Ranking college basketball’s top 10 transfers of the 2020 recruiting cycle

The uncertainty surrounding when colleges will allow students back on campus and what the 2020-21 college basketball season might look like has not slowed down the sport’s transfer cycle. In fact, there has been a substantial wave of players entering the portal this year as the NCAA weighs a potential rule change that would allow transferring players immediate eligibility at their new school.

If the rule passes, there could be another wave of players who decide to transfer. For now, here are the top-10 transfers in college basketball for the 2020 cycle. 

Note: Graduate transfers are not included and are listed separately here.

No. 1 Landers Nolley

Old school: Virginia Tech | New school: Memphis

If transfers are not granted immediate eligibility, it would be a particularly tough pill to swallow for Nolley, who already took one redshirt during his first season at Virginia Tech. It would be tough for Memphis as well after the Tigers took a hit when Jalen Green opted for the G-League over signing with Memphis. But whether it’s next season or the season after, Nolley will be a force for Memphis on the wing, which is where he wants to play after he was pegged as a stretch four at Virginia Tech. The ACC All-Freshman performer has an NBA build and the two-way chops to match it.

2. D.J. Carton 

Old school: Ohio State | New school: Marquette

The No. 34 overall prospect in the 2019 recruiting class lived up to the billing in 20 games as a freshman at Ohio State this season before leaving the program January. At Marquette, he will be part of the daunting task of helping the Golden Eagles move on from the graduation of the Big East’s all-time leading scorer Markus Howard. Carton’s game appears up to the task after he averaged 10.4 points per game and hit 40% of his 3-pointers while mostly coming off the bench in his stint with the Buckeyes.

3. Kobe King 

Old school: Wisconsin | New school: Nebraska

After averaging 10 points per game in 19 starts as a junior, King announced midseason that he would leave the Wisconsin program. Now, he’s headed to a new spot in the Big Ten and a dramatically remade roster at Nebraska. King needs to improve his 3-point shot, but he’s got a great mid-range game and is good at getting to the basket. He filled it up for the slow-paced, co-league champions at Wisconsin, so King should be able to post some impressive offensive numbers for a rebuilding team that plays with an up-tempo pace like Nebraska.

4. Liam Robbins

Old school: Drake | New school: Minnesota

Robbins needed a year at prep school to lose weight and attract college interest after high school, but his rise has been meteoric since he got on the right track. The 7-footer will now get to test his game in the sport’s toughest league after a breakout sophomore season in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Iowa native averaged 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks this season. If his game continues progressing on its current trajectory, he’ll be a force in the Big Ten in his remaining two seasons of eligibility.

5. Alan Griffin 

Old school: lliinois | New school: Syracuse

Griffin is headed back to his home state to try and build on the progress he demonstrated as a sophomore. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 18.1 minutes per game for the Illini after playing sparingly as a freshman. He’s a good outside shooter (41.6% from 3-point range this season) and has a great pedigree as the son of former NBA veteran and current Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin. If eligible immediately, Griffin will be tasked with helping the Orange replace the production of Elijah Hughes, who led the ACC in scoring this season.

6. Jamarius Burton

Old school: Wichita State | New school: Texas Tech

Burton improved his efficiency as a scorer this season for Wichita State as he averaged 10 points per game on 38.1% 3-point shooting. He’s also serviceable as a distributor and rebounder and versatile enough defensively to guard multiple positions. It’s unlikely that he’ll blossom into an All-Big 12 performer. But the former unheralded prospect should make an immediate impact on a Texas Tech team flourishing under Chris Beard.

7. Marcus Santos-Silva

Old school: VCU | New school: Undeclared

He’s slightly undersized at 6-7. But he still managed to block 1.3 shots per game while leading the Rams in scoring as an absolute workhorse down low this season. Now, after declaring for the draft in early April, he’s announced he plans to transfer instead. Though he’s not a threat from the outside, there will be plenty of major suitors for a player who averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in the Atlantic 10.

8. David DeJulius 

Old school: Michigan | New school: Cincinnati

It’s worth wondering whether DeJulius still would have transferred if he’d known that Josh Christopher was going to pick Arizona State over Michigan and that Isaiah Todd was going to turn pro instead of becoming a Wolverine. Nonetheless, the former four-star guard is headed to a spot where he should be able to shine. Cincinnati could lose its top five scorers if Keith Williams and Chris Vogt stay in the NBA Draft. That opens the door for DeJulius, who averaged 7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists while hitting 36.1% of his 3-pointers off the bench for Michigan this season.

9. Ty Brewer 

Old school: Southeast Louisiana | New school: East Tennessee State

He’s 6-7, is a great rebounder and can hit outside shots. What’s not to like about Brewer? His production soared as a sophomore as he averaged 14.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Now he’ll get to play for a winner at ETSU, which is looking to recover quickly from the loss of five seniors from this year’s 30-4 squad. Don’t be surprised if you see Brewer stuffing the box score in an NCAA Tournament at some point.

10. Alex O’Connell

Old school: Duke | New school: Creighton

If O’Connell can regain the 3-point shooting stroke he showed as a freshman at Duke, he’ll be a perfect fit in a Creighton system that is dependent on the outside shot. Regardless, he should be able to play a larger role at Creighton than the one he played for three seasons at Duke. Perhaps that will be the impetus that finally allows the former top-100 recruit to shine.

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