NCAAB
April 14, 2021

20 CBB Transfers Who Can Make a Big Impact in 2022

If you thought the NCAA Tournament was crazy, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Thanks to the NCAA allowing players to transfer without sitting out a year, the college basketball offseason is going to be out of control. In fact, things already are.

In addition to players taking off for the NBA, dozens of potential difference-makers have entered the transfer portal and began the process of finding a new team. This offseason could be the closest that college basketball ever gets to full-fledged free agency.

We don’t know for sure what’s going to be the result of things, but we can name 20 players who will be with a different team next season and should make a significant impact with their new team.

Marcus Carr, Minnesota to TBD

It remains unclear if Marcus Carr will try his luck in the NBA or spend another season in college at his third school.

The Toronto native began his career at Pitt before transferring to Minnesota, where he averaged 19.4 points per game this past season. His efforts weren’t enough to get the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Tournament. But that could change, as there’s talk of Carr going to Kentucky or another powerhouse if he opts to stay in college.

Liam Robbins, Minnesota to Vanderbilt

Liam Robbins spent two seasons at Drake before going to Minnesota, and now he’ll make Vanderbilt his third school in as many years. The big man should make an immediate impact for the Commodores, who can use all of the help they can get.

While Robbins isn’t the most physical post player, he’s a capable shooter and a good passer, which are skills that should be appreciated at Vanderbilt.

Noah Gurley, Furman to Alabama

It will be a huge leap from the Southern Conference to the SEC for Noah Gurley, but the 6-foot-8 forward should be ready.

While he averaged 15.4 points per game o the season, there was no stopping him late in the season, as Gurley averaged 26 points per game over his last four games.

He may not be a standout player in Alabama’s guard-oriented, up-tempo style, but Nate Oats loves athletic wing players who can defend multiple positions, which is what he’ll get from Gurley.

Xavier Johnson, Pittsburgh to Indiana

Xavier Johnson left the Pitt program before the end of the season and has decided to finish up his college career at Indiana. He did his best to elevate the Panthers from the ACC basement but never got enough help around him.

It could be a similar problem for Johnson with the Hoosiers, who finished in the bottom half of the Big Ten in 2021. However, Johnson will have a chance to be one of the best point guards in the Big Ten next season.

Xavier Pinson, Missouri to LSU

The Tigers were hit hard by early departures to the NBA, so bringing in a player like Xavier Pinson is a necessity. Despite a dreadful shooting performance in the NCAA Tournament, Pinson can fill it up, averaging 13.6 points per game this past season.

It’ll take a lot more for the Bayou Bengals to avoid a massive letdown next season, but Pinson is a great place to start.

Jayden Gardner, East Carolina to Virginia

Jayden Gardner put together three outstanding seasons as East Carolina but has little to show for it in terms of team success. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds this past season, and that was down a little from the previous year.

If he can adjust to how Tony Bennett’s team plays defense, he could be the best forward Virginia has had since they won the national title.

Devin Askew, Kentucky to Texas

Devin Askew isn’t the only transfer Texas has landed this offseason, but he’ll be a huge part of Chris Beard’s plans.

As a player who was young enough to be a high school senior, Askew probably wasn’t ready to be Kentucky’s point guard. He had an up-and-down season and should benefit from a fresh start.

With the Longhorns, he’ll have veteran players like Andrew Jones around him to help take off the pressure while he continues to adjust to the college game. But the potential is undoubtedly there as Askew grows and matures.

Matt Bradley, Cal to San Diego State

Somehow going from the Pac-12 to the Mountain West is a step up for Matt Bradley, who joins the Aztecs after scoring 18 points per game for the Golden Bears this past season.

He could be even more productive with San Diego State, who is hoping to bounce back quickly after an early NCAA Tournament exit at the hands of Syracuse this season.

Kellan Grady, Davidson to Kentucky

John Calipari has tried to bring in some experienced transfers in recent years to help mold his young teams, and Kellan Grady will help him do just that.

After spending four years with Bob McKillop at Davidson, Grady will be one of the smartest and most experienced players Calipari has had at Kentucky. He has good size and can shoot the ball at a high level.

Grady averaged at least 17 points per game in all four years at Davidson, and while he may not be the focal point of Kentucky’s offense, he’ll bring a healthy dose of consistency to a program that lacked just that this past season.

Marreon Jackson, Toledo to Arizona State

After two years of dominating the MAC, Marreon Jackson will be thrilled to test himself in the Pac-12.

Arizona State will be equally thrilled to get a point guard who can set up his teammates, rebound when needed, and hunt his own shots. His size may keep him from being a high-profile player in the NBA, but Jackson is more than good enough to be an impact player for the Sun Devils next season.

Fatts Russell, Rhode Island to Maryland

The Terps need a boost if they’re going to keep up in the Big Ten. Coming from Rhode Island, Fatts Russell should give them a considerable boost at the point guard spot.

While a little undersized, Russell will give Maryland a bonafide point guard who averaged 4.5 assists per game in back-to-back years while also leading the Rams in scoring. He’ll do a great job of helping Maryland stay competitive in such a deep conference.

Chris Lykes, Miami to Arkansas

Unfortunately, Chris Lykes spent most of this past season unavailable to the Hurricanes because of injury. But the 5-foot-7 point guard will get another chance at his senior season with the Razorbacks.

Lykes is a bundle of energy who can shoot, create, and get steals despite being undersized. With Moses Moody and others leaving Arkansas, Lykes will help the void and add to the excitement around the program after the Hogs went to the Elite Eight this past season.

Walker Kessler, North Carolina to Auburn

Walker Kessler started to play meaningful minutes for the Tar Heels late in the season but will be leaving Chapel Hill. Despite averaging just 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, this is a big get for Bruce Pearl and the Tigers.

With regular playing time, Kessler has a chance to blossom into a star and a difference-maker at both ends of the court.

Justin Powell, Auburn to Tennessee

Let’s call this the reverse Bruce Pearl, as Justin Powell is leaving Pearl at Auburn and going to Pearl’s former home.

His scoring dropped significantly late in the season, but Powell is an outstanding passer who averaged 4.7 assists per game as a freshman. At 6-foot-6, he has excellent size and vision, two traits that should do wonders for a Tennessee team that lacked consistency on the offensive end this past season.

Garrison Brooks, North Carolina to TBD

With a new head coach in Chapel Hill, Garrison Brooks is leaving the crowded UNC frontcourt for his final year of eligibility.

Big things were expected of him after he averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds during the 2019-20 season. But his production fell dramatically this season.

Nothing is official yet, but Kentucky is an option, and so is Mississippi State, where his father is an assistant coach.

Timmy Allen, Utah to Texas

Chris Beard scored a huge win by getting a commitment from Timmy Allen. He could have easily gone pro after last season but returned to Utah and will now spend his senior season with the Longhorns.

The wing has averaged 17 points per game in each of the past two seasons with the Utes. With Andrew Jones also staying for his senior season, Beard and Texas are in business heading into next season.

Qudus Wahab, Georgetown to Maryland

After helping Georgetown win the Big East Tournament and reach the NCAA Tournament, Qudus Wahab is leaving Patrick Ewing and making the short journey to College Park.

The 6-foot-11 center was massive for the Hoyas down the stretch and even had 20 points and 12 rebounds in their NCAA Tournament loss to Colorado.

He will immediately become one of the best big men in the Big Ten and should lift Maryland closer to the top-tier of the league’s hierarchy. 

Myreon Jones, Penn State to Florida

Myreon Jones was unfortunately lost in the shuffle during his time at Penn State. He’s been an impact player for the Nittany Lions for the past two seasons. He should have no problem adjusting to life in the SEC at Florida and should become more efficient with the Gators now that he won’t have to carry his team on his shoulders.

Tre Mitchell, UMass to TBD

Tre Mitchell was an all A-10 player this year and has had two monster seasons at UMass, averaging 18.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this past season. He’s arguably the best big man in the transfer portal and will end up going to a major conference program.

The Pittsburgh native could land just about anywhere with programs in the ACC and Big Ten the most likely destinations.

Mac McClung, Texas Tech to TBD

With Chris Beard leaving Texas Tech, Mac McClung will do the same after only one season. He’ll test the NBA waters, so he may not play again in college. But it’s probably more likely that McClung ends up at his third school in as many years after starting his career at Georgetown.

He’s a knock-down three-point shooter and handled himself well when forced into a point guard role at Texas Tech. If he doesn’t go pro, McClung will be a monster addition for whatever program lands him.

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