The 30 best players in the college basketball transfer portal - right now (2023 - Version III)
Updated: Apr 12
It's early April, and while the casual fan has tuned out college hoops until the fall, well the diehards know the truth: This is where the real fun begins.
It's transfer season, BABY!!!!
That's right, it's a new world of college hoops, and now, April and May portal recruiting is often as important - if not more so - than year-round high school recruiting. And because of it, we'll have you covered from all angles here at Aaron Torres Online and Aaron Torres Media.
First off, if you're not following our portal tracker - @CBBTransfers on Twitter, make sure to do so. That's our one stop shop for all things transfer portal visits, commitments and players entering the portal. The full running list is available at CollegeBasketballTransfers.com.
But also, as I've done every year, I also keep a list of the my "Best Players in the Transfer Portal - Right Now."
Understand, these lists are hard - trying to balance high-upside young players, with seasoned vets who can help you win, high-major players with low-major stars.
But still, we do them anyway.
We dropped Version I prior to the Final Four and Version II last week - and let's just say a LOT has changed since then, with the likes of Caleb Love, Jalen Cook, Brandon Murray and others coming off the board.
Let's get to Version III - with more movement expected today:
1. Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan
Dickinson's entry into the portal during Final Four weekend sent shockwaves through college basketball, and with good reason: It isn't an exaggeration to say that the 7'1 center might be the most accomplished player to hit the portal ever, as a two-time All-American looking to get a fresh start after back-to-back disappointing seasons for his Michigan ball club. Just don't blame Dickinson for the Wolverines struggles, who finished this season averaging 18.5 points, nine rebounds and nearly two blocks a game, all while shooting 43 percent from behind the arc.
The question now is where is Dickinson headed next, as it's the talk of the early part of the college hoops off-season. Originally from DC, Maryland Georgetown have become obvious landing spots, and we know that Kentucky, Arkansas and others have reached out. The Duke and Kansas fan-bases believe they have a shot too.
Whenever Dickinson does commit, it will change the landscape of college basketball for the 2023-2024 season.
2. Ryan Nembhard, G, Creighton
In what can only be described as a shocking move, Nembhard - a two-year starter at point guard for Creighton, who led the team in minutes played this season - has decided to leave Creighton.
The news is stunning, strictly because Nembhard had a near-perfect set-up at Creighton. He was the starter at point guard from the day he walked in the door as a true freshman, averaging 12 points, four rebounds and a little under five assists per game this season. He got plenty of playing time (leading the team in minutes played) the Jays obviously had a ton of on-court success, making the Elite Eight.
Yet, multiple people tell me that his family is frustrated with the role, that he wasn't part of the All-Big East teams and isn't found on draft boards. That might be due to the fact that - despite being insanely talented - he stands just 6'0 tall and isn't an elite athlete.
His brother Andrew had success transferring from Florida to Gonzaga, and now the younger Nembhard will try to find similar success out of the portal. The early favorite to land Nembhard's services is Arizona, a school which has ties to the family, with Tommy Lloyd helping recruit the older Nembhard to Spokane.
3. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts
Say this for Abmas, the kid was loyal. After Oral Roberts' Sweet 16 run in 2021 he could've cashed in, each of the last two off-seasons in the portal but elected to return to Oral Roberts. But this year, with an extra year of eligibility, and with his head coach Paul Mills taking over at Wichita State he's going to give college basketball one more run, likely at a big-time school.
The 6'0 guard is an NBA talent, and had it on full display these past few years at Oral Roberts. He averaged 21 points per game this year, to go along with four rebounds and four assists, all while shooting 37 percent from three. Two seasons ago in 2021 he actually led the NCAA in scoring at 24.5 points per game.
After entering the portal on Monday it's hard to know of any real leaders in his recruitment, but he will be pursued by just about everyone.
4. Jesse Edwards, C, Syracuse
Edwards is the latest marquee name to enter the portal, in what has certainly been an interesting off-season at Syracuse. He entered his name late on Monday night, openly discussing NIL opportunities.
Whether it's right or wrong (it's certainly confusing since Edwards is an international student) what can't be debated is that he's one of the elite players to enter the portal this cycle. He averaged 14.5 points per game for the Orange, also leading them with 10.3 rebounds per game and is a difference-maker at the rim, averaging nearly three blocks per game.
Since entering the portal, he's heard from a slew of the biggest names in the sport, including Gonzaga, Arkansas and others.
5. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford
A former McDonald's All-American, Ingram is coming off an up-and-down two seasons at Stanford.
On the one hand, he had a breakout freshman season, where he averaged 10.5 points and flirted with leaving early for the NBA Draft. Then he decided to return, only to put up near identical numbers across the board, electing to transfer after another disappointing season for the Cardinal.
Admittedly, Ingram is a good, but not elite athlete, but he has proven an ability to get double-figures, in a high-major conference as the focal point of an offense. Imagine what he could do with better talent around him?
Still, that hasn't stopped some of the biggest names in college hoops from reaching out. North Carolina has been in contact multiple times, with Kansas and Kentucky his most recent suitors.
6. Olivier Nkamhoua, F, Tennessee
Nkamhoua is one of the more interesting names in the portal, for a number of different reasons.
This past season, the versatile, 6'9 forward was one of the few offensive bright spots for Tennessee, averaging 10.8 points per game, to go along with five rebounds and two assists per contest as well. That included a 28-point masterpiece in a Round 2 upset of Duke.
Did I mention he did this all coming off major knee surgery a year ago, and wasn't really "himself" until late in the year?
With an extra year of eligibility though, Nkamhoua decided to see what else is out there, and the hunch here is that he will land in a much more offensive-friendly system, especially for a guy of his skill-set.
A native of Finland, there should be plenty of pro opportunities as well overseas, should he decide to pursue them.
7. Dalton Knecht, G/F, Northern Colorado
I'm always wary of ranking mid-major players too high on these lists, fearful of what a step up in competition will do to some players. But as the gap between high-major and mid-major begins to shrink, we consistently see more and more mid-major guys able to step up to the high-major level and thrive.
The list this year goes on and on from Antonio Reeves to Mark Sears, Jabari Rice and Baylor Scheierman.
And really, when watching film of Knecht, that's who the 6'6 wing from Northern Colorado most reminds me of - Creighton's Baylor Schiemerman. He's a legit 6'6, but also super athletic, able to put the ball on the floor, but also step back and hit threes. This year as the focal point of a bad Northern Colorado team, he scored 20.2 points and grabbed 7.2 rebounds, all while shooting 38 percent from three.
Based on the early interest, it's clear that high-major coaches are as excited about Knecht's talent as I am, as he's already heard from a number of big-time schools including Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana and Illinois, among many others.
He had a Zoom meeting with Indiana earlier this week, and it's worth noting that he's one of the few players that Kentucky is known to have been in contact with.
8. TJ Bamba, G, Washington State
Bamba is a new-age guard, standing 6'5 and able to play on and off the ball. And after two developmental years at Washington State, blew up in 2023, averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game, while shooting 37 percent from three.
Bama has announced that he'll decide between Villanova and Georgia Tech later this week.
9. Steven Ashworth, G, Utah State
Utah State was one of college basketball's biggest surprises in 2023, as the Aggies were picked to finish eighth in the league, only to end up getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. And it was thanks in large part to the play of Ashworth.
Put simply, the 6'1 guard is a playmaker, leading the Aggies in scoring at 15 points per game, while also leading the team in assists at 4.5 per contest all while shooting 43 percent from the field.
What will be interesting now is to see what schools are interested. It seems logical that he could follow former head coach Ryan Odom to VCU, and as a member of the LDS Church, BYU could make sense too. But he'll have plenty of high-major interest outside those schools as well.
10. Tylor Perry, G, North Texas
Perry is one of the more interesting high-level players in the portal, but also one of the most productive. He is the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year (no small feat considering that league had Florida Atlantic in it) averaging 17.3 points per game, on a blistering 41 percent shooting from three. The only real knock is that he's undersized (just 5'11) and really at his best with the ball in his hands, so the offense kinda sort has to evolve around him.
Therefore, it'll be interesting to see where he ends up, as again, you kind of have to build your offense around him to maximize his talents. Perry took an official visit to Florida over the weekend, with another obvious tie coming to Texas Tech, where his former head coach Grant McCasland took over a few weeks ago.
11. Jaden Bradley, G, Alabama
A former McDonald's All-American, Bradley was an integral part of Alabama's top-ranked team early, only to see his numbers dip as the season wore on. He scored just two points total in Alabama's three NCAA Tournament games, finishing the year averaging six points and three assists per game.
Yet while the numbers dipped, the talent is still there for another program to unlock. Bradley is super-quick with the ball, with ability to get to the hole at will, and - considering he averaged three assists in less than 20 minutes of play this year - he has an ability to create for others as well.
Bradley is originally from upstate New York, so it would make sense to consider somewhere in the Big East footprint. Seton Hall, St. John's and Syracuse (which isn't in the league, but at least falls in the footprint) all would make a lot of sense.
12. El Ellis, G, Louisville
Put simply, Ellis was, essentially, the only bright spot for Louisville this season.
The 6'3 guard was the only player who could consistently create his own offense, averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game, while also leading the team with 4.4 assists per game. His three-point shooting dipped to 32 percent, which was actually down a bit from 2021-2022 when he shot over 36 percent from behind the arc. So you know the three point shooting is there.
The fact that he did all that with essentially no real other talent around him unlocks a fascinating question: What if you put him in a system where he had actually had help? The scoring might dip, but he would be more efficient, if he weren't the focal point of everyone's game-plan.
Point being, he can be a big-time scorer and player for the right school.
Ellis has said that his primary focus is on the NBA Draft for right now, so it'll be interesting to see if he ends up back in college - and if so, how long it will take.
13. Khalif Battle, G/F, Temple (UPDATE: Khalif Battle has committed to Arkansas)
A big, 6'5 guard, Battle was the Owls leading scorer this past season, playing his final game in mid-February. This, after averaging over 21 points per game two seasons ago. In both seasons he shot 35+ percent from three, even while taking over 100 attempts this past season.
Put simply, there aren't many guys in the portal who have proven an ability to put the ball in the hole, at the level Battle did, making him one of the most high-priority wings in the portal.
Battle recently finished a visit to Arkansas, so his recruitment could be coming to an end soon.
14. Moussa Cisse, C, Oklahoma State
A former McDonald's All-American who's now played three years of college basketball, Cisse does one thing extremely well - protects the rim. He has led the Big 12 in blocked shots each of the past two seasons, averaging just under two per game in 2023. He also grabbed eight boards per contest. His offense is still evolving though, averaging just seven points per game this season.
What's interesting is what's next for the 7'0 center.
Because he's already transferred once (he began his career at Memphis) he will be an interesting case study as to whether the NCAA will actually hold out players who are transferring for a second time.
Should he play next year, he'll be one of the best rim protectors in the sport.
15. Will Baker, F/C, Nevada
A former Top 50 prospect who began his career at Texas, Baker is almost the opposite of Cisse listed above: He is a skilled big man, especially offensively, that's a bit limited on the other end of the floor.
This year for a Nevada team that made the "First Four" he averaged 13.6 points per game, while shooting 35 percent from three. Not bad for a seven-footer. He did haul in a little under five rebounds and a block per game as well.
Again, Baker is skilled offensively, but a little bit of a liability defensively, and to be blunt, Nevada and the Mountain West felt like the right level for him.
It'll be interesting to see where he lands next.
16. Graham Ike, F/C, Wyoming
It's been a whirlwind two years for Ike, a 6'9 Ike, as he was an All-Mountain West first team performer two years ago. Last year he averaged 19.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, helping Wyoming to the NCAA Tournament. This year he missed the entire year, as the Cowboys plummeted to last place in the conference.
Well after the season he decided to transfer, and should bring immediate size and physicality to some team.
Think of him in the Oscar Tshiebwe/Adama Sanogo mold. He's not super tall or long, but tough as hell, and able to finish around the rim.
Expect him to be playing at the high-major level next year.
17. Reese Dixon-Waters, F, USC (UPDATE - Reese Dixon-Waters has committed to San Diego State)
For those who didn't stay up late to watch West Coast games, you missed some very fun performances from Dixon-Waters.
The Pac-12's Sixth Man of the Year, Dixon-Waters is a big, 6'6 guard, with toughness and athleticism to guard multiple positions. He's not an elite shooter (just under 30 percent) but did come on late overall, scoring double-figures in five of the Trojans' final seven games.
Put simply, there aren't too many guys with his size and athleticism that are available, and it's reflected in the schools pursuing him, as Kansas, UCLA and Texas are among the schools who've already reached out, per Rivals' Travis Graf.
18. Nick Timberlake, G, Towson
Timberlake is an old-school testament to hard work and dedication, getting better every year in his four seasons at Towson. Now with an extra year of eligibility, he has decided to hit the transfer portal, as an immediate plug-and-play difference maker at one school.
And really, there is no other way to put it: The 6'4 guard is a bucket-getter, finishing this past season averaging 17 points per game in the uber-competitive CAA, while shooting 41 percent from three.
That talent is reflected in the schools that are pursuing him, as Timberlake has already taken visits to Kansas and North Carolina, with a weekend trip to UConn ahead. UConn has received several early "crystal ball" predictions for his services.
19. AJ Storr, G/F, St. John's
Of every player that was part of the Mike Anderson regime that appeared to not be welcomed back under Rick Pitino, Storr is probably the one player who could've helped the most.
The 6'6 wing was a breakout star in Anderson's system, averaging just under nine points on 40 percent three-point shooting. He did it as a freshman in one of the most competitive leagues in the country, and should be a double-figure scorer wherever he ends up next year.
Originally from Illinois, Storr seems to be picking up the most interest in Big Ten country, with Illinois and Wisconsin (where he recently visited) considered strong landing spots.
20. Ugonna Onyenso, C, Kentucky (UPDATE: Ugonna Onyenso has announced he'll return to Kentucky)
Onyenso is, unfortunately, one of the faces of this new era of "player mobility" and it's through no fault of his own. The 7'1 center committed to Kentucky last off-season with the intention to essentially use 2022-2023 as a redshirt year. Yet after limited minutes, he entered the portal, with multiple Kentucky beat writers indicating that his handlers were looking for more NIL money than he was currently getting.
It's a sad deal, yet whoever does land Onyenso is getting a legit 7-footer with insane upside. Right now he's mostly all tools, but he has a chance to be one of college hoops' best defensive players in the paint and could one day develop into an NBA player.
The early buzz was that East Coast schools like Georgetown could be in the mix (Onyenso went to prep school in Connecticut), but now there's increasing buzz that the NIL packages his handlers were seeking might not be there and he could end up back at Kentucky. We'll see in the coming days.
21. Arterio Morris, G, Texas
A former McDonald's All-American, Morris got lost in a numbers game at Texas this past season. Stuck behind veterans like Marcus Carr and Tyrese Hunter there just wasn't all that much playing time for the 6'3 guard originally from Dallas.
So now he hits the portal, where he should be highly-coveted as a super-athletic lead guard with NBA upside.
It's worth noting that he once committed to Penny Hardaway and Memphis out of high school so that could be a landing spot, and his former head coach Chris Beard need bodies at Ole Miss as well.
22. Yohan Traore, F/C, Auburn
23. Daniel Batcho, F, Texas Tech
24. Darrion Williams, F, Nevada
25. Avery Anderson, G, Oklahoma State
26. Primo Spears, G, Georgetown
27. Hakim Hart, F, Maryland
28. Kario Oquendo, G, Georgia
29. Aaron Estrada, G, Hofstra
30. Chris Ledlum, F, Harvard
Committed since the last list:
Ace Baldwin, G, VCU (committed to Penn State)
LJ Cryer, G, Baylor (committed to Houston)
Kel'El Ware, F/C, Oregon (committed to Indiana)
Jalen Cook, G, Tulane (committed LSU)
Caleb Love, G, North Carolina (committed to Michigan)
Brandon Murray, G/F, Georgetown (committed to Ole Miss)
Walter Clayton Jr., G, Iona (committed to Florida)
Denver Jones, G, Florida International (committed to Auburn)
Tramon Mark, G, Houston (committed to Arkansas)
Dayvion McKnight, G, Western Kentucky (committed to Xavier)
Jayden Epps, G, Illinois (committed to Georgetown)
Micah Handlogten, C, Marshall (Committed to Florida)
Caleb Mills, G, Florida State (Committed to Memphis)
Steele Venters, G, Eastern Washington (committed to Gonzaga)
Fardaws Aimaq, F, Texas Tech (committed to Cal)
JJ Starling, G, Notre Dame (Committed to Syracuse)
Jameer Nelson Jr., G, Delaware (committed to Delaware)
JayKwon Walton, G/F, Wichita State (committed to Alabama)
Keyon Menifield, G, Washington (committed to Arkansas)
John Tonje, G, Colorado State (Committed to Missouri)
Kerr Kriisa, G, Arizona (committed to West Virginia
Jamison Battle, G/F, Minnesota (committed to Ohio State)
Skyy Clark, G, Illinois (Committed to Louisville)
Paxson Wojcik, G, Brown (Committed to North Carolina)