Top 10 college basketball graduate transfers of the 2020 recruiting cycle

They are rarely household names on the national scale, but graduate transfers have been key cogs on some of college basketball’s top teams in recent years, and the 2020 recruiting cycle brought another wave of coveted veterans to the market.

As the dust begins to settle on the graduate transfer wire, here are 10 players headed to new spots in college basketball projected to make a significant impact on their new teams.

1. Matt Haarms

Old school: Purdue | New school: Undeclared

His productivity dipped a bit this past season as a junior at Purdue, but the 7-foot-3 center will clearly be an impact player anywhere he goes. With a top three of Kentucky, Texas Tech and BYU, Haarms appears destined to play for a team with championship aspirations. There is no better rim protector on the graduate transfer market this season, but Haarms’ still needs to improve on a career rebounding average of 4.4 per game.

2. Carlik Jones 

Old school: Radford | New school: Louisville

Jones will likely be an immediate starter for a Louisville team set to lose six of its top eight scorers if Jordan Nwora remains in the NBA Draft. He was named Big South Player of the Year after averaging 20 points, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals while hitting 40.9% of his 3-pointers as a junior this season. And he did it for a winning team, too, as Radford captured a share of the Big South title as it continued to rise under coach Mike Jones.

3. Bryce Aiken 

Old school: Harvard | New school: Seton Hall

Following three standout seasons under Tommy Amaker at one of the Ivy League’s top programs, Aiken is taking his game to one of the sport’s top conferences after missing most of this season with an injury. The 6-foot guard won’t be able to fill the shoes of graduated All-American Myles Powell on his own, but as a smart veteran guard with great shooting range, he should able to help keep the Pirates relevant in the Big East amid the graduation of three starters.

4. Seth Towns 

Old school: Harvard | New school: Ohio State

Like Aiken, Towns’ time at Harvard was derailed by injury. But if he can regain the form he showed in the 2017-18 season, he’ll make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes as a floor-stretching forward with defensive versatility. Towns is expected to have two seasons of eligibility in what amounts to a homecoming for the Columbus, Ohio native.

5. Terrell Gomez

Old school: Cal State-Northridge | New school: San Diego State

Buckle up, because this could be a fun partnership to watch. Gomez is a career 43.6% 3-point shooter, and he likes to take a lot of them. Now he’s joining a program with a place in the national spotlight after it racked up 30 wins this season relying heavily on transfers Malachi Flynn, Yanni Wetzel and KJ Feagin. The Aztecs will be replacing all three if Flynn remains in the NBA Draft, which opens the door for the 5-foot-8 Gomez to light it up on a national stage in the same way Flynn did this season.

6. Dimencio Vaughn 

Old school: Rider | New school: Ole Miss

An Ole Miss program that struggled to a 15-17 record this season after winning 20 games and making the NCAA Tournament in coach Kermit Davis’ first year will be looking to Vaughn to help get it back on track. With leading scorer Breein Tyree graduating, Vaughn is likely to step in and play a key role after he averaged 14.8 points on 39.3% 3-point shooting for a good Rider team last season. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Vaughn’s defensive versatility and knack for steals should make him an impact player even if his offense is slow to translate.

7. Frederick Scott 

Old school: Rider | New school: Boston College

Jackson could make an immediate impact in the ACC as a stretch four with a 38.6% career 3-point mark. He should have an immediate opportunity to start with center Nik Popovic graduating and forward Jairus Hamilton transferring out of BC. As a sixth-year senior (he started his career at DePaul), look for Scott to provide quality leadership after spending three seasons in a successful program at Rider.

8. Vance Jackson

Old school: New Mexico | New school: Arkansas

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman has a quality track record with transfers from his time at Nevada and is already building on that reputation as he enters year two at Arkansas. A small-ball big like Jackson should be a great fit for his undersized attack. He’s no rim protector, but Jackson can grab rebounds and stretch the floor as he demonstrated at UConn in 2016-17 and in the past two seasons as a major producer at New Mexico.

9. Aaron Cook

Old school: Southern Illinois | New school: Gonzaga

If you’re looking for the graduate transfer most likely to make an impact on a Final Four team, Cook might be the best bet. The former Southern Illinois guard might not lead Gonzaga in scoring next season, but Bulldogs coach Mark Few doesn’t hand out scholarships to just anyone, and Cook’s career trajectory suggests the best is yet to come for the 6-foot-2 guard. His 2019-20 season was off to a great beginning both offensively and defensively before it was derailed by injury.

10. Jalen Tate 

Old school: Northern Kentucky | New school: Arkansas

Predicting how Musselman will fuse four freshmen and two transfers with the returning roster is a challenge. But his history suggests he’ll have a plan, and Tate figures to be big part of it. The lanky wing is a potential All-SEC defender who can distribute, rebound and, if necessary, score. He’ll have a chance to do it all for the Hogs after three great seasons with one of the Horizon League’s top programs.

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