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The 30 best players in the college basketball transfer portal - right now - Version II

Updated: Apr 3

The NCAA Tournament is set to get underway, but even as the Big Dance tips off - there's another March Madness going on.

Oh yes, we're talking Portal Madness baby!

That's right, with the portal opening on Monday, it means that it's time for the first list of "Best Players in the Portal Right Now." We'll look at 10 today, and then obviously expand the list as more guys enter the portal.

Also, make sure you're following our live blog with all the big transfer names, at @CBBTransfers on Twitter.

Now, to our rankings:

1. AJ Storr, G/F, Wisconsin

Put simply, while most of this list is about talented, but projectable players - either mid-major players moving up, or young players developing down the road - AJ Storr, is a true, bona-fide producer. Who has proven he can do it in multiple power conferences.

After beginning his career at St. John's (where he was one of the few bright spots of Mike Anderson's final season), Storr transferred to Wisconsin, where he gave the Badgers the true star they've lacked for most of the Greg Gard era.

On the year, Storr averaged 17 points per game, while shooting 32 percent from three, and played his best in some of the Badgers' biggest games. That included 20+ points in four of their final five contests, with a 30-point effort in a Big Ten Tournament game loss to Illinois.

Now, following the season, Storr has left his options open, declaring for the NBA Draft, while also entering the portal.

It's hard to know if he's actually looking to transfer - or simply wants to see milk Wisconsin's collective for more money. If he does play college hoops next year though - and not go pro - he's a legitimate first team All-American candidate. Wherver he ends up.

2. Myles Rice, G, Washington State

Rice is one of the most incredible stories in college hoops, as a player who redshirted in 2021-2022, before missing all of last season while undergoing cancer treatment.

Back on the court this year, he became one of the most important pieces on a revitalized Washington State squad, averaging 14.8 points per game and 3.8 assists, helping the Cougars to their first NCAA Tournament in two decades. In the process, he won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award, and was an All-Pac-12 first team member as well.

Admittedly, Rice isn't a perfect prospect - he's a little undersized a 6'3, and the three-point shot needs work - but the talent and production is undeniable.

The bigger question now: Where will he end up?

With his former head coach Kyle Smith going to Stanford - with it's near impossible admissions standards - it feels unlikely Rice will follow him, and his recruitment will be truly open.

He is originally from Georgia, so you'd think most of the SEC will reach out and try to get him to campus.

3. Zeke Mayo, G, South Dakota State - UPDATE - MAYO HAS COMMITTED TO KANSAS

As we were putting together these rankings, Mayo entered the portal - and let's just say, he is the new No. 1 on our list of available players.

The 6'4 guard was an absolute star for South Dakota State this season, averaging 18.8 points per game, go along with six boards and three rebounds per game - all while shooting 39 percent from beyond the three-point arc. In the process, he earned Summit League Player of the Year, and is a two-time All-Summit first team member.

Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Mayo will likely be linked to his hometown Kansas Jayhawks.

He has also announced he'll enter the NBA Draft, so there's a chance he never returns to college at all.

4. Maxime Raynaud, C, Stanford

While Stanford struggled as a team this season, as you'll see based on this list, it wasn't for lack of talent.

And there was no more talented piece than Maxime Raynaud, a second team All-Pac-12 performer, who also was the league's Most Improved Player.

The native of France is a legit seven-footer, and new age big who can do a little bit of everything. He averaged nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, all while shooting 36 percent from behind the three-point arc.

Per a source, Raynaud has seven-figure professional offers in his native country of France, so it won't be cheap to land him.

But if someone does, they're getting an all-conference caliber big, who can control the paint on defense and stretch the floor on the offensive end. This kid is special.

5. Vlad Goldin, C, Florida Atlantic

With Dusty May leaving Florida Atlantic, you knew it was only a matter of time before some of the Owls' best players decided to depart as well - and Goldin was the first big domino.

The 7'1 center who is originally from Russia was one of the breakout stars of last year's NCAA Tournament run for the Owls, and was only better this year, averaging 15.7 points per game, to go along with nearly seven boards and two blocks per game.

Just about the only thing missing from Goldin's game is a three-point shot, but there's no doubt that he is capable of being a high-major starting center next year.

The only question is, where?

There are obvious ties to May

6. Kobe Johnson, G/F, USC

Put simply, Johnson is the kind of player everyone is looking for: A big, athletic wing, that at 6'6, can both create offense for himself and guard multiple positions on the other end of the court.

And that versatility was on full display this year, as Johnson averaged 10.9 points per game and 4.1 rebounds, to go along with 3.3 assists per game. Just about the only thing Johnson is lacking is a consistent three-point shot, as he shot just 31 percent from three this season. Then again, if he had a consistent three-point shot, we'd probably be talking about him as a first round NBA Draft pick.

Speaking of the NBA, Johnson is both testing the NBA Draft waters, while also hitting the portal. Because of the NBA component, it could be a while before he decides on a college future - but if he does, he'll be as coveted as any player available.

One thing worth noting on Johnson: He's the brother of former Duke wing Jalen Johnson, now with the Atlanta Hawks. Given how things ended at Duke with his older brother (Johnson opted out of the 2020 season for Covid) it'd be interesting to see if there would be interest from the Blue Devils, should he decide to return to college.

7. Javian McCollum, G, Oklahoma

First off, there is no other way to put it: McCollum's departure from Oklahoma is absolutely crushing. The Sooners had already lost two of their top four scorers to the transfer portal this off-season. Now, to lose their leading scorer and unquestioned best player, is just insane as Oklahoma heads to the SEC.

Now, with all that being said, goodness, is McCollum a major portal addition.

The lightning quick guard only spent one year in Norman after transferring in from Siena, but quickly established himself as a power conference lead guard and star. He finished his one season at Oklahoma averaging 13 points per game and nearly four assists on the game this season.

To be fair, McCollum isn't a perfect prospect. He needs the ball in his hands to be most effective, isn't a very good three-point shooter at this point, meaning you really do kind of need to build everything you do around him. He also only has one year of eligibility left, meaning it's a definite plug-and-play situation.

With that said, one team will get itself an All-Conference first team caliber guard for next season.

8. Terrence Edwards Jr., G, James Madison - UPDATE - EDWARDS HAS COMMITTED TO LOUISVILLE

Edwards was one of the breakout stars of March, leading James Madison to an incredible 32-4 record overall and upset of Wisconsin in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Now, he becomes one of the most intriguing players to announce that he'll transfer.

Admittedly, the move isn't a surprise, as just hours after JMU's Sunday loss to Duke, head coach Mark Byington announced he was leaving for Vanderbilt. So now Edwards will transfer, along with submitting his name into the NBA Draft.

Assuming Edwards comes back to school he instantly becomes one of the most in-demand players available, as a 6'6 play-making guard who averaged 17 points and 3.5 assists, all while shooting 34 percent from behind the three-point arc.

More importantly, some of his best games came against the Dukes' best competition, which included a 24-point performance in James Madison's opening night upset at Michigan State.

We got our first piece of recruiting news on Edwards Saturday - as he'll visit Louisville this coming week.

9. Kanaan Carlyle, G, Stanford

Carlyle got a late start to his freshman season, not appearing in a game for the Cardinal until December - but when he did, he proved why he was one of the 50 best prospects in all of high school basketball in the 2023 class.

The 6'3, athletic, playmaking guard, has NBA upside and showed it in his time with the Cardinal this year. He averaged 11.5 points per game as a freshman, including 31 points against Washington State and another 28 in a win over Arizona.

Carlyle isn't perfect, as he isn't much of a playmaker for others, and his shot needs improvement (32 percent on the year).

But he does have NBA upside, and - as an Atlanta native - expect him to be pursued by pretty much every major SEC and ACC program.

10. Brandon Garrison, C, Oklahoma State

Garrison was the first marquee player to enter the portal following Mike Boynton's firing at Oklahoma State, and bluntly, he's one of the most intriguing prospects available as well.

A 6'10 former McDonald's All-American, Garrison had a solid freshman year, averaging 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. While those numbers don't blow you away, the counter to that is that well, he was a freshman playing in the Big 12. If Garrison could do that as a freshman in college basketball's toughest league, imagine what he could do with a little bit of seasoning?!

Because of it, Garrison became one of the most coveted players upon entering the portal, as you simply do not see guys with his size, athleticism and upside available.

Coming out of high school, Garrison chose the Cowboys over Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma among others, and what's interesting is that upon entering the portal he was listed as a "do not contact."

That means there's a good chance he already knows where he'll be transferring.

11. Cliff Omoruyi, F/C, Rutgers

Considering that Omoyuri has been in college for four years, you kind of know what you're getting from him at this point: A solid, sturdy, 6'10 center that has been through the wars at the power conference level.

Put simply, if you can average 10.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a center in the Big Ten, you can hold your own and produce anywhere.

Therefore, if you're looking for a guy to run your offense through, and put up Zach Edey-like 25 and 20 performances, he probably isn't your guy. But if you're looking for a guy who can rebound, defend and play a role at the high-major level, he's the perfect fit.

And that shows in the group of schools who've reached out since he entered the portal, with the likes of Kentucky and Kansas among others pursuing him.

12. Pop Isaacs, G, Texas Tech

Isaacs might be the most polarizing player on this board, who has absolutely proven that he can be a lead-guard at the high-major level, who also has holes in his game and baggage off the court as well.

Isaacs was a two-year starter in Lubbock averaging 11.5 points a year ago, before seeing that number increase to 15.8 this season. He also averaged nearly four assists per game. At the same time, his shooting dropped significantly, down to 35 percent from the field and 29 percent from three.

So yes, there were inconsistencies on the court, but also inconsistencies off of it as well, something that will surely scare away plenty of teams.

Still, this list is simply about ranking the "best players available" and Issacs has proven that he can produce in the highest levels of college basketball. That's not something you can say about most others on this list, who were' simply projecting will be good at a high-major level.

13. Malik Mack, G, Harvard

I always struggle with properly rating small school players who will ultimately end up transferring up to a power conference school. But in the case of Mack, who played one season at Harvard, I have little doubt that he'll be able to have immediate impact.

Mack is a lightning quick lead guard, who was a flat-out star this season, averaging 17.2 points per game, to go along with 4.8 assists and over four rebounds per game as well. And even as a first-year player, he did some of his best work against major competition, putting in 32 points with six assists against UMass, and another 20 against Boston College.

Expect just about every high-major program to get in the mix on him.

14. PJ Haggerty, G, Tulsa

Haggerty was a late Friday night entrant to the portal, immediately picking up "potential best player in the portal buzz" from some. We're not quite sure he is there, but is plenty talented and sure can put the ball in the basket.

The 6'3 Haggerty began his career at TCU, before transferring to Tulsa and turning into a stone-cold killer for the Golden Hurricane. On the year he averaged 21.3 points per game, winning AAC Freshman of the Year, and also earning third-team All-AAC honors.

Haggerty isn't the perfect prospect, hitting just 29 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

Still, Haggerty can put the ball in the basket, and with three years of eligibility, if the shot can come around, he can be an elite high major player in a year or two.

Expect there to be quite a bit of interest in his services.

15. Dug McDaniel, G, Michigan - UPDATE - McDaniel has committed to Kansas State

Sometimes in life you've just got to take "The L" and in our first portal rankings, I'll be blunt - I just kind of forgot to add McDaniel to the list.

Shame on me. He's as talented as any guard available.

The 5'11 McDaniel had an excellent season on the court (more on that coming) in an otherwise forgettable final year for Juwan Howard. He averaged 16.3 points and 4.7 assists, all while shooting nearly 37 percent from three for the Wolverines.

Put simply, if you can average 16 points and five assists, while hitting nearly 40 percent of your threes in the Big Ten, you can play anywhere in college basketball.

Still, teams pursuing him will have to do their background homework, as McDaniel had the weird - and relatively unprecedented - situation unfold this year, where he wasn't allowed to travel for road games. It was later discovered that it was academically related.

Despite it, McDaniels' recruitment is far from slow - as he's already set to take his first visit, heading to TCU in the coming days. Originally from the DC area, there's also been talk of McDaniel returning to the DMV area.

16. Adou Thiero, F, Kentucky

Don't let the stats fool you, Thiero was a major portal addition, and a major loss (if he ultimately ends leaving) Kentucky.

The 6'8 forward blossomed into one of the better role players in the sport, averaging 7.2 points and five rebounds per game, but also becoming one of the few pieces at Kentucky who needed the ball in his hands to have success. In the process he became a do-it-all energy guy, that can basically guard four positions.

Yet as the season wore on, Thiero's playing time went up and down, and with a new slew of freshmen on their way to Lexington, he announced he'd transfer, while also leaving open the possibility of coming back, and entering the NBA Draft as well.

With so many options its hard to even begin projecting where Thiero will play next year, but based on his statement Saturday it seems like a return to Kentucky is more likely than initially thought.

If he does go somewhere else, expect him to be one of the most pursued players in the sport.

17. Tony Perkins, G, Iowa

Sometimes it isn't betting on upside with a prospect, but instead knowing exactly what you're going to get: And as a four-year player and star at Iowa this past year, you know exactly what you'd get with Perkins.

Perkins is the kind of steady, veteran guard every program needs, as he averaged 14.4 points to go along with four rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season. He probably shouldn't be the star of your team (we saw what that got the Hawkeyes) but is the kind of steady guard that every program could use.

18. Meechie Johnson, G, South Carolina - UPDATE - JOHNSON HAS COMMITTED TO OHIO STATE

The first true stunner of the college hoops transfer portal cycle came on Monday afternoon, when South Carolina leading scorer Meechie Johnson decided to enter the portal.

Put simply, Johnson was the leading scorer on a South Carolina team that exceeded expectations and made the NCAA Tournament. So, is he really looking to transfer because he is unhappy? Or simply using the portal as leverage to get more money from the Gamecocks.

We'll find out soon, but while he's in the portal, he becomes a coveted guard who has proven he can get buckets at the high-major level, averaging 14.1 points this season on 32 percent three-point shooting. Johnson won't blow you away with athleticism - if so, he'd be in the NBA - but again, there just aren't many guys who've produced like him at the college level that are available.

So now, we see what's next. Is he in the portal to leverage South Carolina? Or is he truly a free agent.

One intriguing plot twist in his portal trip is this: Johnson originally began his career at Ohio State, and shortly after he entered the portal, Ohio State's collective put out an interesting tweet.

Could he be returning back to Buckeye land? Stay tuned.

19. JP Pegues, G/F, Furman

If Pegues name sounds familiar, it should - as a year ago, he hit an iconic buzzer-beater to help Furman beat Virginia and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

This year, he turned from March Madness hero to mid-major superstar.

The 6'1 guard averaged 18.1 points per game this season for the Paladins, to go along with 4.8 assists per game and 36 percent three-point shooting.

Pegues isn't the biggest (just 6'1) and with only one year of eligibility left might not totally be as attractive as some of the other guards available in the portal.

Still, he's an awesome blend of talent, skill and experience.

20. Amari Williams, F/C, Drexel

There's nothing else to say, other than that I love this kid.

Originally from England, Williams is a legit 6'11 and a menace in the paint, who averaged 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, in just 22 minutes played per game this year. Those numbers are actually down a bit from a season ago, and Williams is a player who actually is a three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year.

With an extra Covid year Williams is testing the transfer portal market while also declaring for the NBA. It'll be fascinating to see if a school can convince him to come back for one more season of college hoops.

21. Jevon Porter, F/C, Pepperdine

Identifying talent was never an issue for former Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar, as another one of his former players makes this list.

The 6'11 Porter is the younger brother of NBA players Michael and Johntay Porter, and emerged as a true mid-major star as a sophomore with the Waves this season. In the 2023-2024 campaign, Porter 16.2 points and 5.9 rebounds, including a 20-point performance versus Gonzaga and a 30-point effort against BYU.

While his shooting numbers weren't great (29 percent from three) they were actually down from 2023, when he hit over 35 percent from three.

It will be fascinating to see what high majors get involved, as Porter would fit well in a lot of different places.

22. Malik Dia, F, Belmont

Yes, the term "new age" has been thrown around a lot in this article - but Dia is another big that fits the bill.

The 6'9 forward, Dia spent the last two years at Belmont, developing into an OVC star this season, averaging 17 points and six rebounds, all while shooting 34 percent from three.

He now enters the portal, and has heard from some of the biggest names in college hoops, among them, the defending champion UConn Huskies, as well as Indiana, USC and others.

Dia still has two years of eligibility remaining as well, making him a long-term upside bet for one college hoops program.

23. Andrej Stojackovic, F, Stanford

The third former Stanford player on this list, Stojackovic has as much upside as anyone in the transfer portal.

The 6'7 forward is of course the son of NBA legend Peja and a former McDonald's All-American, who averaged 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 33 percent from behind the three-point arc.

Stojackovic's talents weren't fully on display in his one year at Stanford, but he remains one of the most gifted, all-around players in the high school class of 2023.

Expect Stojackovic to be pursued by all the big boys in college basketball, but it's worth noting that he originally chose Stanford over UCLA. You have to wonder if the Bruins will be the frontrunner in his portal recruitment.

24. Tre White, F, Louisville

It's funny what a difference a year can make.

A year ago White entered the portal off a dominant freshman year at USC, and was widely deemed to be one of the best transfers available. Now, after playing one year at Louisville, where he averaged better numbers across the board, it seems like just about everyone is sleeping on him.

While White undoubtedly picked up some bad habits at Louisville this year, he is the kind of player every team is looking for (again, what made him such a compelling portal figure last year). He is a 6'7 wing that can play on both ends of the floor, and averaged 12.3 points per game this season, to go along with 5.9 boards as well.

Again, I just don't know what else you could want from a prospect, especially now that he's proven he can produce at two different high-major schools.

25. William Kyle, F, South Dakota State

26. Andrej Jakimovski, F, Washington State

27. Keyshawn Hall, F, George Mason

28. Cade Tyson, F, Belmont

29. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, C, Louisville

30. Danny Wolf, F/C, Yale

31. Tarris Reed, C, Michigan

32. Kevin "Boopie" Miller, G, Wake Forest

33. Saint Thomas, Northern Colorado

34. Layden Blocker, G, Arkansas

35. Jamal Mashburn Jr., G, New Mexico

36. Koren Johnson, G, Washington

Already committed:

Tucker DeVries, F, Drake - committed to West Virginia

Michael Ajayi, F, Pepperdine - committed to Gonzaga

Riley Kugel, G, Florida - committed to Kansas

Jacob Crews, F, UT-Martin - committed to Missouri

Josh Cohen, C, UMass - committed to Arkansas

Houston Mallette, G, Pepperdine - committed to Alabama


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