It’s officially May, the heart of spring. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining and finally, college basketball’s transfer portal appears to be slowing down.
What was once a robust machine of college hoops additions and subtractions, now only has a few, legitimate handful of difference-makers left available (where have you gone, Walker Kessler and Justin Powell?!).
Still, we will continue to do our transfer portal updates at least for a few more weeks for two simple reasons: There are still a few really, really good players in the portal, and because there are still teams – maybe Kentucky more notably than anyone – who need talent infusions next year.
So with that, let’s get to Version 7.0 of the “15 best players currently in the transfer portal,” with one marquee addition.
Here is Version 7.0:
1. Marcus Carr, G, Minnesota
Ranking Last Week: No. 1
This is now Version 7.0 and in all seven lists Carr has been atop our big board.
By now you know his story: All-Big Ten second team, averaged 19 points per game at Minnesota last year, currently testing the NBA Draft waters, blah, blah, blah. With his college recruitment there had been some early Kentucky buzz, but it seems increasingly like he is going to pursue every possible option before electing to return to college.
With the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline not until July, there is a chance that we’re still 6+ weeks out from knowing if Carr will play college hoops next year. Meaning that at this point, any school that is still actively recruiting him probably should be looking at other options. And if he does end up your campus, consider it a simple cherry on top of any recruiting haul, come mid-summer.
Recruiting Buzz: Will test his NBA options before making a college decision
2. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State
Ranking Last Week: No. 2
This is now the second week in a row that Marcus Bagley – the younger brother of former Duke forward Marvin Bagley – has made this list. And with good reason: He’s a damn good player who just recently completed his freshman season at Arizona State. With turmoil swirling around that program, he is now in the portal.
The younger Bagley is more “wing” than big guy like his older bro, but boy oh boy, is he good in that role. A legitimate 6’8 with guard skills, Bagley averaged 11 points and six rebounds on nearly 35 percent three-point shooting in his one season in Tempe, earning some “NBA lottery pick potential” buzz early. By the end of the season that cooled off a bit, but there’s still no doubt that the uber-athletic Bagley is a future NBA player.
Because of it, Bagley made the dual-announcement over the weekend that he is both testing the NBA Draft waters, but also entering the transfer portal to consider other college options as well.
Late Wednesday, KSR spoke to a source close to Bagley who indicated that Kentucky is among a number of high-profile schools who’ve reached out. The source indicated that Bagley’s focus remained the NBA Draft process, but if he does return to college, it appears as though the Wildcats will be suitors, along with a number of high-profile other schools.
Recruiting Buzz: Testing the NBA Draft process, but Kentucky is one of the schools that Bagley is hearing from the most
College hoops transfer news: Source tells me Marcus Bagley, who just finished his freshman year at Arizona State has heard from these schools:
Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, DePaul, Wazzu, Texas Tech, Oregon, SDSU, Arkansas, USC
SUPER talented wing who is also testing NBA Draft waters
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) May 6, 2021
3. Moussa Cisse, C, Memphis
Ranking Last Week: No. 3
Last week I ranted about NBA mock drafts and how it’s completely unfair to a kid like Cisse. While he was labeled “potential one and done” prior to his one season at Memphis, anyone who saw him play in high school knew that while he was an elite rim-protector, he also had a very limited offensive game. Sure, he could be a one-and-done, because well, anyone can be. But there was no way he’d be ready for the NBA in a year, let alone a lottery pick as some projected him.
So now, he is in the portal, with many saying “he didn’t live up to expectations” at Memphis. When instead, it was the exact opposite. He was really good, given the role he was asked to play. And while it’s easy to blame Penny Hardaway for a lot, he did use Cisse correctly, as an energy big guy who averaged six points, six rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 20 minutes of play. Imagine what he’ll do with a slightly expanded role at his next stop.
The good news for anyone who is recruiting Cisse is that they are still in fact getting a future NBA player – it might just be two or three years down the line. At the same time, they’re getting an elite rim protector and it’s their job to develop his offensive game.
Recruiting buzz: Too early to tell
4. Quincy Guerrier, F, Syracuse
Last Week: N/A
Guerrier is the first and only marquee new name on this list, a player who decided to enter the portal after two solid years at Syracuse. He was second on the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game this past season and led the Orange with 8.4 rebounds per contest as well. But with the Orange offense continually evolving more towards “Let Buddy Boeheim do what he wants” and the 2-3 zone seemingly not preparing him for the next level, Guerrier decided to leave this past week.
In terms of his game, with Guerrier, you have to accept the good with the bad.
First, the good: He has the size, length, athleticism and strength of a future NBA wing. At 6’8 he is a fluid athlete who looks the part and plays hard every time out on the floor. But there is the bad, as he’s just not really crazy skilled for a guy with his athleticism. And for a wing with NBA potential everywhere else, he doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well either, hitting just 31 percent of threes this season.
Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier tells ESPN he’s heard from Kentucky, Oregon, Marquette, Georgetown, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Memphis, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Maryland, Creighton, Arkansas, SMU and Western Kentucky. Averaged 13.7 points and 8.4 rebounds this past season.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) May 3, 2021
Still, the potential is there and it is reflected by the schools who are recruiting him, which include Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon and others. While this isn’t really recruiting buzz, it’s worth noting that Guerrier is originally from Montreal, and Alabama and Oregon both have strong Canadian pipelines into their programs.
Recruiting buzz: Too early to tell
5. Bryce Thompson, G, Kansas
Ranking Last Week: No. 4
Thompson has been on this list for several weeks now, so there really isn’t all that much to add or report. A former McDonald’s All-American, Thompson is an elite shooter. But he was also slowed by injuries at Kansas this year, playing in just 20 of 30 games.
Therefore, what we’re really betting on is that he gets healthy and finds a fit with his particular skill-set. He probably isn’t an immediate, All-Conference type guy for next season but someone who could definitely develop into that down the road (his path feels weirdly similar to former Kansas Jayhawk Quentin Grimes, who transferred to Houston, and by his junior year became a key cog on a Final Four team).
Since deciding to leave Kansas, Thompson’s recruitment has been quiet. An Oklahoma native, many believe that Oklahoma or Oklahoma State have the inside track.
On a very light note, don’t even bother searching his name on Twitter for updates. A former Tennessee Vols cornerback named “Bryce Thompson” just signed with the New Orleans Saints, stealing the headlines for all “Bryce Thompson’s” everywhere.
Recruiting buzz: Pretty quiet, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State seemingly have the inside track
6. Tre Mitchell, F/C, UMass
Ranking Last Week: No. 6
Along with Marcus Carr, Mitchell is the only player to make all six of these lists. So yeah, the kid does not seem to be in a hurry to make a decision.
Once he does though, some program will get a difference-making big man down low. A former Top 100 recruit, the 6’9 Mitchell averaged 18.8 points and 7.2 rebounds with over a block and a steal per game.
There have essentially been no recruiting updates with Mitchell in weeks, although LSU has quietly picked up some buzz in recent weeks behind the scenes. The last credit report came from Adam Zagoria, who simply said that somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 schools had reached out to Mitchell and his camp.
Recruiting buzz: Who knows
8. Sahvir Wheeler, G, Georgia
Ranking Last Week: No. 8
When Wheeler decided to leave Georgia, we made it clear in this space that he would be a very in-demand transfer and his first list of schools confirmed it. Among the list of schools that have reached out according to multiple reports are Kentucky, Kansas, Texas and Gonzaga.
Put simply, when John Calipari, Bill Self, Chris Beard and Mark Few want you, you know you’re damn good.
Georgia transfer point guard Sahvir Wheeler told me he has cut his list to Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Gonzaga, Michigan, LSU, Oregon State, Stanford and Wichita State.
Can be a program-changing point guard. Wants to go somewhere where he can play in the Final Four.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 26, 2021
And that’s exactly what Wheeler is, as a playmaking point guard who not only averaged 14 points per game but also 7.4 assists per contest as well, which was fifth in all of college basketball. Wheeler does have some warts; he turns the ball over too much (over four times per game this season) and doesn’t shoot the ball well (22.5 percent). But again, it’s clear by the schools that are interested, that the good outweighs the bad with him.
When Wheeler left, Tom Crean claimed it was to get closer to his Houston-area home, but as Goodman mentioned, it seems as though winning is the most important factor in his upcoming decision.
Texas, with new head coach Chris Beard offers the best of both worlds. Right now there’s a lot of buzz that Wheeler will end up a Longhorn. There has been previous Kentucky buzz as well.
Recruiting buzz: Texas has picked up a lot of buzz of late
8. Darryl Morsell, G, Maryland
Ranking Last Week: No. 7
Morsell is a player who has already graduated from Maryland and is going through the draft process, so at this point it’s hard to know whether he will actually use his extra year of eligibility or not. But if he does, some team will get one of the toughest guards in college basketball and one of the best perimeter defenders in America.
And that isn’t an exaggeration, as Morsell won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last year – again, as a guard. He also averaged nine points and three assists per game in helping the Terps to an NCAA Tournament appearance.
In terms of what’s next, it’s hard to know with Morsell. There was an initial list of suitors that came out a few weeks ago, but again, Morsell appears set to pursue professional options before committing to return to school. The possibility also exists that he could return to Maryland for an additional season.
Recruiting buzz: A long list of suitors, and will also consider a return to Maryland or professional options as well
9. CJ Fredrick, G, Iowa
Ranking Last Week: No. 9
When Fredrick entered the portal two weeks ago, it felt like a foregone conclusion that the 6’3 sharpshooter and former Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky would end up a Wildcat – and it still feels that way. Still, it hasn’t stopped other schools from reaching out, as Fredrick has a loaded list of schools interested in his services.
And with good reason, since put simply, he is one of the best shooters in all of college basketball. Even in an injury-plagued redshirt sophomore season, Fredrick averaged 7.5 points per game on a staggering 47 percent shooting from behind the three-point arc. That was after averaging 10.2 points per game on 46 percent three-point shooting as a freshman.
UPDATE: Just minutes before this article published, Fredrick committed to KENTUCKY
10. Bryce Hamilton, G, UNLV
Ranking Last Week: No. 10
There are times where a mid-major player has a ton of success, but when he transfers up to a higher level he just can’t get the job done. However, I don’t expect Hamilton to be one of those guys. The kid is a straight bucket-getter, and should be able to get points wherever he goes next season.
Hamilton was one of the best scorers in a better-than-you-realize Mountain West, averaging nearly 18 points per game to go along with six rebounds and three assists as well. And while Hamilton wasn’t a great shooter in 2021 (just 31.3 percent) he has shot as high as 34 percent for a season in his college career. So he’s probably a bit better than the numbers would indicate.
In addition to hitting the portal, Hamilton is also testing the draft waters, so in theory it could be a while before he makes a final decision. A Pasadena, California native, there has been buzz that Hamilton could both commit to a school in the Pac-12 footprint (likely USC) and also some chatter around Arkansas as well. Right now though, there is seemingly no clearly leader.
Recruiting buzz: Testing the draft waters with both Pac-12/USC buzz and Arkansas buzz in his college recruitment
11. Rocket Watts, G, Michigan State
Ranking Last Week: No. 11
Rocket Watts has been in the portal for well over a month now. So I’ll try to be quick with this update, since there is no real, actual “update” to speak of.
Watts is a true combo guard, a player who thrived playing alongside Cassius Winston as a freshman in 2019-2020, when he averaged nearly 10 points per game, but saw his numbers dip as he was forced into a point guard role as a sophomore. The kid is a solid playmaker off the ball, but unfortunately Michigan State tried to turn him into a point guard last season. It’s not either side’s fault that it didn’t work, but now Watts has decided to move on.
Because he’s been in the portal so long, it’s hard to know what exactly the hold up is in his recruitment. He was initially linked to Florida State and Louisville, but both schools appear to have filled out their rosters since then. And Jake Weingarten reported that Kentucky had reached out, but that seemed more of a feeling out process, then concrete push to sign him. There has been some DePaul chatter of late behind the scenes also.
Recruiting buzz: Relatively quiet last few weeks, with DePaul picking up some traction
12. Jacob Young, G, Rutgers
Ranking Last Week: No. 14
At 23-years-old and with five years of college basketball under his belt, we know what Young is at this point: Just a really, solid college basketball player. He was the starting point guard on a Rutgers squad that made its first NCAA Tournament since 1991 this past season, averaging 14.1 points and 3.4 assists per game. To his credit, he also vastly improved his three-point shooting (getting it up to 37 percent in 2021) as well.
Again, he’s a really solid college basketball player, but because of his age, it’s hard to know what his next move will be. He is looking into his pro options, and considering he will be 24 by the start of next season, might decide to just skip his final year of college hoops altogether. If he does return to college ball, he should be in demand. He might not be able to take your program to the “next level” but he can help just about any program in America.
Recruiting buzz: Considering professional options before looking at possibility of returning to college
13. Izaiah Brockington, G, Penn State
Ranking Last Week: N/A
Brockington’s time on this list will be short lived. After entering the portal a few weeks ago, Jon Rothstein reported on Tuesday that he is down to four schools: Arkansas, Iowa State, Wake Forest and BYU.
Penn State transfer Izaiah Brockington tells me that he has cut his list to Arkansas, BYU, Iowa State, and Wake Forest.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 4, 2021
To his credit, Brockington was a solid player for the Nittany Lions last year, averaging 12.6 points per game. At the same time, he only shot 28 percent from three, and it’s fair to wonder if he really is “elite” or was just a good player on a bad team.
That’s not a knock, and there is a role for him at the programs listed.
UPDATE: Shortly after this article published, Brockington committed to IOWA STATE
14. Aaron Cook, G, Gonzaga
Ranking Last Week: N/A
Cook’s placement on this list probably shows just how shallow the transfer pool is beginning to get. Had he entered the portal right around the time we did Version No. 2 or 3 of this list, he might not have made it all. Now he’s in the Top 15, as a guy who would be a solid role player for a high-major team, but probably best-suited for the mid-major level.
Cook actually began his career at the mid-major level, averaging 15 points per game at Southern Illinois in 2019-2020. Then as a grad transfer elected to head to Gonzaga last year, where he was expected to be a primary back-up for Joel Ayayi and Jalen Suggs. Once Andrew Nembhard got eligible however, that role diminished, as he averaged just 4.2 points per game on the season.
With his extra year of eligibility, Cook will look for another new home. Again, his best spot would probably be at the mid-major level.
Recruiting buzz: Too early to tell
15. EJ Onu, C, Shawnee State
Ranking Last Week: N/A
Let’s end this list on a fun note, with a guy that everyone – including high-major coaches – are just now learning about.
Onu entered the portal last week, as a 6’11 center who averaged 16.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.5 blocks at NAIA school Shawnee State last season. In the process, he won his conference’s Player of the Year award, and a third-straight Defensive Player of the Year award in league play as well.
NAIA All-American EJ Onu will explore the transfer market, he told ESPN. At 6’11, with a 7’6 wingspan, Onu will be heavily recruited after shooting 40% for 3 and averaging 4.5 blocks. Texas Tech, Indiana, Ohio State and LSU have already expressed interest https://t.co/ek8avigpBJ
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 30, 2021
Now, with an extra year of eligibility Onu will test himself at the highest level of college hoops. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports that he has already heard from Texas Tech, Indiana, Ohio State and LSU and is also considering the NBA Draft as well.
So, assuming that he plays college hoops, can a guy jump from NAIA to the high-major level of Division I college hoops and have a major impact? Who knows. But dudes that are 6’11 with 7’6 wingspans don’t grow on trees.
Recruiting buzz: Has heard from Texas Tech, Indiana, Ohio State and LSU and is also testing the NBA Draft waters
Players who’ve made decisions since Version 6.0 last week:
Adam Miller, G, Illinois (committed to LSU)
DeVante’ Jones, G, Coastal Carolina (committed to Michigan)
Rasir Bolton, G, Iowa State (committed to Gonzaga)
Henry Coleman, F, Duke (committed to Texas A&M)
Players who’ve appeared on this list and committed prior to last week:
Walker Kessler, F/C, North Carolina (committed to Auburn)
Mac McClung, G, Texas Tech (testing the waters, but will play at Texas Tech if he returns to college)
Justin Powell, G, Auburn (committed to Tennessee)
Timmy Allen, G/F, Utah (committed to Texas)
Kellan Grady, G, Davidson (committed to Kentucky)
Fatts Russell, G, Rhode Island (committed to Maryland)
James Akinjo, G, Arizona (committed to Baylor)
Dylan Disu, F, Vanderbilt (committed to Texas)
Garrison Brooks, F/C, North Carolina (committed to Mississippi State)
Marcus Williams, G, Wyoming (committed to Texas A&M)
Matt Bradley, G, Cal (committed to San Diego State)
Micah Peavy, F, Texas Tech (committed to TCU)
Khristian Lander, G, Indiana (returning to Indiana)
Boogie Ellis, G, Memphis (committed to USC)
Kyler Edwards, G, Texas Tech (committed to Houston)
Armaan Franklin, G, Indiana (committed to Virginia)
Noah Locke, G, Florida (committed to Louisville)
Liam Robbins, C, Minnesota (committed to Vanderbilt)
Xavier Pinson, G, Missouri (committed to LSU)
DJ Jeffries, F, Memphis (committed to Mississippi State)
Earl Timberlake, G/F, Miami (committed to Memphis)
Kadary Richmond, G, Syracuse (committed to Seton Hall)
Christian Bishop, F, Creighton (committed to Texas)
De’Vion Harmon, G, Oklahoma (committed to Oregon)
Qudus Wahab, C, Georgetown (committed to Maryland)
Chris Lykes, G, Miami (committed to Arkansas)
Au’Diese Toney, G, Pitt (committed to Arkansas)
Nimari Burnett, G, Texas Tech (committed to Alabama)
Brady Manek, F, Oklahoma (committed to North Carolina)
Myles Johnson, F/C, Rutgers (committed to UCLA)
Xavier Johnson, G, Pitt (committed to Indiana)
Stanley Umude, F, South Dakota (committed to Arkansas)
Jaemyn Brakefield, F, Duke (committed to Ole Miss)
Kerr Kriisa, G, Arizona (withdrew from the portal and will return to Arizona)
Oumar Ballo, F, Gonzaga (committed to Arizona)
Devin Askew, G, Kentucky (committed to Texas)