After seven months, the long, national nightmare is almost over: That's right, college hoops is almost back, baby!
And not a moment too soon.
The good news of course is, that as tough as it's been to have no games on the court over the last few months, we have never seen a college hoops off-season quite like this past one. A combination of the one-time transfer rule, NIL and the NCAA giving an extra year of eligibility to everyone, created insanity across the sport, turning college basketball into an almost NFL-like 12-month a year sport. It isn't quite at NFL-like levels yet, but it was close.
And no where was it crazier than the transfer portal, where again, the one-time transfer rule combined with extra year of eligibility created maybe the greatest off-season we'll ever see of player's coming and going in college hoops' version of free agency.
With the season just about here, we decided to have some fun - and in turn, help you get caught up on the craziness in the off-season - with our list of the Top 75 transfers this off-season in the sport.
Before we get into it, just one note: There are a TON of good players who came and went this off-season. So I guarantee no matter what school you're a fan of, you'll think your guys are underranked. Just know they weren't. This list was really, REALLY hard.
Here it is:
1. Marcus Carr, G, Texas (previously at Minnesota): No one signified the craziness of the off-season quite like Carr, who left Minnesota shortly after the regular season and both entered the transfer portal as well as the NBA Draft. By the middle of spring it appeared as though he would stay in the draft, only for us to find out at the deadline in July that he'd return to school.
And when he did, he picked Texas, becoming the final piece of a preseason Top 5 team.
Put simply, there just aren't many guards anywhere in college hoops - transfer or otherwise - with his credentials, after averaging 19 points and just under five assists per game last year, while earning All-Big Ten second team honors.
His volume of shots will have to go down for Texas to have success, but as he told me on the "Aaron Torres Podcast" that won't be an issue - he knows the talent around him in Austin and is ready to defer for the good of the team.
2. Remy Martin, G, Kansas (previously at Arizona State): Martin was another late summer transfer shocker, entering the NBA Draft - only to pull out late and announce his transfer. He had a short recruitment and landed at Kansas, where he hopes to be the play-making guard that puts the Jayhawks over the top next March and April.
The word "sparkplug" might have been invented to describe Martin, a two-time All-Pac 12 first team guard, who has averaged 19 points in each of the last two seasons.
He can play a little out of control at times, and it's clear he and Bill Self are butting heads early.
But my guess is playing for a Hall of Famer like Bill Self, he will play under control - and again, be a potential missing piece on a title contender.
3. James Akinjo, G, Baylor (previously at Arizona): Akinjo is another All-Pac 12 guard who elected to transfer schools, but his move to Baylor seems to have quietly flown under the radar. Part of that was that he played at Arizona last year. When the Wildcats were given a self-imposed NCAA Tournament ban, everyone kind of stopped paying attention.
Which is too bad, because Akinjo had a spectacular season, averaging 15 points and leading the Pac-12 in assists at just under six per game. He also shot 40 percent from the field.
Like Martin and Carr, he could be a missing piece on a title contender, and will help fill the big shoes left by the three Baylor guards who led the school to a title last year, Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague.
4. Walker Kessler, F, Auburn (previously at North Carolina): Kessler's stats don't blow you away from last season (4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg) but anyone who knows college basketball knows how good this kid is.
He's a 7'1 former McDonald's All-American who got caught in a numbers game at UNC, playing behind Garrison Brooks (who will be seen later on this list), first round NBA pick Day'Ron Sharpe and Armando Bacot, UNC's leading scorer. And even despite that had plenty of big games when his number was called, including a 16-point, 12-rebound performance against Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament.
Kessler is now a key piece on a rejuvenated Auburn roster, and a member of what Bruce Pearl told me on the Aaron Torres Pod was "the best frontcourt in college basketball."
5. Oscar Tshiebwe, F, Kentucky (previously at West Virginia): I'll admit, I initially had Tshiebwe a little bit lower on this list. Then I saw him rip down 21 rebounds in Kentucky's "Blue-White Game" a few weeks ago, and remembered, "Oh yeah, that guy is a freaking monster."
The former McDonald's All-American was actually West Virginia's leading scorer and rebounder in the 2019-2020 Covid-shortened season, averaging 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. His numbers dipped a bit in 2020-2021 and elected to transfer last winter, but the 6'9 forward should provide bulk and toughness in the paint for a Wildcats squad that lacked those variables last year.
6. Garrison Brooks, F, Mississippi State (previously at North Carolina): Brooks initially committed to Mississippi State out of high school then ended up at North Carolina. But when the NCAA granted every player an extra year of eligibility, he elected to stay in college for one more year and head to Starkville, where his father is an assistant coach.
Brooks' best season came as a junior where he averaged just under 17 points and nine rebounds per game last season. While his numbers were "down" last year it was only because - like Kessler - he was caught in a numbers game more than anything else.
Brooks should return to being a double-double machine in Starkville and is one of several transfers who have reinvigorated this program and turned them into what should be an NCAA Tournament team.
7. Timmy Allen, G/F, Texas (previously at Utah): Allen is already the third different All-Pac-12 player on this list, after averaging 17 points per game at Utah a season ago. When Larry Krystkowiak (aka "the other Coach K") was fired at the end of the season.
While Allen isn't a great shooter (just 27 percent from beyond the arc last season) he is an effortless scorer, who joins Marcus Carr and returnees Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, in what might be the most explosive backcourt in college hoops this season.
8. Dawson Garcia, F, North Carolina (previously at Marquette): With all the big names who hit the portal this off-season, it feels like Garcia's name got a little bit lost in the shuffle. It also feels a little underappreciated in what he did in his one year at Marquette.
As a freshman last year, Garcia averaged 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in the rugged Big East, while also shooting nearly 36 percent from three. Not bad for a 6'11 forward.
At North Carolina expect him to play as a stretch four, as Hubert Davis has publicly discussed modernizing his offense, and allowing his bigs to play away from the basket.
9. Kellan Grady, G, Kentucky (previously at Davidson): Grady played four years at Davidson and earned All-A10 honors every season he was there, averaging over 17 points per game in each of those four seasons.
John Calipari has admitted that at times the adjustment to the higher level of competition has been a challenge for Grady, but I also had an A-10 assistant tell me this summer that he's just a bucket-getter that is going to find a way to score.
By the end of the season I fully expect him to be Kentucky's leading scorer.
10. Quincy Guerrier, F, Oregon (previously at Syracuse): Guerrier's decision to leave Syracuse was definitely a bit surprising, considering he was the second-leading scorer and leading rebounder on a team that made the Sweet 16.
Still, he elected to hit the portal, and the Ducks now have an instant impact forward, with NBA-level athleticism. Guerrier isn't a great shooter, but can fill up the stat sheet in just about every other way, after averaging 13.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game last season.
11. Fatts Russell, G, Maryland (previously at Rhode Island): Admittedly, I've been a little bit surprised to see Russell lower on lists like this, but in some ways it makes sense. He actually had a bit of a down year last year, "only" averaging 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game at Rhode Island.
First off, there are a ton of guys who would love to have that kind of "down" year.
Still, what gets lost is that in the two previous seasons - with better talent around him - Russell was a dynamic difference-maker, including in 2019-2020 when he averaged 18.8 points and 4.6 assists per game while shooting closer to 36 percent from downtown.
He now joins a loaded Maryland backcourt where he will split play-making duties with Eric Ayala.
12. Matt Bradley, G, San Diego State (previously at Cal): Stop me if you've heard this already a few times on this list, but Bradley was a dynamic Pac-12 guard a season ago who elected to transfer in the off-season. In his defense, it's hard to blame him - he balled out for several years on an otherwise forgettable Cal team, and instead elected to transfer to a spot where he has the opportunity to win at a higher level.
Point being, there were a lot of questionable decisions by players all over the country to transfer this season. This however, was not one of them.
Bradley was the Golden Bears' one bright spot these last few seasons, averaging 18 points per game last season, while also shooting 36 percent from behind the three-point line.
His numbers may go down playing for a more talented San Diego State squad this year, but he should also be the backbone of an NCAA Tournament team. 3
14. Sahvir Wheeler, G, Kentucky (previously at Georgia): Wheeler left Georgia last summer hoping to find a place where he could win at a higher level, and his final list of schools tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the kind of talent he is. Wheeler chose the Wildcats over Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma State. When John Calipari, Bill Self, Chris Beard and Mike Boynton (one of the rising young coaches in the sport, who certainly made a name for himself this week) want you, you know you're doing something right.
Now Wheeler is a Wildcat, and he should bring everything to the point guard position this team was lacking last year - maturity, toughness and playmaking. He led the SEC in assists last year (7.4 per game), to go along with 14 points per contest as well.
His numbers may be a bit down playing alongside TyTy Washington in the backcourt, but make no mistake: Wheeler will be a difference-maker at point.
14. Tre Mitchell, F, Texas (previously at UMass): Like Kentucky, with Tshiebwe, Grady and Wheeler, you might be noticing a trend with Texas here too, and that's that Chris Beard and his staff absolutely CLEANED UP in the portal (trust me, there's more). Mitchell was one of the later additions, but one of the most important.
A 6'9 forward, Mitchell averaged 18.8 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Minutemen last year, while also shooting 38 percent from behind the arc.
And don't be fooled by the fact that he did it at UMass - this is a former Top 100 recruit, who was initially recruited by most of the Big East and ACC out of high school. He'll fit right in, in the rugged Big 12.
15. Kevin Obanor, F, Texas Tech (previously at Oral Roberts): Obanor was a breakout star of the NCAA Tournament, dropping 30 points and 11 rebounds in Oral Roberts' stunner of Ohio State in Round 1, and following it up with 28 and 11 in a Round 2 win over Florida.
And once he decided to return to school quickly became one of the hottest commodities in the portal, choosing Texas Tech over Arkansas.
He should immediately bring versatility to a better-than-people-realize Texas Tech team, after averaging just under 19 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, while shooting a staggering 46 percent from three.
As new Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams told me over the summer, "Every time he shoots, I expect the ball to go in." He should team with returnees TJ Shannon and Kevin McCullar for another tourney berth for the Red Raiders - and maybe more.
16. Christian Bishop, F, Texas (previously at Creighton): The fourth transfer now at Texas on this list, Bishop was a starter for Creighton's Sweet 16 team last year, as well as a starter on their Big East regular season title team in 2019-2020.
And when the other four starters on that team all elected to graduate and pursue professional options, Bishop decided to take a look around as well - and ended up in Austin.
While Bishop is a little limited offensively (most of his work is done within 10 feet from the basket), he's an athletic rim runner and defender.
You don't average 11 points and six boards in the Big East by accident, and Bishop will be a key piece in the Longhorns frontcourt. His skills especially mesh nice with Tre Mitchell (listed above), as Mitchell is more of a shooting big man, while Bishop can play closer to the rim.
17. Justin Powell, G, Tennessee (previously at Auburn): Because Powell was limited to just 10 games last season because of concussions, I don't think most people realize just how good he was in his one season at Auburn.
Playing for the Tigers, he wasn't really a "point guard" or "shooting guard" so much as a play-maker, that averaged just under 12 points, six rebounds and five assists, while also shooting 44 percent from three. And again, he did that all as a freshman in the SEC.
Now in Knoxville, he will be a secondary ball-handler alongside Kennedy Chandler, and scorer in an already loaded backcourt that also includes Josiah Jordan-James and Santiago Vescovi.
There's a reason that Powell starting showing up on NBA Draft boards last season - the kid is damn good.
18. Xavier Pinson, G, LSU (previously at Missouri): You never want to see any player go down with injury, and it's obviously very unfortunate that fellow LSU transfer Adam Miller (more on him later) did in fact suffer a season-ending injury just a few weeks ago.
But if there is a silver lining, early reports out of LSU are that Pinson has been better than anticipated as a true playmaker for the Tigers this off-season.
Pinson was actually the second leading scorer (13.6 points per game) for a Missouri team that made the NCAA Tournament last year, but it was clear by the end of the year that he had fallen out of favor with head coach Cuonzo Martin. He played just 18 minutes in the Tigers' opening round NCAA Tournament loss to Oklahoma.
So he decided to transfer, and should now split play-making duties at LSU with returnee Eric Gaines and could end up as the Tigers' leading scorer this year. His role has obviously become even more important with Miller going down with that season-ending injury.
19. Dylan Disu, F, Texas (previously at Vanderbilt): Yes, this is a fifth Texas player in our Top 20, joining Carr, Allen, Mitchell and Bishop. And yes, it's all totally justified.
In the rugged SEC last year, Disu averaged 15 points and 9.2 rebounds, the latter the top number in the league. And he did that on a bad team where he faced constant double teams down low.
Disu is still coming back from season-ending knee surgery last year, and isn't expected to be ready immediately for the Longhorns.
20. Kyler Edwards, G, Houston (previously at Texas Tech): Edwards is on the opposite spectrum of so many players on this list, as a guy who played for Beard last year at Texas Tech, before electing to leave Lubbock once Beard left for Austin.
And boy oh boy, did Houston get a good one.
A member of the Red Raiders' 2019 Final Four team, Edwards does one thing insanely well - he shoots the crap out of the ball. He averaged double figures each of the last two seasons in Lubbock (which was kind of an incredible feat last season with Mac McClung on the team), while shooting 42 percent from behind the three-point arc in 2021.
He should immediately add scoring pop to Houston's backcourt which lost DeJon Jerreau and and Quentin Grimes off last year's Final Four team.
21. Adam Miller, G, LSU (previously at Illinois): Unfortunately, as we mentioned above, Miller is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL during practice a few weeks back.
Still, no list of best transfers this off-season would be complete without the former Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois, who averaged 8.5 points per game as a freshman at Illinois last year.
Expect a big season for Miller in 2022-2023.
22. De'Vion Harmon, G, Oregon (previously at Oklahoma): Oregon always cleans up in the transfer portal, and this year was no different, as Harmon joins Guerrier and Jacob Young (more on him later) on this new look Ducks' roster.
Harmon doesn't blow you away with athleticism, but is plenty steady, after averaging 12 points and 2.5 assists at Oklahoma last year, leading the Sooners to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
23. Earl Timberlake, F, Memphis (previously at Miami): So much of doing lists like this is projection - how will new players fit with new teams, systems and coaches. Yet even by that standard, we have to do a ton of projection on Timberlake, a former Top 25 recruit who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury that led to neck surgery this off-season.
Still, Timberlake has what you can't teach, elite size and athleticism, measuring out at 6'6 and a chiseled 220 lbs. And even in his limited amount of time in college basketball last year, he still averaged nine points and five rebounds per game, including four double-figure performances in six ACC games pre-injury.
Coming off major neck surgery it's hard to know exactly what to expect from Timberlake. But he has NBA upside if he can simply stay on the court.
24. Caleb Mills, G, Florida State (previously at Houston): After winning AAC Freshman of the Year in 2020, Mills struggled early last year and made the decision to leave Houston mid-season last year. He left just as the Cougars took off, in a season that ended in a Final Four.
Now Mills will now reboot his career at Florida State under Leonard Hamilton, at a spot that continues to produce pros (Scottie Barnes, Patrick Williams, Devin Vassell) at a staggering rate.
Florida State plays a ton of guys, so it's really hard to know exactly what role Mills will play or what kind of stats he'll put up. But Mills is a playmaking guard who can fill the basket, something that Florida State desperately needs after losing four of its top five scorers off of last year's team.
25. De'Vante Jones, G, Michigan (previously at Coastal Carolina): Juwan Howard hit pay dirt last year by convincing a high-scoring guard from the mid-major level (in this case, Mike Smith from Columbia) to come to Ann Arbor, put stats aside and help a team win games as a true point guard. Smith did exactly that, as the starting point guard and key cog on the Wolverines Elite Eight team.
So can Howard go two-for-two after convincing Jones, last year's Sun Belt Player of the Year to take on the same role in Ann Arbor this season?
Jones has big shoes to fill, but he certainly has the talent, after averaging 19 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last year - an absurd number for a 6'1 guard. In the process, he won the Sun Belt Player of the Year.
The question now: Will Jones sacrifice individual stats for the good of the team? Our hunch is that he probably wouldn't have transferred to Michigan if he wasn't planning on it. But that will be the difference between the Wolverines reaching their potential as a Final Four team or not.
26. Au'Diese Toney, G, Arkansas (previously at Pitt): By now we all know the narrative that Eric Musselman is the transfer whisperer, and it's true. He rode Cody and Caleb Martin to the Sweet 16 at Nevada, and Justin Smith and Jalen Tate played a huge role on the Hogs' first Elite Eight team in 26 years a season ago.
Well this year Musselman has reloaded once again, and in the long run, expect Toney to be the most productive of the five transfers Arkansas signed this off-season. He is a power wing who averaged 14 points and six rebounds in the ACC at Pitt last year.
Toney has NBA size and athleticism, and if he can just improve his three-point shot a bit (34 percent) has potential to be an All-SEC type player.
27. Boogie Ellis, G, USC (previously at Memphis): Ellis was once committed to Duke, then eventually ended up as part of the ' No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the country at Memphis. But after two seasons playing at Memphis, he elected to head back to the West Coast, where he is originally from.
And Penny Hardaway's loss is Andy Enfield's gain. Like Kyler Edwards above, Ellis has one unique gift: An ability to absolutely put the ball in the basket. He averaged 10.2 points per game last season, while shooting 38 percent from deep and played some of his biggest games late in the season, against some of the Tigers' best opponents. That included a 27-point performance against Houston in the AAC Tournament, where he almost single-handedly beat a team that eventually ended up in the Final Four.
Ellis will add immediate scoring pop to the Trojans' backcourt, and there's a chance we could look pretty dumb having him this far down the list by the end of the season.
28. Myles Johnson, F, UCLA (previously at Rutgers): Part of the reason I have UCLA as the No. 1 team in the country coming into the season is because they literally return everyone off last year's Final Four team.
What's crazy though, is that the one hole they legitimately had - a back-up big man, to spell Cody Riley - they filled perfectly with Johnson.
Johnson was a starter on Rutgers' NCAA Tournament team last year, averaging eight points and 8.5 rebounds for a club that made it to the second round in the Big Dance.
While he's limited in what he can do (he's basically a defense, energy and hustle guy), what he does is exactly what UCLA needs this season.
29. Marcus Williams, G, Texas A&M (previously at Wyoming): When I was doing transfer rankings over the summer, I made a dirty little confession I'm a little ashamed to share: I love watching late night Mountain West hoops. I know, I know. I'm currently seeking help for the problem.
But in doing so last year, Williams immediately caught my attention. He isn't super athletic, but always seemed to get to his spots and make plays, averaging 15 points and just under five assists at Wyoming last year. In the process, he won Mountain West Freshman of the Year.
On a Texas A&M team that is starting over from scratch, he should get big minutes, and big stats in Aggieland.
30. Jayden Gardner, F, Virginia (previously at East Carolina): Gardner is an interesting case that we sometimes see on lists like this: How does production at a lower level equate the highest levels of college basketball?
While you could say that about a ton of guys on this list, Gardner is a very unique example. To his credit, he averaged at least 16 points and eight rebounds in each of his three seasons at East Carolina. But as a 6'6 forward, who essentially plays within 15 feet, and at no point has proven an ability to stretch the floor, how will that translate in the ACC?
Our hunch is a player who has been this productive will figure it out, especially for a coach as good as Tony Bennett.
31. DJ Jeffries, F, Mississippi State (previously at Memphis): Another player who began his career at Memphis, it's hard to know exactly what to make of Jeffries. He's a former Top 40 recruit who was once committed to Kentucky - and averaged 11 points on 38 percent shooting from three as a freshman in 2019-2020 before he went down with injury.
Last year he returned from that injury, but he never seemed to regain his freshman form.
After the season he elected to reboot his career at Mississippi State - and we expect him to be the kind of difference-maker he once showed flashes of at Memphis.
32. Xavier Johnson, G, Indiana (previously at Pitt): It was a summer of upheaval at Indiana, but the first sign that Mike Woodson might be up for the challenge of rebuilding the Indiana basketball program was when he went and plucked Johnson out of the portal.
Like Au'Diese Toney, Johnson played last season at Pitt and was a difference-maker with the ball in his hands. Johnson averaged 14 points and a team-high 5.7 assists per game.
He is one of three playmakers at the point guard position at Indiana, joining Khristian Lander and Rob Phinisee - part of the reason that the Hoosiers are one of the most fascinating teams in college hoops this year.
33. Stanley Umude, F, Arkansas (previously at South Dakota): The second Hog on this list, Umude was a two-time All Summit League performer at South Dakota, who averaged 21 points and seven rebounds a season ago.
Obviously there will be a step up in competition and his role will be different in the SEC, but expect Umude to be a truly effective wing defender, who can also fill the scoring load for the Hogs alongside Devo Davis, JD Notae, Toney and others.
34. Darryl Morsell, G, Marquette (previously at Maryland): Often, we give too much credit strictly to guys that fill up the basket, and forget that basketball is played on two ends of the court.
Because of it, let's give Morsell a little bit of love. He "only" averaged nine points and four rebounds per game at Maryland, but was so good defensively that he earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year - as a guard.
He's so tough he even had surgery after fracturing his face - FRACTURING HIS FACE! - and miss just one game in the process.
He will bring obvious toughness to a young Marquette team in Shaka Smart's first season at the school.
35. CJ Fredrick, G, Kentucky (previously at Iowa): When Kentucky completely fell apart as a program last season, it was clear that a major overhaul of the program was needed. No where more so than behind the three-point line, where the Wildcats struggled to consistently hit open shots.
Well, that shouldn't be much of an issue this year for the Wildcats, especially courtesy of the addition of Fredrick. The 6'3 guard who is a former Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky who shot 46 percent as a freshman at Iowa and 47 percent a season ago, helping the Hawkeyes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The only issue for Fredrick is keeping him on the floor, as he missed several games last season and most of summer workouts these past few months as well.
The good news is that Fredrick is on the road to recovery and could be ready for the team's season opener against Duke next week.
36. Qudus Wahab, C, Maryland (previously at Georgetown): One of the single most shocking transfer decisions of the off-season, Wahab was a key cog on Georgetown's NCAA Tournament team, before electing to hit the portal.
The fact that a 7'2, back to the basket center, would leave Patrick Ewing seems strange to me, but hey what do I know?
Anyway, Georgetown's loss is Maryland's gain, as Wahab averaged just under 13 points and nine boards per game last year for the Hoyas. He's a little limited in what he can do (most all of his production comes within five feet of the basket) but he adds much needed size to an otherwise small Maryland team.
37. Rasir Bolton, G, Gonzaga (previously at Iowa State): A big part of the Zags recruiting strategy in recently years is selectively adding from the portal. Last year Andrew Nembhard played a big role on their Final Four team. The year before Admon Gilder and Ryan Woolridge served as role players on a team that would've had a No. 1 seed had the NCAA Tournament been played.
This year the new portal face to know is Bolton, who led Iowa State in scoring at 15.5 points per game last year.
Bolton has done a lot of scoring on bad teams, and it will be interesting to see if he can adjust his game to the winning culture - and better teammates - that he'll encounter at Gonzaga.
38. Noah Locke, G, Louisville (previously at Florida): Say this for Locke: While he may not be elite at a lot of things, he does one thing about as well as anyone in college hoops. He shoots the hell out of the ball.
In three years at Florida Locke shot at least 37 percent from three, and over 40 percent each of the last two years. He averaged double-figures in both those seasons as well.
He will add some much needed shooting to a Louisville backcourt that desperately needs any offense it can get.
39. Micah Peavy, F, TCU (previously at Texas Tech): This one is a little bit of a projection on my part. But when I think of Peavy, I can't get one thing out of my head. I was interviewing Chris Beard about something two summers ago, and this is what he told me about Peavy, who he believed had been snubbed from the previous year's McDonald's All American team: "If Micah Peavy isn't a McDonald's All-American, I don't know what a McDonald's All-American looks like" is what Beard told me.
So if Beard thinks you have the chance to be elite, I'm going to take his word for it.
Peavy averaged just under six points per game in a minimal role at Texas Tech last season. But could be a breakout star in the Big 12 in 2021-2022.
40. Moussa Cisse, C, Oklahoma State (previously at Memphis): The first of two Cowboys on this list, poor Cisse was unfairly labeled as a potential one and done last season - even though anyone who had actually seen him play before college knew that he was a major work in progress.
Now at Oklahoma State he should be able to develop, again, under one of the best young coaches in college basketball in Mike Boynton.
Despite not living up to unfair expectations, he still averaged six points, six rebounds and nearly two blocks per game last season, and has the chance to be one of the best rim protectors in college hoops this year.
41. Bryce Thompson, G, Oklahoma State (previously at Kansas): Another projection on our end, as Thompson played just 20 games, in an injury-plagued freshman season at Kansas last year.
Still, Thompson is a former McDonald's All-American, who was known as one of the best shooters in the 2020 high school class.
Back at home near his native Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thompson should thrive for the Pokes, as long as he can stay healthy.
42. Will Baker, F, Nevada (previously at Texas): Baker elected to transfer right before the start of last season, so unlike just about anyone else on this list, it's been almost two full years since we last saw him on the court.
Still, he's a legit seven-footer with three-point range that should team with Grant Sherfield to get Nevada back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the Steve Alford era in Reno.
43. Myreon Jones, G, Florida (previously at Penn State): Mike White hasn't had much success developing highly-touted high school players. So this summer he skewed away from high school and instead added four new players via the transfer portal.
The best is Jones, a stocky, 6'3 guard who led Penn State in scoring at 15 points per game last year. He also shot over 39 percent, as one of the best shooters in the entire Big Ten.
Jones won't blow you off the court in athleticism, but is a solid, sturdy guard that knows how to create his offense. He is the exact kind of steady, veteran presence that White desperately needs on this roster.
44. Noah Gurley, F, Alabama (previously at Furman): Gurley won't be a star at Alabama, but as a bouncy, 6'8 forward, is the perfect athletic, springy, versatile big who should thrive in Nate Oats' system.
Gurley not only averaged 14 points per game last year at Furman, but also shot 34 percent from behind the arc - which was actually down from the 41 percent he shot in 2019-2020.
Like we said, he's going to fit Nate Oats' system perfectly.
45. Tari Eason, F, LSU (previously at Cincinnati): It was a weird year at Cincinnati where John Brannen was forced out after two seasons. And when he left a slew of players decided to pursue other options at other schools.
The best of the lot was Eason, an All-AAC Freshman team member who averaged seven points and six boards in his one season at Cincinnati.
The 6'8 forward should provide depth on the wing at LSU and could be a star for the Tigers down the road.
46. Nimari Burnett, G, Alabama (previously at Texas Tech): Like Adam Miller, Burnett is a formerly highly-touted player in the class of 2020, that elected to transfer, but unfortunately got hurt this off-season.
The former McDonald's All-American will sit out in 2021-2022, but should be a difference-making backcourt piece for the Tide in 2022-2023.
47. KD Johnson, G, Auburn (previously at Georgia): I'll just be blunt, I may look really stupid at the end of the year having Johnson this low on this list.
As a freshman last year at Georgia, Johnson averaged a team-high averaged 13.5 points, including several 20+ point games against NCAA Tournament teams (Tennessee, Alabama, LSU).
Johnson should thrive in Bruce Pearl's wide open system on the Plains.
48. Brady Manek, F, North Carolina (previously at Oklahoma): A four-year starter at Oklahoma, Manek has been around college hoops so long he came to Norman in the same recruiting class as Trae Young. TRAE YOUNG! But when the NCAA granted every player an extra year because of Covid he decided to stay in college, and ended up at North Carolina.
Like Garcia below on this list, Manek is a big who has the ability to stretch the floor, a dimension that Hubert Davis was looking to add this off-season in Chapel Hill.
Manek averaged double-figures all four years he played at Oklahoma.
49. Tanner Groves, F, Oklahoma (previously at Eastern Washington): Groves became a little bit of an NCAA Tournament folk hero, after dropping 35 points (including five three-pointers) in a near upset of Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Now, the former Big Sky Player of the Year will face Kansas twice, after electing to play for Porter Moser's first Oklahoma team this season.
Groves averaged 17 points and eight boards while shooting 35 percent from three last year, not bad for a 6'10 forward.
It may take a minute for him to adjust to the size and athleticism of the Big 12, but when he does, could be a true matchup nightmare across this league.
50. Rocket Watts, G, Mississippi State (previously at Michigan State): I might be the last believer in Rocket Watts, a guard who fell out of favor with Tom Izzo at Michigan State last year.
The bottom line is that Watts is a combo guard who was thrust into the point guard spot, in a Covid year, and was asked to replace one of the best point guards in Big Ten history, Cassius Winston. Those were impossible shoes to fill, and he struggled. It's also worth noting that he averaged 10 points per game as a freshman playing off the ball with Winston in 2019-2020.
A change of scenery will be good for Watts, and he should have plenty of talent around him in Starkville.
51. Armaan Franklin, G, Virginia (previously at Indiana)
52. Alonzo Verge, G, Nebraska (previously at Arizona State)
52. Emanuel Miller, F, TCU (previously at Texas A&M)
54. Marreon Jackson, G, Arizona State (previously at Toledo)
55. Liam Robbins, C, Vanderbilt (previously at Minnesota)
56, Kadary Richmond, G, Seton Hall (previously at Syracuse)
57. Jacob Young, G, Oregon (previously at Rutgers)
58. Chris Lykes, G, Arkansas (previously at Miami)
59. Tyrese Radford, G, Texas A&M (previously at Virginia Tech)
60. Jaeymn Brakefield, F, Ole Miss (previously at Duke)
61. Keith Williams, G, Western Kentucky (previously at Cincinnati)
62. Tyson Walker, G, Michigan State (previously at Northeastern)
63. David Jenkins, G, Utah (previously at UNLV)
64. Jemarl Baker, G, Fresno State (previously at Arizona)
65. Alfonso Plummer, G, Illinois (previously at Utah)
66. Nysier Brooks, F, Ole Miss (previously at Miami)
67. Cole Swider, F, Syracuse (previously at Villanova)
68. Storm Murphy, G, Virginia Tech (previously at Wofford)
69. Jalen Pickett, G, Penn State (previously at Siena)
70. Charlie Moore, G, Miami (previously at DePaul)
71. Jack Nunge, C, Xavier (previously at Iowa)
72. Jaxson Robinson, F, Arkansas (previously at Texas A&M)
73. Devin Askew, G, Texas (previously at Kentucky)
73. Jay Heath, G, Arizona State (previously at Boston College)
74. Jamison Battle, G, Minnesota (previously at George Washington)
75. Wendell Green, G, Auburn (previously at Eastern Kentucky)