Evans Seven: Transfers who will make biggest impacts next year
There has been a recent push to no longer require first-time transfers to sit out a season after transferring, but that rule will come too late for a group of individuals who have already opted to change their college homes. In this week’s Evans Seven, we examine the sit-out transfers in the major conferences who will make the biggest impacts on their new homes next year.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. AAC – R.J. COLE
Dan Hurley continues to push UConn further up the AAC’s pecking order, and next year should be another year of growth in Storrs. The Huskies will lose Christian Vital to graduation, but they will have no shortage of firepower in the backcourt. James Bouknight will lead a number of preseason all-breakout lists, and the return of Alterique Gilbert will provide for a steadying presence, but when it comes to a bucket-getting role, look no further than R.J. Cole.
The Howard transfer brings a great pedigree to UConn, and while he might not average over 20 points per game like he did each year at the MEAC program, he will be a serviceable and consistent shot-maker who will make the Huskies a tough out and potentially lead them back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.
2. ACC – ITHIEL HORTON
As good as Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens might be, there is a chance that Ithiel Horton could be the most well-rounded of the group. What will give him the chance to play even more is the fact that he can shoot the ball, which is the glaring flaw for this year’s Pitt team that is making less than 30 percent of its 3-pointers. Just one player, little-used Ryan Murphy, is making over 34 percent from deep on Pitt's entire roster.
Enter Horton, a Delaware transfer. Those around the program say he has been arguably their best player in the Panthers' practices. Spending a lone year at Delaware, Horton made 40 percent of his long-distance attempts, but he is also a more-than-capable set-up man that can be used on and off the ball. Horton’s intangibles and shot-making will be put to good use and could give the Panthers one of the best backcourts in the ACC next year.
3. BIG EAST – CALEB DANIELS
There was some backlash for Villanova’s lack of involvement in the 2020 class. The Wildcats took a shot at five-star guard Jeremy Roach, but after finishing in second for the now Duke-bound recruit, Villanova decided to sit tight for the remainder of the recruiting cycle. That goes to show how much confidence the Wildcats have in Caleb Daniels, a 6-foot-4 scoring guard that came to the Main Line via Tulane. In his two years in New Orleans, Daniels never shot worse than 34 percent from the perimeter but it was his final season - when he averaged over 16 points, five rebounds and three assists - that placed him among the best in the sport.
Daniels is the ideal do-it-all guard that can play each spot along the perimeter in Villanova’s guard-heavy offense. Playing next to Collin Gillespie, Bryan Antoine and Justin Moore next year, the Wildcats may boast one of the top backcourts in the game.
4. BIG TEN – JOEY HAUSER
Respect must be given to Sam Hauser. The soon-to-be standout at Virginia has never shot below 40 percent from 3-point range throughout his three years in college. Hauser, Kihei Clark, Casey Morsell and Thomas Woldetensae will create a devastatingly efficient perimeter core.
However, it is his brother, Joey Hauser, that might create the most noise next year. The younger of the two siblings is the kind of player that Michigan State has been looking for this season: a reliable, versatile forward who would have been an ideal complement to Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman. Both of those players will likely be gone next year, which puts the onus on Hauser to come in and produce right away. That is a role that Hauser is more than ready to fill.
5. BIG 12 – JOEL NTAMBWE
Adam Flagler could be the next transfer to flourish at Baylor. But what Joel Ntambwe has the chance to do at Texas Tech trumps the lesser role that Flagler is likely to see in Waco. Known primarily as the older brother of top-ranked junior Jon Kuminga, Ntambwe can ball himself, too. In his lone year at UNLV, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged over 11 points and five rebounds while making close to 39 percent of his perimeter tries. Better yet, he is the just the type of versatile wing/forward that Chris Beard has come to value.
The Red Raiders have become one of the more consistently dominant defensive teams each season, and Ntambwe could be the reason why they are again next winter. Jahmi'us Ramsey may be gone, but the return of Terrence Shannon, Davide Moretti and Kevin McCullar - along with the enrollment of five-star guard Nimari Burnett - could give Beard a group that will be one of the tougher outs in March.
6. PAC-12 – JORDAN BROWN
You might be asking how someone who averaged just three points and two rebounds during his final year of play before transferring could be on such a list. Well, Jordan Brown is definitely a talent or he wouldn’t have been rated as a top 15 prospect coming out of high school, and he will have a great opportunity at Arizona next season - perhaps a better opportunity than any other prospect in this article.
Stone Gettings and Chase Jeter are graduating, and Zeke Nnaji is likely to enter the NBA Draft, so Brown will have first dibs at the center position that Sean Miller has become so reliant upon on the offensive end. Brown might not be Nnaji, but the former Nevada player is someone who could consistently produce 12 points and seven rebounds. He could be a major reason why the Wildcats compete for another Pac-12 title next year.
7. SEC – ANTHONY DURUJI
While the season is not yet complete, Florida has to pick it up to live up to their preseason expectations. Entering the offseason, things could look even bleaker if Andrew Nembhard, Scottie Lewis and Kerry Blackshear all pursue their NBA dreams. What many have forgotten is the players who are sitting out. Cleveland State transfer Tyree Applebee will be a great addition out top, but it is Anthony Duruji who will be leaned upon the most.
Duruji can take over the power forward spot, which will allow Keyontae Johnson to slide over to his more natural small forward position. Duruji, a Louisiana Tech transfer, isn’t a great shooter but he might be even more athletic than Lewis. Expect Duruji to be one of the Gators' top shot-blockers and rebounders for a unit that should consistently be ranked in the top 25 next year.