in the SEC. My big question for Cohen was how his athletic profile would translate to facing bigger, longer athletes in the SEC, which is arguably the most athletic conference in college hoops. I have an immense amount of respect for Cohen taking on that challenge.

The Razorbacks need some offensive punch in the frontcourt, as Baye Fall and Makhi Mitchell are the team’s lone returning bigs, assuming that Trevon Brazile goes to the NBA. Given that there could be some diminishing returns on Cohen’s post game at this level, I think it would behoove him to get even more confident and comfortable shooting from midrange and beyond the 3-point line. He can’t be the team’s last addition, but the worst-case scenario is that he provides strong depth.

— Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

UMass

USC Trojans

Ht: 7-1 Wt: 215

Honestly, ranking Evans on a list like this is a fool’s errand. Originally a top-30 recruit in the 2023 class, Evans was seen as a project with enormous upside due to his size and length. He was arguably the best shot-blocking prospect in his class and his growth trajectory over his last 18 months in high school was meteoric.

However, Evans only played in seven games and 64 minutes all season and was deemed “no longer medically cleared” to play for Louisville in January. The circumstances regarding that designation remain mysterious, and while 247Sports’ Eric Bossi reports that Evans will be “good to go” at his next school, I suspect schools will need to dive deep into his health before pursuing him.

If Evans is cleared, he’ll still probably require at least another year to reach his potential. So let’s put him somewhere in the middle of these rankings given the complexity of his situation. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 7-1 Wt: 215

Honestly, ranking Evans on a list like this is a fool’s errand. Originally a top-30 recruit in the 2023 class, Evans was seen as a project with enormous upside due to his size and length. He was arguably the best shot-blocking prospect in his class and his growth trajectory over his last 18 months in high school was meteoric.

However, Evans only played in seven games and 64 minutes all season and was deemed “no longer medically cleared” to play for Louisville in January. The circumstances regarding that designation remain mysterious, and while 247Sports’ Eric Bossi reports that Evans will be “good to go” at his next school, I suspect schools will need to dive deep into his health before pursuing him.

If Evans is cleared, he’ll still probably require at least another year to reach his potential. So let’s put him somewhere in the middle of these rankings given the complexity of his situation. — Sam Vecenie

Center

Committed

Louisville

Grand Canyon Antelopes

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220

Jakimovski may not look like a good get statistically, having averaged 9.7 points this past season. But he’s an excellent role player for any high-major team. He’s a three-year starter for Washington State and has gotten better every season. He knocks down 3s off the catch and has to be closed out on. Really, that’s the offensive role for the North Macedonian wing.

He can occasionally attack closeouts, and he’s unselfish with the ball. But by and large, he’s going to fire from distance and make about 35 percent of his 3s. More importantly though, Jakimovski is a strong on-ball defender who was the most consistent perimeter defender on a top-two defense in the Pac-12 this season. He can take on tough matchups, and he’s a really sharp team defender. There’s a reason that he played more minutes than anyone else on this year’s 25-10 Cougars team. He does all of the little things required to help you win. With Washington State coach Kyle Smith departing to go to Stanford, it’ll be interesting to see if Jakimovski follows. Given how well Smith maximized him, it would make sense.— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220

Jakimovski may not look like a good get statistically, having averaged 9.7 points this past season. But he’s an excellent role player for any high-major team. He’s a three-year starter for Washington State and has gotten better every season. He knocks down 3s off the catch and has to be closed out on. Really, that’s the offensive role for the North Macedonian wing.

He can occasionally attack closeouts, and he’s unselfish with the ball. But by and large, he’s going to fire from distance and make about 35 percent of his 3s. More importantly though, Jakimovski is a strong on-ball defender who was the most consistent perimeter defender on a top-two defense in the Pac-12 this season. He can take on tough matchups, and he’s a really sharp team defender. There’s a reason that he played more minutes than anyone else on this year’s 25-10 Cougars team. He does all of the little things required to help you win. With Washington State coach Kyle Smith departing to go to Stanford, it’ll be interesting to see if Jakimovski follows. Given how well Smith maximized him, it would make sense.— Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Washington State

Ht: 6-8Wt: 225

Gillis was the perfect complement to Zach Edey in Purdue’s offense. Gillis shot 46.8 percent from 3, and most of his shots were off spot-up opportunities created by Edey drawing two to the ball or an extra defender trying to help against his rolls. He shot it well enough that Purdue ran some plays to get him open, but mostly he was scoring when he was open on the perimeter or cutting when a double came or scoring off a put back. He’s a low-maintenance player who is going to make open shots, guard and play hard.

Gillis played exclusively at the four for the Boilermakers, which was always a little surprising because of his shooting and the fact that he’s athletic enough to guard a wing. Most likely that was because you’re not going to get any shot creation from Gillis. He can feed the post from the perimeter, but that’s about it when it came to him setting up others. But there’s a lot of value in having a guy like Gillis, who even on a low-volume can be such an efficient shooter.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-8Wt: 225

Gillis was the perfect complement to Zach Edey in Purdue’s offense. Gillis shot 46.8 percent from 3, and most of his shots were off spot-up opportunities created by Edey drawing two to the ball or an extra defender trying to help against his rolls. He shot it well enough that Purdue ran some plays to get him open, but mostly he was scoring when he was open on the perimeter or cutting when a double came or scoring off a put back. He’s a low-maintenance player who is going to make open shots, guard and play hard.

Gillis played exclusively at the four for the Boilermakers, which was always a little surprising because of his shooting and the fact that he’s athletic enough to guard a wing. Most likely that was because you’re not going to get any shot creation from Gillis. He can feed the post from the perimeter, but that’s about it when it came to him setting up others. But there’s a lot of value in having a guy like Gillis, who even on a low-volume can be such an efficient shooter.  — C.J. Moore 

Wing

Committed

Purdue

Duke Blue Devils

Ht: 6-6Wt: 180

Kelly is a streaky shooter who is coming off a mediocre shooting season (32.1 percent from 3) but is better for his career (35 percent). He has declared for the NBA Draft along with putting his name in the portal, and it’s likely he ends up back in college. He averaged 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists this season. When his shot is not falling, he struggles to score because most of his opportunities are set up by spot-ups. He can attack a closeout but isn’t a great finisher at the rim, especially for his size. He shot 51.6 percent at the rim this season, per Synergy. He led Georgia Tech in scoring, but he’s probably better as a second, third or fourth option because he doesn’t have a very diverse scoring skill set. Surrounded by better talent, it’s possible his efficiency would go up because he’d get better looks. — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-6Wt: 180

Kelly is a streaky shooter who is coming off a mediocre shooting season (32.1 percent from 3) but is better for his career (35 percent). He has declared for the NBA Draft along with putting his name in the portal, and it’s likely he ends up back in college. He averaged 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists this season. When his shot is not falling, he struggles to score because most of his opportunities are set up by spot-ups. He can attack a closeout but isn’t a great finisher at the rim, especially for his size. He shot 51.6 percent at the rim this season, per Synergy. He led Georgia Tech in scoring, but he’s probably better as a second, third or fourth option because he doesn’t have a very diverse scoring skill set. Surrounded by better talent, it’s possible his efficiency would go up because he’d get better looks. — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220

Angel was a two-year starter at Stanford and had his best season to date this past year. He averaged 13 points, five rebounds and two assists with remarkable efficiency as a play-finisher. He shot 56.7 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from 3 on nearly three attempts per game. He makes his free throws at an 81.6 percent clip.

Part of why he’s so efficient is that there is zero fluff to his game. He takes shots at the rim or he takes 3s. He’ll take the occasional hook shot from eight feet if he has a mismatch, but nearly 90 percent of his attempts this season were either catch-and-shoot jumpers or at the basket. You can throw him the ball on the block and post him, but by and large he only actually shoots when he has a distinct advantage. He loves the little turnaround hook shot over his left shoulder when he has deep position. But he can also use the threat of his shot to drive and score that way, using some fun finger rolls.

Teams will be interested in him as a floor-spacing forward. Angel hits open 3s because he has great shot prep and is always ready to fire. His touch is terrific. As a fifth-year senior, Angel will be plug-and-play in just about any big rotation and could start for a significant number of teams at the high-major level. Honestly, it would make sense for him to consider a return to Stanford, as Kyle Smith will appreciate his inside-out game as well as his 3s and layups style. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220

Angel was a two-year starter at Stanford and had his best season to date this past year. He averaged 13 points, five rebounds and two assists with remarkable efficiency as a play-finisher. He shot 56.7 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from 3 on nearly three attempts per game. He makes his free throws at an 81.6 percent clip.

Part of why he’s so efficient is that there is zero fluff to his game. He takes shots at the rim or he takes 3s. He’ll take the occasional hook shot from eight feet if he has a mismatch, but nearly 90 percent of his attempts this season were either catch-and-shoot jumpers or at the basket. You can throw him the ball on the block and post him, but by and large he only actually shoots when he has a distinct advantage. He loves the little turnaround hook shot over his left shoulder when he has deep position. But he can also use the threat of his shot to drive and score that way, using some fun finger rolls.

Teams will be interested in him as a floor-spacing forward. Angel hits open 3s because he has great shot prep and is always ready to fire. His touch is terrific. As a fifth-year senior, Angel will be plug-and-play in just about any big rotation and could start for a significant number of teams at the high-major level. Honestly, it would make sense for him to consider a return to Stanford, as Kyle Smith will appreciate his inside-out game as well as his 3s and layups style. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Stanford

Oregon Ducks

Ht: 6-4Wt: 210

Hoggard is a solid set-up man who can also score the ball as a driver when he’s playing with confidence. His confidence does waver, however, and his production declined this season. He averaged 12.9 points and 5.9 assists as a junior, and those numbers dropped to 10.7 points and 5.2 assists during a season that did not live up to expectations for the Spartans.

When he’s playing well, Hoggard is probing and getting to the rim. He plays with physicality and usually has a high free-throw rate. He did struggle finishing this season and misses some easy ones you’d think he’d make. One area of improvement was his jump shot. He shot a career-best 34.7 percent from 3. He’s at least become a threat on open spot-up jumpers. Hoggard is not a sexy option in the portal, but there is value in landing a player who has always won and is cool setting up others.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-4Wt: 210

Hoggard is a solid set-up man who can also score the ball as a driver when he’s playing with confidence. His confidence does waver, however, and his production declined this season. He averaged 12.9 points and 5.9 assists as a junior, and those numbers dropped to 10.7 points and 5.2 assists during a season that did not live up to expectations for the Spartans.

When he’s playing well, Hoggard is probing and getting to the rim. He plays with physicality and usually has a high free-throw rate. He did struggle finishing this season and misses some easy ones you’d think he’d make. One area of improvement was his jump shot. He shot a career-best 34.7 percent from 3. He’s at least become a threat on open spot-up jumpers. Hoggard is not a sexy option in the portal, but there is value in landing a player who has always won and is cool setting up others.
 — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-2Wt: 196

Joseph was a backcourt starter on what might be the most disappointing team in Miami basketball history. The Hurricanes entered the year with high expectations, but ultimately floundered and ended up losing their final 10 games of the season.

For his part, Joseph is a bigger-bodied 6-foot-1 guard who uses his frame well and penetrates the paint with a slower, more deliberate style. I like him best as a passer, where he can hit his rollers and kickout passes at a solid level.

More than that, he does two things well. First, he knocks down shots off the catch, using his smooth lefty stroke to knock down 37.9 percent of his 3s over his career. Second, Joseph is a tough defender; while Miami’s defense as a whole was pretty bad, I thought Joseph generally brought it on the ball.

Teams shouldn’t want Joseph to be their primary initiator, but his defense, passing and shooting should scale up well for teams who already have a primary playmaker. I like him as a third guard next year for a good team. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-2Wt: 196

Joseph was a backcourt starter on what might be the most disappointing team in Miami basketball history. The Hurricanes entered the year with high expectations, but ultimately floundered and ended up losing their final 10 games of the season.

For his part, Joseph is a bigger-bodied 6-foot-1 guard who uses his frame well and penetrates the paint with a slower, more deliberate style. I like him best as a passer, where he can hit his rollers and kickout passes at a solid level.

More than that, he does two things well. First, he knocks down shots off the catch, using his smooth lefty stroke to knock down 37.9 percent of his 3s over his career. Second, Joseph is a tough defender; while Miami’s defense as a whole was pretty bad, I thought Joseph generally brought it on the ball.

Teams shouldn’t want Joseph to be their primary initiator, but his defense, passing and shooting should scale up well for teams who already have a primary playmaker. I like him as a third guard next year for a good team. — Sam Vecenie

The Friars have a lot to replace in the backcourt, including Devin Carter, the Big East Player of the Year who did everything on both ends for them. Joseph certainly won’t fill in everything that Carter brought, but his two-way presence will help account for Carter’s loss to the NBA.

In addition to Carter, Providence also has to replace Ticket Gaines on the wing and the defensive energy Garwey Dual brought off the bench. That’s more than 80 minutes per game they need to make up — essentially two full positions. The Friars are getting Bryce Hopkins back from his ACL tear, but they certainly needed to add more depth. Joseph helps there.

Providence still needs one more significant guard, ideally one who makesmore of an impact than Joseph. But nabbing Joseph is a strong start to the process of replacing Carter. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Miami (Fla.)

Providence Friars

Ht: 6-0Wt: 180

The Patriot League Player of the Year is an old-school point guard who knows how to run an offense and set up his teammates. Smith has been a starter on two NCAA Tournament teamsand took on a bigger role offensively this year when Colgate didn’t have as much talent, averaging 12.4 points, 5.6 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Smith is quick with the ball and a decent shooter off the bounce. He’s shot 33 percent from 3 in two seasons. His size could be an issue at the high-major level, where he’ll likely be relied on more for his passing and smart decision-making. He’s a good defender in the Patriot League, but high-major guards could give him problems.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-0Wt: 180

The Patriot League Player of the Year is an old-school point guard who knows how to run an offense and set up his teammates. Smith has been a starter on two NCAA Tournament teamsand took on a bigger role offensively this year when Colgate didn’t have as much talent, averaging 12.4 points, 5.6 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Smith is quick with the ball and a decent shooter off the bounce. He’s shot 33 percent from 3 in two seasons. His size could be an issue at the high-major level, where he’ll likely be relied on more for his passing and smart decision-making. He’s a good defender in the Patriot League, but high-major guards could give him problems.  — C.J. Moore 

Guard

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 210

Crews’ path is well-worn at this point. He played for North Florida for two seasons, transferred down to the junior college level, then came back up to UT Martin. A first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference player this season, he averaged 19.1 points and eight rebounds per  game to carry the Skyhawks to a tie for first place in the regular season.

Crews’ touch is his key skill. He drilled 41 percent of his nearly seven 3-point attempts per game and moves well without the ball. He scored a lot of points as a driver in the low-major OVC, but I’m skeptical he can duplicate that at higher levels. He doesn’t have a great first step or a particularly shifty game off the bounce. The best way to use him is to run him off screens or use his shooting gravity to space the floor for teammates.

His shooting makes him a starter at the high-major level. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 210

Crews’ path is well-worn at this point. He played for North Florida for two seasons, transferred down to the junior college level, then came back up to UT Martin. A first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference player this season, he averaged 19.1 points and eight rebounds per  game to carry the Skyhawks to a tie for first place in the regular season.

Crews’ touch is his key skill. He drilled 41 percent of his nearly seven 3-point attempts per game and moves well without the ball. He scored a lot of points as a driver in the low-major OVC, but I’m skeptical he can duplicate that at higher levels. He doesn’t have a great first step or a particularly shifty game off the bounce. The best way to use him is to run him off screens or use his shooting gravity to space the floor for teammates.

His shooting makes him a starter at the high-major level. — Sam Vecenie

Missouri went 0-18 in the SEC last season and shot just 30.4 percent from distance in conference play, so you can see why they need a player like Crews. He also should help on the defensive glass, where the Tigers were nothing short of a calamity this season. I don’t think Crews is the all-SEC-level talent the Tigers need, but he will certainly help them next season.

— Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

UT Martin

Missouri Tigers

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 220

Big wing shooters aren’t the easiest things to find in the portal. So when one becomes available, they’re worth ranking. A former top-100 recruit, Nickel committed to North Carolina out of high school but played sparingly as a freshman. He decided after last season to leave, and went to Virginia Tech, where he played well in what was largely a bench role. But by the end of the year, Nickel started to come on and showcase his value. He averaged 10 points and three rebounds over his final 11 games, shooting 46 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3 and 89 percent from the line. In total, he hit 39.9 percent from 3 on the season, and I’d bet he’s even more effective than that next season.

Nickel’s shot is beautiful, and he has a great sense of how to find those shots. He hunts them in transition by sprinting to the line or trailing right behind the ballhandler. He’ll spot up and relocate intelligently across the 3-point line to open up passing angles for his teammates. But more importantly, he’s a legit 6-foot-7 wing you can run off of movement and allow to fire. He’ll sprint off of screens and because he can shoot with a quick release and off of different variations of footwork, he can hit shots at a serious clip. He needs to keep improving on defense and needs to keep improving with the ball in his hands so that he can be a bit more effective attacking closeouts to keep defenders honest. But I would have bet on Nickel being a big-time guy for Virginia Tech next season.

He’s a great fit in Mike Young’s scheme, and I wonder if he’d consider returning. But regardless, for any team in need of a real shooter who will help your best players on offense purely by his mere presence on the floor due to how defenders have to stay attached to him, Nickel is a great option. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 220

Big wing shooters aren’t the easiest things to find in the portal. So when one becomes available, they’re worth ranking. A former top-100 recruit, Nickel committed to North Carolina out of high school but played sparingly as a freshman. He decided after last season to leave, and went to Virginia Tech, where he played well in what was largely a bench role. But by the end of the year, Nickel started to come on and showcase his value. He averaged 10 points and three rebounds over his final 11 games, shooting 46 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3 and 89 percent from the line. In total, he hit 39.9 percent from 3 on the season, and I’d bet he’s even more effective than that next season.

Nickel’s shot is beautiful, and he has a great sense of how to find those shots. He hunts them in transition by sprinting to the line or trailing right behind the ballhandler. He’ll spot up and relocate intelligently across the 3-point line to open up passing angles for his teammates. But more importantly, he’s a legit 6-foot-7 wing you can run off of movement and allow to fire. He’ll sprint off of screens and because he can shoot with a quick release and off of different variations of footwork, he can hit shots at a serious clip. He needs to keep improving on defense and needs to keep improving with the ball in his hands so that he can be a bit more effective attacking closeouts to keep defenders honest. But I would have bet on Nickel being a big-time guy for Virginia Tech next season.

He’s a great fit in Mike Young’s scheme, and I wonder if he’d consider returning. But regardless, for any team in need of a real shooter who will help your best players on offense purely by his mere presence on the floor due to how defenders have to stay attached to him, Nickel is a great option. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

In portal

Virginia Tech

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 190

A three-year starter at Charleston, Smith is one of the best shooters available in the portal. The 6-foot-2 guard is an absolute sniper. His 12.8 points per game may not look impressive, but Charleston’s scheme tends to spread the ball around.

The lefty has a smooth stroke using a sort of set shot that is easily repeatable. The Cougars played quickly under Pat Kelsey, so opponents were absolutely dead if they lost Smith in transition. But Smith can drill shots off ball-screens or dribble hand-offs when defenders go under, or by realigning himself in midair when running through off-ball picks. Kelsey even occasionally used Smith as a screener in creative 1-2 ball screens, popping Smith into wide open 3s. By the way, Smith can also spot up five feet behind the college 3-point line. He made 39.4 percent of his 3s this year, but those were high-degree-of-difficulty shots. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 190

A three-year starter at Charleston, Smith is one of the best shooters available in the portal. The 6-foot-2 guard is an absolute sniper. His 12.8 points per game may not look impressive, but Charleston’s scheme tends to spread the ball around.

The lefty has a smooth stroke using a sort of set shot that is easily repeatable. The Cougars played quickly under Pat Kelsey, so opponents were absolutely dead if they lost Smith in transition. But Smith can drill shots off ball-screens or dribble hand-offs when defenders go under, or by realigning himself in midair when running through off-ball picks. Kelsey even occasionally used Smith as a screener in creative 1-2 ball screens, popping Smith into wide open 3s. By the way, Smith can also spot up five feet behind the college 3-point line. He made 39.4 percent of his 3s this year, but those were high-degree-of-difficulty shots. — Sam Vecenie

It made a ton of sense for Smith to follow Kelsey to Louisville, as the scheme the Cardinals will run is perfect for a big-time shooter. Now, the question shifts to whether or not there is anyone from Louisville’s 2023-24 roster Kelsey wants to try to retain, and who else he might chase in the portal.

— Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Charleston

Louisville Cardinals

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195

Parker’s game should translate nicely to the high-major level. The leading scorer for Saint Louis this season, Parker’s game has some old-man qualities. He doesn’t have a ton of burst, but he’s crafty with his footwork and handle to separate from his man, particularly in ball-screens, where he knows how to use his body to keep his man in jail. Right when you think he’s about to attack, he’ll stop in the midrange and fire, or step back and drill a 3.

In averaging 15.9 points per game, Parker made 55 percent of his pull-up midrange jumpers, per Synergy. He only averaged one pull-up 3 per game, but hit those at a 42 percent clip in addition to his 40-percent mark on catch-and-shoot 3s.

There are complications. For one, he’s a ball screen guard that hasn’t displayed much passing skill yet. For another, it’s hard to overstate how little he defended this season. He also dealt with a foot injury this season that kept him in and out of the lineup.

But his scoring skills are serious enough that any team with a ball screen-centric offense should take a serious look at him.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195

Parker’s game should translate nicely to the high-major level. The leading scorer for Saint Louis this season, Parker’s game has some old-man qualities. He doesn’t have a ton of burst, but he’s crafty with his footwork and handle to separate from his man, particularly in ball-screens, where he knows how to use his body to keep his man in jail. Right when you think he’s about to attack, he’ll stop in the midrange and fire, or step back and drill a 3.

In averaging 15.9 points per game, Parker made 55 percent of his pull-up midrange jumpers, per Synergy. He only averaged one pull-up 3 per game, but hit those at a 42 percent clip in addition to his 40-percent mark on catch-and-shoot 3s.

There are complications. For one, he’s a ball screen guard that hasn’t displayed much passing skill yet. For another, it’s hard to overstate how little he defended this season. He also dealt with a foot injury this season that kept him in and out of the lineup.

But his scoring skills are serious enough that any team with a ball screen-centric offense should take a serious look at him.  — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Saint Louis

McNeese State Cowboys

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 185

Like many of the great Mid-American Conference guards available in the portal this season, Hill’s biggest strength is attacking the rim. The junior college transfer might be the most downhill-centric of the bunch, as he averaged nearly 10 shots at the rim per game for Bowling Green this season, per Synergy. Despite not possessing a lightning-quick first step, Hill seems to have a supernatural ability to navigate driving lanes and elude traffic to find the right little crease to get to the basket.

That skill enabled Hill to average 20.5 points, five rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field. Truth be told, Hill was just an average finisher for a guard, but made up for it by generating 6.4 free-throw attempts per game. Hill’s style served him well in the MAC, enabling him to earn a first-team all-conference honor.

His counters are less impressive. He tends to pull-up from the elbow as opposed to from 3, where he made just 28.9 percent of his attempts. His catch-and-shoot 3-point metrics weren’t much better, either.

Considering his shooting deficiencies, I’m worried about his game translating to higher levels. He’d need to find a team that can space the floor exceedingly well to facilitate his driving skill. They do exist, and it’s possible he finds one. But his success will depend more on his new team than it would for many of the other guards in the portal. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 185

Like many of the great Mid-American Conference guards available in the portal this season, Hill’s biggest strength is attacking the rim. The junior college transfer might be the most downhill-centric of the bunch, as he averaged nearly 10 shots at the rim per game for Bowling Green this season, per Synergy. Despite not possessing a lightning-quick first step, Hill seems to have a supernatural ability to navigate driving lanes and elude traffic to find the right little crease to get to the basket.

That skill enabled Hill to average 20.5 points, five rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field. Truth be told, Hill was just an average finisher for a guard, but made up for it by generating 6.4 free-throw attempts per game. Hill’s style served him well in the MAC, enabling him to earn a first-team all-conference honor.

His counters are less impressive. He tends to pull-up from the elbow as opposed to from 3, where he made just 28.9 percent of his attempts. His catch-and-shoot 3-point metrics weren’t much better, either.

Considering his shooting deficiencies, I’m worried about his game translating to higher levels. He’d need to find a team that can space the floor exceedingly well to facilitate his driving skill. They do exist, and it’s possible he finds one. But his success will depend more on his new team than it would for many of the other guards in the portal. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Bowling Green

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 185

A two-year starter at Mount St. Mary’s, Leffew took an enormous leap forward this season. Though he didn’t win MAAC Player of the Year, he had a real case as the best player in the conference this season. He averaged 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game while drilling 36.5 percent of his nearly seven 3-point attempts per game.

Whereas Leffew largely fired off the catch last season, his off-the-dribble game exploded in 2023-24. In 2022-23, about 75 percent of Leffew’s 3s came off the catch. This season, his split of 3s off the catch and the dribble was about 50-50. His form is similar to Memphis Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane, in that it’s almost a set shot off the bounce that comes off his shoulder. He can get into his motion from almost any angle and with any footwork pattern.

Leffew also expanded his game off the bounce beyond just scoring. Mount St. Mary’s used him more as a primary ballhandler this year, and he blossomed in ball screens and as a live-dribble passer. He knows how to snake screens and find open areas, using his body to keep the defender in jail or step back into an open 3. His wasn’t especially efficient because he ended up having to create a lot of shots for his team, though a high major could improve that by downscaling his role.

He might fit better as a high-level backup than a starter, depending on his situation.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 185

A two-year starter at Mount St. Mary’s, Leffew took an enormous leap forward this season. Though he didn’t win MAAC Player of the Year, he had a real case as the best player in the conference this season. He averaged 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game while drilling 36.5 percent of his nearly seven 3-point attempts per game.

Whereas Leffew largely fired off the catch last season, his off-the-dribble game exploded in 2023-24. In 2022-23, about 75 percent of Leffew’s 3s came off the catch. This season, his split of 3s off the catch and the dribble was about 50-50. His form is similar to Memphis Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane, in that it’s almost a set shot off the bounce that comes off his shoulder. He can get into his motion from almost any angle and with any footwork pattern.

Leffew also expanded his game off the bounce beyond just scoring. Mount St. Mary’s used him more as a primary ballhandler this year, and he blossomed in ball screens and as a live-dribble passer. He knows how to snake screens and find open areas, using his body to keep the defender in jail or step back into an open 3. His wasn’t especially efficient because he ended up having to create a lot of shots for his team, though a high major could improve that by downscaling his role.

He might fit better as a high-level backup than a starter, depending on his situation.  — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Mount St. Mary’s

Georgia Bulldogs

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 185

Mallette is an intriguing eye-of-the-beholder player. On one hand, he’s a terrific shooter who drilled 38.2 percent of his 3s in his first season, then improved to 41.5 percent on five attempts per game this past season. Mallette has legitimate range that stretches beyond the college 3-point line.

However, he’s started to operate a lot more in the midrange area the last two years despite not being a good enough separator to make those shots consistently. He hit just 42 percent of his midrange jumpers this year, and many of those were tough looks. He also doesn’t finish well at the rim and is more of a score-first option than a playmaker for others. On top of that, he wasn’t particularly good at staying in front of his man on defense.

Whichever team gets Mallette should limit him to spacing the floor, attacking closeouts and running in transition. He should get up at least seven 3s per game instead of mixing those shots with midrange jumpers. They’ll also need to improve his defense, because he has a long way to go. But in the right role, he can be an effective high-major player. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 185

Mallette is an intriguing eye-of-the-beholder player. On one hand, he’s a terrific shooter who drilled 38.2 percent of his 3s in his first season, then improved to 41.5 percent on five attempts per game this past season. Mallette has legitimate range that stretches beyond the college 3-point line.

However, he’s started to operate a lot more in the midrange area the last two years despite not being a good enough separator to make those shots consistently. He hit just 42 percent of his midrange jumpers this year, and many of those were tough looks. He also doesn’t finish well at the rim and is more of a score-first option than a playmaker for others. On top of that, he wasn’t particularly good at staying in front of his man on defense.

Whichever team gets Mallette should limit him to spacing the floor, attacking closeouts and running in transition. He should get up at least seven 3s per game instead of mixing those shots with midrange jumpers. They’ll also need to improve his defense, because he has a long way to go. But in the right role, he can be an effective high-major player. — Sam Vecenie

It’s perfect on offense, so long as Mallette does not expect to be anything more than a floor spacer and off-ball player, Alabama loves players who can step into their scheme and spread the court for their guards. I’m worried about him defensively in the SEC, but he’s a solid first get in the transfer portal.

— Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Pepperdine

Alabama Crimson Tide

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 205

White was a late transfer last season who surprisingly decided to leave USC after an impressive freshman season in which his modest production (nine points and five rebounds per game) belied his remarkable defensive versatility across multiple positions. At Louisville, White did basically the same thing on offense while strangely providing none of the defense that made him such an effective player at USC. I’m genuinely not sure what happened. His effort level wasn’t there regularly, particularly in transition defense. Maybe he was just a poor fit with Kenny Payne’s coaching style. But he needs to get back to the level he previously showed.

Offensively, White is largely a slasher and cutter who struggles to shoot the ball — though he actually made 36 percent of his spot-up 3s, per Synergy. He doesn’t have a monster first step, but he has long strides and a big, physical frame that defenders bounce off. He’ll typically try to shoot if his drive is aborted, but he only made 39 percent of his pull-up midrange shots this year, which isn’t good enough. Unless White can drastically improve as a shooter, he’s not a good enough offensive player to give the kind of defensive effort he gave this season.

Maybe a new coach will serve as a wake-up call. White is certainly talented enough to be a high-major starter for the next two years. But he won’t be one if the defense doesn’t return. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 205

White was a late transfer last season who surprisingly decided to leave USC after an impressive freshman season in which his modest production (nine points and five rebounds per game) belied his remarkable defensive versatility across multiple positions. At Louisville, White did basically the same thing on offense while strangely providing none of the defense that made him such an effective player at USC. I’m genuinely not sure what happened. His effort level wasn’t there regularly, particularly in transition defense. Maybe he was just a poor fit with Kenny Payne’s coaching style. But he needs to get back to the level he previously showed.

Offensively, White is largely a slasher and cutter who struggles to shoot the ball — though he actually made 36 percent of his spot-up 3s, per Synergy. He doesn’t have a monster first step, but he has long strides and a big, physical frame that defenders bounce off. He’ll typically try to shoot if his drive is aborted, but he only made 39 percent of his pull-up midrange shots this year, which isn’t good enough. Unless White can drastically improve as a shooter, he’s not a good enough offensive player to give the kind of defensive effort he gave this season.

Maybe a new coach will serve as a wake-up call. White is certainly talented enough to be a high-major starter for the next two years. But he won’t be one if the defense doesn’t return. — Sam Vecenie

Wing

Committed

Louisville

Illinois Fighting Illini

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 225

Anderson is one of the more interesting names in the portal. He was one of the more fun freshmen in college basketball this season. A legitimate 6-foot-9 floor-spacer with a shot that will translate at any level, Anderson averaged 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this season on his way to winning the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year award.

Anderson is an absolute gunner from distance. He drilled 38.1 percent of his nearly 200 3-point attempts, and will fire off hand-offs if teams go under, as a trailer in transition or off relocations lifting from the corner to the wing. He even occasionally hits shots off direct screening actions. His shot preparation is elite and he’s always ready to catch and fire when the opportunity comes.

The rest of his game needs some work. He needs to get tougher on the interior, become a better rebounder and improve his defense. But it’s exceptionally hard to find a forward this big with his shooting ability. If he was willing to come off the bench for a year as the rest of his game develops, a high major should get in the Anderson business. If he wants more immediate playing time, teams in the Mountain West or Atlantic-10 probably make the most sense for now.

Either way, Anderson is a player worth tracking, and has three years of eligibility still to come. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 225

Anderson is one of the more interesting names in the portal. He was one of the more fun freshmen in college basketball this season. A legitimate 6-foot-9 floor-spacer with a shot that will translate at any level, Anderson averaged 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this season on his way to winning the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year award.

Anderson is an absolute gunner from distance. He drilled 38.1 percent of his nearly 200 3-point attempts, and will fire off hand-offs if teams go under, as a trailer in transition or off relocations lifting from the corner to the wing. He even occasionally hits shots off direct screening actions. His shot preparation is elite and he’s always ready to catch and fire when the opportunity comes.

The rest of his game needs some work. He needs to get tougher on the interior, become a better rebounder and improve his defense. But it’s exceptionally hard to find a forward this big with his shooting ability. If he was willing to come off the bench for a year as the rest of his game develops, a high major should get in the Anderson business. If he wants more immediate playing time, teams in the Mountain West or Atlantic-10 probably make the most sense for now.

Either way, Anderson is a player worth tracking, and has three years of eligibility still to come. — Sam Vecenie

Forward

Committed

Central Arkansas

Utah State Aggies

Ht: 6-1Wt: 185

Wright transferred to Drake after spending three seasons at Cal-State Northridge, where he averaged 16.7 points per game as a junior. This season, Wright started every game as Drake marched to the Missouri Valley Tournament title and 28 wins. He was the second-leading scorer on the team, sharing his lead responsibilities with Missouri Valley Player of the Year Tucker DeVries.

Wright is a speedy, tough guard who can drive and accepts contact well enough to finish in the paint. He essentially played as an off-ball scorer last season, making 41 percent of his nearly five 3-point attempts per game. He’s always been more of a scorer than a passing point guard, so he will need to share lead guard duties as he did last season. But he’s clearly a high-major player who can either work as the first guard off the bench or in a three-guard alignment like Drake used.

Wright’s coach, Darian DeVries, is moving to West Virginia, so it’ll be interesting to see if Wright follows.  — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-1Wt: 185

Wright transferred to Drake after spending three seasons at Cal-State Northridge, where he averaged 16.7 points per game as a junior. This season, Wright started every game as Drake marched to the Missouri Valley Tournament title and 28 wins. He was the second-leading scorer on the team, sharing his lead responsibilities with Missouri Valley Player of the Year Tucker DeVries.

Wright is a speedy, tough guard who can drive and accepts contact well enough to finish in the paint. He essentially played as an off-ball scorer last season, making 41 percent of his nearly five 3-point attempts per game. He’s always been more of a scorer than a passing point guard, so he will need to share lead guard duties as he did last season. But he’s clearly a high-major player who can either work as the first guard off the bench or in a three-guard alignment like Drake used.

Wright’s coach, Darian DeVries, is moving to West Virginia, so it’ll be interesting to see if Wright follows.  — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Drake

North Texas Mean Green

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 170

Slajchert made second-team All-Ivy League this past season and has continued to improve over his time in college. After hitting 35 percent of his 3s over his first two seasons at Penn, Slajchert morphed into a lights-out shooter in 2023-24, making 42.2 percent of his 6.1 attempts per game. His shot takes a bit of time to get off, so I’m skeptical he’ll duplicate that percentage at high levels with longer opponents closing out on him. But he’s the kind of guy opponents certainly have to stay attached to on the perimeter. Slajchert also has a killer floater game and is generally effective from the court’s in-between areas.

The other good indicators are Slajchert’s big games against better conference opponents last season. He dropped 17 against Kentucky, 27 against St. Joe’s, 21 against Belmont and 33 against La Salle last season. As a sophomore, he scored 21 against Missouri, 20 against West Virginia, and 18 against St. Joseph’s.

More of a combo than a point guard, the Los Angeles-area native would fit on any number of West Coast schools who could use a knockdown shooter. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 170

Slajchert made second-team All-Ivy League this past season and has continued to improve over his time in college. After hitting 35 percent of his 3s over his first two seasons at Penn, Slajchert morphed into a lights-out shooter in 2023-24, making 42.2 percent of his 6.1 attempts per game. His shot takes a bit of time to get off, so I’m skeptical he’ll duplicate that percentage at high levels with longer opponents closing out on him. But he’s the kind of guy opponents certainly have to stay attached to on the perimeter. Slajchert also has a killer floater game and is generally effective from the court’s in-between areas.

The other good indicators are Slajchert’s big games against better conference opponents last season. He dropped 17 against Kentucky, 27 against St. Joe’s, 21 against Belmont and 33 against La Salle last season. As a sophomore, he scored 21 against Missouri, 20 against West Virginia, and 18 against St. Joseph’s.

More of a combo than a point guard, the Los Angeles-area native would fit on any number of West Coast schools who could use a knockdown shooter. — Sam Vecenie 

Guard

Committed

Penn

USC Trojans

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 200

James should leave Louisville with his head held high as the only player to start every game of the infamous Kenny Payne era. A former four-star recruit who missed his first season due to an Achilles injury, James played with real effort and exhibited a phenomenal attitude through the program’s difficult times.

James drove and cut often to the rim in an attempt to get downhill, which resulted in him averaging nearly five free throws per game over his tenure. He also knocked down shots off while running baseline to baseline a reasonable amount of the time. He was more efficient as a freshman before experiencing a downturn as a sophomore, though he did average 12.6 points and five rebounds this season.

Honestly, I believe in James as a shooter and I believe in him working hard. Those qualities at least make him a rotation player at the high-major level. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 200

James should leave Louisville with his head held high as the only player to start every game of the infamous Kenny Payne era. A former four-star recruit who missed his first season due to an Achilles injury, James played with real effort and exhibited a phenomenal attitude through the program’s difficult times.

James drove and cut often to the rim in an attempt to get downhill, which resulted in him averaging nearly five free throws per game over his tenure. He also knocked down shots off while running baseline to baseline a reasonable amount of the time. He was more efficient as a freshman before experiencing a downturn as a sophomore, though he did average 12.6 points and five rebounds this season.

Honestly, I believe in James as a shooter and I believe in him working hard. Those qualities at least make him a rotation player at the high-major level. — Sam Vecenie 

Wing

Committed

Louisville

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 185

A small scoring guard, Sears is a two-time first-team All-OVC pick and a two-time All-OVC Tournament player. He’s a big-time shot creator who uses quick-twitch moves to get into the midrange and toward the rim, though I’m skeptical if those skills will translate to the next level. Sears made just 46.7 percent of his shots at the rim, 38 percent of his floaters and only 33 percent of his midrange jumpers, per Synergy, despite playing against the 328th-ranked strength of schedule in the country.

Sears actually thrived as a 3-point shooter this season, something he’d struggled with in the past. In his first three seasons in college, Sears made just 30.8 percent of his 3s. This season, that number spiked to 43.2 percent on nearly six attempts per game. His motion looks clean and he has a quick release that allows him to get attempts off despite his size. He seemed to succeed most with relocation catch-and-shoot attempts, but also displayed an ability to make pull-ups going to either side. I believe in his shot coming up multiple levels; honestly, his makes are too pure.

Sears is good enough to play at a high major, though it’s unclear if his best role is as a starter or off the bench for an NCAA Tournament-quality team.  — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 5-11 Wt: 185

A small scoring guard, Sears is a two-time first-team All-OVC pick and a two-time All-OVC Tournament player. He’s a big-time shot creator who uses quick-twitch moves to get into the midrange and toward the rim, though I’m skeptical if those skills will translate to the next level. Sears made just 46.7 percent of his shots at the rim, 38 percent of his floaters and only 33 percent of his midrange jumpers, per Synergy, despite playing against the 328th-ranked strength of schedule in the country.

Sears actually thrived as a 3-point shooter this season, something he’d struggled with in the past. In his first three seasons in college, Sears made just 30.8 percent of his 3s. This season, that number spiked to 43.2 percent on nearly six attempts per game. His motion looks clean and he has a quick release that allows him to get attempts off despite his size. He seemed to succeed most with relocation catch-and-shoot attempts, but also displayed an ability to make pull-ups going to either side. I believe in his shot coming up multiple levels; honestly, his makes are too pure.

Sears is good enough to play at a high major, though it’s unclear if his best role is as a starter or off the bench for an NCAA Tournament-quality team.  — Sam Vecenie 

Guard

Committed

UT Martin

LSU Tigers

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 205

It’s tough to be more traveled than Clark is at this point of his early basketball career. Clark went to four high schools, committed to Kentucky, then decommitted in March of 2022 before he was slated to attend. He chose to go to Illinois instead, where he started 12 early season games before taking a leave of absence and hitting the transfer portal prior to this season. Now, he enters the portal again following the firing of Kenny Payne.

More of a scoring guard than a distributor, Clark closed the season well for Louisville, averaging 14.5 points on 51.3 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3 over his last eight games. His 12-game stretch before that was miserable, as he averaged 9.5 points and shot just 34.2 percent from the field.

I think Clark is better suited to be an intriguing off-ball option than a ball-dominant point guard. He doesn’t have enough shake or explosiveness to break down defenders at a high level, but he’s confident as a shooter and has good instincts for generating open looks. He made 41.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s, and I think his shot looks clean. The issue is when he tries to do anything more with the ball; he made just 46.7 percent of his shots at the rim and just 28.1 percent of his pull-up 3s, per Synergy. It would really help him to move off the ball even more so he doesn’t have to worry about getting others involved.

Clark can be a scorer for a high major, but I don’t think his decision-making and ability to break down defenders is good enough to give him the ball as more than a secondary player. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 205

It’s tough to be more traveled than Clark is at this point of his early basketball career. Clark went to four high schools, committed to Kentucky, then decommitted in March of 2022 before he was slated to attend. He chose to go to Illinois instead, where he started 12 early season games before taking a leave of absence and hitting the transfer portal prior to this season. Now, he enters the portal again following the firing of Kenny Payne.

More of a scoring guard than a distributor, Clark closed the season well for Louisville, averaging 14.5 points on 51.3 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3 over his last eight games. His 12-game stretch before that was miserable, as he averaged 9.5 points and shot just 34.2 percent from the field.

I think Clark is better suited to be an intriguing off-ball option than a ball-dominant point guard. He doesn’t have enough shake or explosiveness to break down defenders at a high level, but he’s confident as a shooter and has good instincts for generating open looks. He made 41.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s, and I think his shot looks clean. The issue is when he tries to do anything more with the ball; he made just 46.7 percent of his shots at the rim and just 28.1 percent of his pull-up 3s, per Synergy. It would really help him to move off the ball even more so he doesn’t have to worry about getting others involved.

Clark can be a scorer for a high major, but I don’t think his decision-making and ability to break down defenders is good enough to give him the ball as more than a secondary player. — Sam Vecenie 

Clark’s fit with UCLA coach Mick Cronin will be quite interesting. The Bruins’ backcourt was arguably its one strength last season, and Sebastian Mack, Jan Vide, Dylan Andrews and Will McClendon are all expected to be back next season. Each possesses lead guard capabilities; Mack, in particular, is a scoring guard whose skill set overlaps with Clark’s.

On the other hand, UCLA struggles to get in graduate transfers and simply needs more talent after a down season by Cronin’s standards. Clark’s body type and style of play is not too different from Troy Caupain, one of Cronin’s better players at Cincinnati. The question is whether Clark can keep improving to become a table-setter in addition to being a tough-shot maker.

— Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Louisville

UCLA Bruins

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

Pope is a terrific, versatile scorer who has finished top-five in the Big West in scoring each of the last two seasons. An off-guard scorer, Pope was responsible for a significant amount of the team’s offensive creation despite not exactly being a lead guard. He may possess the prettiest finger roll in all of college hoops.

Pope is constantly hunting for his own shot, whether in transition, in the pick-and-roll or flying off screens. He could score at all three levels in the Big West, countering his drives to the paint with short range shots, floaters and pull-up 3s. He’s not quite an elite shooter — he has a funky high release and wrist motion — but uses constant motion to keep defenders honest. He’s also quite strong, and seems to absorb contact well.

I’m a bit skeptical of his game translating to a high major unless he becomes an absolute flame thrower from distance. He may be best served going to a school in the Mountain West Conference, which offers a jump in competition, but not a significant enough one to force him to change his game. But high-major schools like Cal, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and others who have reportedly reached out to him are also decent fits given their offensive schemes. I don’t think he’ll average 18 points per game at that level, but he could at least start at schools like those. — Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

Pope is a terrific, versatile scorer who has finished top-five in the Big West in scoring each of the last two seasons. An off-guard scorer, Pope was responsible for a significant amount of the team’s offensive creation despite not exactly being a lead guard. He may possess the prettiest finger roll in all of college hoops.

Pope is constantly hunting for his own shot, whether in transition, in the pick-and-roll or flying off screens. He could score at all three levels in the Big West, countering his drives to the paint with short range shots, floaters and pull-up 3s. He’s not quite an elite shooter — he has a funky high release and wrist motion — but uses constant motion to keep defenders honest. He’s also quite strong, and seems to absorb contact well.

I’m a bit skeptical of his game translating to a high major unless he becomes an absolute flame thrower from distance. He may be best served going to a school in the Mountain West Conference, which offers a jump in competition, but not a significant enough one to force him to change his game. But high-major schools like Cal, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and others who have reportedly reached out to him are also decent fits given their offensive schemes. I don’t think he’ll average 18 points per game at that level, but he could at least start at schools like those. — Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

San Diego

USC Trojans

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 185

Davis had a rollercoaster career at Arkansas. The highs included him averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 45 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3 over Arkansas’ final 21 games last season, where they made a run to the Sweet 16. Davis had 25 points in the team’s upset over Kansas and 16 in a win against Illinois. He also played 31 minutes per night in Arkansas’ Elite 8 run 2022. At his best, he was a tough defender who crawled into people’s space.

Having said that, he also experienced some real negative moments. His offense, and particularly his jump shot, was streaky. He left the team twice in the middle of his junior and senior seasons, returning after two days last season and a full week this season.

This season was tough for Davis, as he didn’t live up to the expectations placed upon him. He struggled to do much on offense, averaging just 5.9 points on 36.3 percent shooting. His defense was solid, but not as good as what it had been previously. He may simply need a change of scenery.

Few players in the portal have as much big-game success as Davis, so there will be interest. But teams will want to know why he left the Arkansas team twice over the last two years, as well as what exactly went wrong this season. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 185

Davis had a rollercoaster career at Arkansas. The highs included him averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 45 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3 over Arkansas’ final 21 games last season, where they made a run to the Sweet 16. Davis had 25 points in the team’s upset over Kansas and 16 in a win against Illinois. He also played 31 minutes per night in Arkansas’ Elite 8 run 2022. At his best, he was a tough defender who crawled into people’s space.

Having said that, he also experienced some real negative moments. His offense, and particularly his jump shot, was streaky. He left the team twice in the middle of his junior and senior seasons, returning after two days last season and a full week this season.

This season was tough for Davis, as he didn’t live up to the expectations placed upon him. He struggled to do much on offense, averaging just 5.9 points on 36.3 percent shooting. His defense was solid, but not as good as what it had been previously. He may simply need a change of scenery.

Few players in the portal have as much big-game success as Davis, so there will be interest. But teams will want to know why he left the Arkansas team twice over the last two years, as well as what exactly went wrong this season. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-11Wt: 270

Khalifa is one of the best passing bigs in college basketball. He averaged 4.0 assists in only 19.4 minutes per game. BYU would give him the ball on the perimeter and then fly off the ball, giving him options with cutters or DHOs and let him dissect. His feel and vision are elite. Khalifa can also shoot from the perimeter and is a 35.3 percent career 3-point shooter, so he’s dangerous popping in the pick-and-roll. He started his career at Charlotte, where he did more scoring (11.7 points per game as a sophomore), but his main role at BYU was as the hub of the offense.
Defensively, Khalifa is limited because he really struggles to move. The Cougars played him in a deep drop. That puts a lot on your guards in ball-screen coverage. Khalifa knows his limitations and plays defense without fouling, but his lack of foot speed is something you have to scheme around. Khalifa was so perfect in his role in Mark Pope’s offense that it wouldn’t be surprising if he follows Pope to Kentucky.  — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 6-11Wt: 270

Khalifa is one of the best passing bigs in college basketball. He averaged 4.0 assists in only 19.4 minutes per game. BYU would give him the ball on the perimeter and then fly off the ball, giving him options with cutters or DHOs and let him dissect. His feel and vision are elite. Khalifa can also shoot from the perimeter and is a 35.3 percent career 3-point shooter, so he’s dangerous popping in the pick-and-roll. He started his career at Charlotte, where he did more scoring (11.7 points per game as a sophomore), but his main role at BYU was as the hub of the offense.
Defensively, Khalifa is limited because he really struggles to move. The Cougars played him in a deep drop. That puts a lot on your guards in ball-screen coverage. Khalifa knows his limitations and plays defense without fouling, but his lack of foot speed is something you have to scheme around. Khalifa was so perfect in his role in Mark Pope’s offense that it wouldn’t be surprising if he follows Pope to Kentucky.  — C.J. Moore 

Center

Committed

BYU

Louisville Cardinals

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

Brown was one of the best young players in the America East Conference over the last two years, making the All-Freshman team last season before developing into a full-blown star within the league in 2023-24. He averaged 19 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3, although he didn’t draw fouls as much as one might expect.

His game is direct, almost to a concerning degree in terms of how well it translates to a higher level. Everything for Brown is in a straight line; his handle doesn’t seem to have much shake. The good news: He’s a genuine three-level scorer who can post up smaller guards or play out of screens and hand-offs. He’s a threat to pull-up and score at a reasonable level from every point inside of 22 feet, and he made 35 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s.

But Brown’s main goal is to get to the basket. He took more than seven shots at the basket per game and made them at a 68 percent clip, an absurd number for a guard. He’s tough and focused on the rim when driving, has good touch and even attacks the glass, averaging nearly three offensive rebounds per game. In transition, he can really load up off two feet and throw down above the rim.

I respect how hard Brown plays and believe he will rebound well no matter where he plays, but I’m skeptical that his scoring package will translate to the high-major level. Honestly, I’d love to see him in a conference more at the Atlantic-10 level next season to see how he looks there. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 185

Brown was one of the best young players in the America East Conference over the last two years, making the All-Freshman team last season before developing into a full-blown star within the league in 2023-24. He averaged 19 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3, although he didn’t draw fouls as much as one might expect.

His game is direct, almost to a concerning degree in terms of how well it translates to a higher level. Everything for Brown is in a straight line; his handle doesn’t seem to have much shake. The good news: He’s a genuine three-level scorer who can post up smaller guards or play out of screens and hand-offs. He’s a threat to pull-up and score at a reasonable level from every point inside of 22 feet, and he made 35 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s.

But Brown’s main goal is to get to the basket. He took more than seven shots at the basket per game and made them at a 68 percent clip, an absurd number for a guard. He’s tough and focused on the rim when driving, has good touch and even attacks the glass, averaging nearly three offensive rebounds per game. In transition, he can really load up off two feet and throw down above the rim.

I respect how hard Brown plays and believe he will rebound well no matter where he plays, but I’m skeptical that his scoring package will translate to the high-major level. Honestly, I’d love to see him in a conference more at the Atlantic-10 level next season to see how he looks there. — Sam Vecenie 

Guard

Committed

UMBC

Boston College Eagles

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 225

To call Cochran well-traveled would be an understatement. He started his career at Northern Illinois before departing after coach Mark Montgomery was fired. He moved to another MAC school in Ball State for a season, then left after another coach in James Whitford got fired. He then landed at Toledo for the last two seasons, gaining an extra year of eligibility by redshirting after missing a majority of the 2022-23 season with a toe injury. That means Cochran will be a sixth-year senior this coming season.

His 2023-24 season was his best yet. He won the co-Defensive Player of the Year award in the MAC, using his 220-pound frame, great hands and sense of disruption to stay in front of his man. He also averaged nearly two steals per game, and opponents really feel his presence on the perimeter.

Offensively, Cochran keeps improving. A second-team All-MAC selection this year, he averaged 14.4 points per game largely by filling in gaps and taking advantage of opportunities when they came to him. He attacked closeouts, cut off the ball toward the rim and sprinted out in transition to find easy buckets.

Cochran is all about energy. He’s not really a creator, nor is he a pick-and-roll guard. He can make 3s when left open, but by and large plays a direct game. I’m not sure how much of his offense translates to the high-major level, but he’s the type of player I’d want on my team. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 225

To call Cochran well-traveled would be an understatement. He started his career at Northern Illinois before departing after coach Mark Montgomery was fired. He moved to another MAC school in Ball State for a season, then left after another coach in James Whitford got fired. He then landed at Toledo for the last two seasons, gaining an extra year of eligibility by redshirting after missing a majority of the 2022-23 season with a toe injury. That means Cochran will be a sixth-year senior this coming season.

His 2023-24 season was his best yet. He won the co-Defensive Player of the Year award in the MAC, using his 220-pound frame, great hands and sense of disruption to stay in front of his man. He also averaged nearly two steals per game, and opponents really feel his presence on the perimeter.

Offensively, Cochran keeps improving. A second-team All-MAC selection this year, he averaged 14.4 points per game largely by filling in gaps and taking advantage of opportunities when they came to him. He attacked closeouts, cut off the ball toward the rim and sprinted out in transition to find easy buckets.

Cochran is all about energy. He’s not really a creator, nor is he a pick-and-roll guard. He can make 3s when left open, but by and large plays a direct game. I’m not sure how much of his offense translates to the high-major level, but he’s the type of player I’d want on my team. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 215

This seems impossible, but Julien will be a seventh-year college basketball player next season. Originally a part of the 2018 recruiting class and the son of a former Louisiana player, Julien redshirted his first season after tearing his ACL in his left knee in high school. Then, during what was supposed to be his redshirt freshman season, he tore the ACL in his right knee and missed the rest of that season and all but the final four games of the following campaign. Then, one of his ensuing seasons was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has only played three seasons of college hoops, so he has at least one year of eligibility left and could get a second if the NCAA allows players to get one for an additional medical redshirt.

Julien made the third-team All-Sun Belt as essentially a fourth-year freshman, then really broke out as a junior this past season. He dropped 17.3 points while shooting 45 percent from the field and getting to the free-throw line nearly five times per game, making second-team all-conference.

Julien is a big bowling ball of a wing/forward who uses a strong deceleration step to maneuver around rim protectors and rotating bigs around the basket. Beyond that, he can knock down shots off the catch and tends to make the open ones at a high level.

Julien will need to continue to convert jumpers and stay healthy. If he does, he could be a high-major starter, or, at the very least ,an impact bench player. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 215

This seems impossible, but Julien will be a seventh-year college basketball player next season. Originally a part of the 2018 recruiting class and the son of a former Louisiana player, Julien redshirted his first season after tearing his ACL in his left knee in high school. Then, during what was supposed to be his redshirt freshman season, he tore the ACL in his right knee and missed the rest of that season and all but the final four games of the following campaign. Then, one of his ensuing seasons was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has only played three seasons of college hoops, so he has at least one year of eligibility left and could get a second if the NCAA allows players to get one for an additional medical redshirt.

Julien made the third-team All-Sun Belt as essentially a fourth-year freshman, then really broke out as a junior this past season. He dropped 17.3 points while shooting 45 percent from the field and getting to the free-throw line nearly five times per game, making second-team all-conference.

Julien is a big bowling ball of a wing/forward who uses a strong deceleration step to maneuver around rim protectors and rotating bigs around the basket. Beyond that, he can knock down shots off the catch and tends to make the open ones at a high level.

Julien will need to continue to convert jumpers and stay healthy. If he does, he could be a high-major starter, or, at the very least ,an impact bench player. — Sam Vecenie 

Wing

Committed

Louisiana

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 205

Derkack will be one of the most fascinating evaluations in the portal this season. The Northest Conference Player of the Year this season has an interesting game that is simultaneously well-rounded and flawed. Offensively, almost everything comes near the basket. He’ll occasionally throw down dunks, but he mostly finishes with below-the-rim layups. He doesn’t have much of an in-between game and doesn’t take a ton of pull-up 3s. All that makes him a funky fit, especially since the NEC does not have a positive record with players attempting to transfer up.

However, Derkack has great feel and is a fast processor of the game. He passes exceedingly well, having averaged nearly four assists per game. His handle is pretty loose and he had a number of sub-optimal ball-control and footwork turnovers this season, but once he gets to his spots, he can quickly dissect how defenders are playing him and make the right reads.

None of that accounts for the place he’ll make the biggest impact on a high-major school. Derkack won the NEC Defensive Player of the Year award and is an aggressive on-ball player with all sorts of toughness. He has great hands and good instincts for getting into passing lanes.

If Derkack wants a starting role, I think he’d be best in the Atlantic-10 or a similar-level conference. But I’d understand if a Big East or Big Ten team wanted him to add on-court toughness and leadership as a role player. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 205

Derkack will be one of the most fascinating evaluations in the portal this season. The Northest Conference Player of the Year this season has an interesting game that is simultaneously well-rounded and flawed. Offensively, almost everything comes near the basket. He’ll occasionally throw down dunks, but he mostly finishes with below-the-rim layups. He doesn’t have much of an in-between game and doesn’t take a ton of pull-up 3s. All that makes him a funky fit, especially since the NEC does not have a positive record with players attempting to transfer up.

However, Derkack has great feel and is a fast processor of the game. He passes exceedingly well, having averaged nearly four assists per game. His handle is pretty loose and he had a number of sub-optimal ball-control and footwork turnovers this season, but once he gets to his spots, he can quickly dissect how defenders are playing him and make the right reads.

None of that accounts for the place he’ll make the biggest impact on a high-major school. Derkack won the NEC Defensive Player of the Year award and is an aggressive on-ball player with all sorts of toughness. He has great hands and good instincts for getting into passing lanes.

If Derkack wants a starting role, I think he’d be best in the Atlantic-10 or a similar-level conference. But I’d understand if a Big East or Big Ten team wanted him to add on-court toughness and leadership as a role player. — Sam Vecenie 

Wing

Committed

Merrimack

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Ht: 7-0Wt: 250

Onyenso is an elite shot blocker but not a lot else at this point. Kentucky’s defense was actually worse with him on the floor this season. He’s great at blocking shots but still learning the game on both ends of the floor. He does move well for his size and so there’s hope he can continue to develop into something more. He’s less awkward than he was as a freshman but still struggles to finish anything that isn’t a dunk. Still, he’s worth a gamble because of the shot-blocking. He had a 15.4 percent block rate, which would have ranked first at KenPom if he’d played enough minutes to qualify. He has potential as a roller, because he covers ground quickly north and south and can flip his hips quickly as well.
 — C.J. Moore 

Ht: 7-0Wt: 250

Onyenso is an elite shot blocker but not a lot else at this point. Kentucky’s defense was actually worse with him on the floor this season. He’s great at blocking shots but still learning the game on both ends of the floor. He does move well for his size and so there’s hope he can continue to develop into something more. He’s less awkward than he was as a freshman but still struggles to finish anything that isn’t a dunk. Still, he’s worth a gamble because of the shot-blocking. He had a 15.4 percent block rate, which would have ranked first at KenPom if he’d played enough minutes to qualify. He has potential as a roller, because he covers ground quickly north and south and can flip his hips quickly as well.
 — C.J. Moore 

Center

In Portal

South Florida

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 185

A first-team All-Summit League selection this season, Omot is a slasher with all sorts of length. He likes to attack off the bounce, sizing up his defender at his own pace with hesitation dribbles before using his long strides to extend past his man and get to the rim.

He averaged 16.7 points and 4.2 rebounds this year, but wasn’t all that efficient and may have trouble traveling up levels. He wasn’t a particularly good shooter, hitting only 29.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s and only 23.1 percent of his pull-ups. In halfcourt settings, he only made 52.5 percent of his shots around the rim.

Omot is long and brings real defensive ability to the table on the wing. He’s a tough on-ball defender, and while he doesn’t force a ton of steals or block many shots, he is aggressive in making life tough for opposing wings. He fared as well as anyone defending Frankie Fidler this February and made him work equally hard in the Summit tournament.

Given offensive questions, Omot may be a better fit in a league like the American before trying to bounce upward the following season. But there will be high-major teams intrigued by his size, length and versatility off the bounce. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-8 Wt: 185

A first-team All-Summit League selection this season, Omot is a slasher with all sorts of length. He likes to attack off the bounce, sizing up his defender at his own pace with hesitation dribbles before using his long strides to extend past his man and get to the rim.

He averaged 16.7 points and 4.2 rebounds this year, but wasn’t all that efficient and may have trouble traveling up levels. He wasn’t a particularly good shooter, hitting only 29.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s and only 23.1 percent of his pull-ups. In halfcourt settings, he only made 52.5 percent of his shots around the rim.

Omot is long and brings real defensive ability to the table on the wing. He’s a tough on-ball defender, and while he doesn’t force a ton of steals or block many shots, he is aggressive in making life tough for opposing wings. He fared as well as anyone defending Frankie Fidler this February and made him work equally hard in the Summit tournament.

Given offensive questions, Omot may be a better fit in a league like the American before trying to bounce upward the following season. But there will be high-major teams intrigued by his size, length and versatility off the bounce. — Sam Vecenie 

Forward

Committed

North Dakota

California Golden Bears

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 245

Despite averaging just 2.7 points and two rebounds in just nine minutes per game as a freshman, Nwoko has buckets of potential. At 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and a 240-pound frame, Nwoko is a legitimately explosive athlete. He plays hard, wants to dunk everything around the rim and gets easy lifts off either one foot or two. Unsurprisingly, he was at his best as an offensive rebounder and low-usage big, with shooting mechanics that at least looked comfortable in limited minutes even if the results weren’t there. But Nwoko is raw and his hands let him down from time to time.

He’s a project that could pay off in a big way down the road if he chooses the right school. — Sam Vecenie 

Ht: 6-10 Wt: 245

Despite averaging just 2.7 points and two rebounds in just nine minutes per game as a freshman, Nwoko has buckets of potential. At 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and a 240-pound frame, Nwoko is a legitimately explosive athlete. He plays hard, wants to dunk everything around the rim and gets easy lifts off either one foot or two. Unsurprisingly, he was at his best as an offensive rebounder and low-usage big, with shooting mechanics that at least looked comfortable in limited minutes even if the results weren’t there. But Nwoko is raw and his hands let him down from time to time.

He’s a project that could pay off in a big way down the road if he chooses the right school. — Sam Vecenie 

Center

Committed

Miami (Fla.)

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 190

One of the most interesting guards in the portal, if only because he’s all over the place. After an All-Freshman season in the SEC after starting his career at Georgia, Johnson transferred in-league to Auburn where he was a key player on two excellent teams under Bruce Pearl as well as another that went to the Round of 32. With Johnson, you’re riding a roller coaster and you know it. There are games where he’ll help you win it, and games where his inefficiency and decision-making issues will lose the game.

Auburn minimized his role a bit more this year, as he played 18 minutes per game. I don’t think it’s an accident that the team had its lowest turnover rate of the last three years by doing that. Johnson can overdribble and get a little loose with his choices, leading to fastbreaks the other way. But Johnson is also a serious ball-pressure defender who can get into the opposition and make their lives miserable. And when he has it going on offense, feels confident, and has the right blend of driving, passing and scoring going, he is genuinely difficult to stay in front of with his speed.

I don’t think that Johnson is a player that I’d be enthusiastic about recruiting because it’s just so feast-or-famine, but there is enough talent for him to find another high-major home. It just depends what he wants. If he wants to play on the ball more, a mid-major that allows a lot of freedom probably makes more sense. But if he wants to win, there will be other options. The key for Johnson is finding a level of consistency that he has yet to find in his career.— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 190

One of the most interesting guards in the portal, if only because he’s all over the place. After an All-Freshman season in the SEC after starting his career at Georgia, Johnson transferred in-league to Auburn where he was a key player on two excellent teams under Bruce Pearl as well as another that went to the Round of 32. With Johnson, you’re riding a roller coaster and you know it. There are games where he’ll help you win it, and games where his inefficiency and decision-making issues will lose the game.

Auburn minimized his role a bit more this year, as he played 18 minutes per game. I don’t think it’s an accident that the team had its lowest turnover rate of the last three years by doing that. Johnson can overdribble and get a little loose with his choices, leading to fastbreaks the other way. But Johnson is also a serious ball-pressure defender who can get into the opposition and make their lives miserable. And when he has it going on offense, feels confident, and has the right blend of driving, passing and scoring going, he is genuinely difficult to stay in front of with his speed.

I don’t think that Johnson is a player that I’d be enthusiastic about recruiting because it’s just so feast-or-famine, but there is enough talent for him to find another high-major home. It just depends what he wants. If he wants to play on the ball more, a mid-major that allows a lot of freedom probably makes more sense. But if he wants to win, there will be other options. The key for Johnson is finding a level of consistency that he has yet to find in his career.— Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Auburn

George Mason Patriots

Ht: 6-4Wt: 205

It’ll be fascinating to see how Heise’s game translates up to a higher level of competition. It might really work, as he has phenomenal touch and basketball IQ. It might also see some diminishing returns as a lot of his offense tends to come around the rim as a guy who isn’t necessarily a wildly explosive athlete. He loved to attack closeouts and get to the rim, where he was strong and would maintain contact well. He is decisive and does seem to have some deceptive quickness because of that, but he’s not overly long or vertical. We’ll see how that goes.

The good news there? Heise is awesome at hunting those shots around the rim in other ways. He’s a terrific off-ball mover, finding back cuts within Ben Jacobson’s Northern Iowa offense regularly. He has great timing, and does a sharp job of selling all of his off-ball movement one direction before flying in the other direction. He’s comfortable driving the ball with a tight handle, but he does need that initial advantage as his first step isn’t awesome by high-major standards. To get that advantage, Northern Iowa ran him off of a ton of off-ball action and then would have him curl into the middle of the court to try to get that little bit of space coming off of the screen, where he could fire with pull-ups, floaters, or drive to the rim. The makes from 3 are also pure, especially off of the catch. Basically, everything offensively built upon itself well within this offense for Heise. The off-ball movement and shooting will absolutely translate to higher levels. I don’t think that the midrange floater stuff and drives will be all that likely to be anything more than a counter. However, it’s certainly enough to make him valuable as something in the ballpark of a fifth starter at the high-major level, or potentially a sharp sixth man.
— Sam Vecenie

Ht: 6-4Wt: 205

It’ll be fascinating to see how Heise’s game translates up to a higher level of competition. It might really work, as he has phenomenal touch and basketball IQ. It might also see some diminishing returns as a lot of his offense tends to come around the rim as a guy who isn’t necessarily a wildly explosive athlete. He loved to attack closeouts and get to the rim, where he was strong and would maintain contact well. He is decisive and does seem to have some deceptive quickness because of that, but he’s not overly long or vertical. We’ll see how that goes.

The good news there? Heise is awesome at hunting those shots around the rim in other ways. He’s a terrific off-ball mover, finding back cuts within Ben Jacobson’s Northern Iowa offense regularly. He has great timing, and does a sharp job of selling all of his off-ball movement one direction before flying in the other direction. He’s comfortable driving the ball with a tight handle, but he does need that initial advantage as his first step isn’t awesome by high-major standards. To get that advantage, Northern Iowa ran him off of a ton of off-ball action and then would have him curl into the middle of the court to try to get that little bit of space coming off of the screen, where he could fire with pull-ups, floaters, or drive to the rim. The makes from 3 are also pure, especially off of the catch. Basically, everything offensively built upon itself well within this offense for Heise. The off-ball movement and shooting will absolutely translate to higher levels. I don’t think that the midrange floater stuff and drives will be all that likely to be anything more than a counter. However, it’s certainly enough to make him valuable as something in the ballpark of a fifth starter at the high-major level, or potentially a sharp sixth man.
— Sam Vecenie

Heise committed quickly to Iowa State out of the portal, and it’s a good get for T.J. Otzelberger. The Cyclones did not have a ton of sharp off-ball movers last year who could hit shots. Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lipsey should be back to help with the offensive creation, and Heise is a good fit next to one or both of those players because he’s not overly ball-dominant. He’ll help space the floor, and give defenses another guy that they have to pay attention to out there. The Cyclones are shaping up as a top-five team in the preseason, and Heise should help there.
— Sam Vecenie

Guard

Committed

Northern Iowa

Iowa State Cyclones

(Photo of Johnell Davis: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)