Rosters across college basketball have taken shape after an eventful offseason. Many schools added major transfer pieces.
Among the 1,400+ college basketball players in the transfer portal, 11s stand out as the most impactful.
1. Malachi Smith – Gonzaga
After point guard Andrew Nembhard declared for the NBA draft, the Bulldogs needed backcourt help. Shooting guard Malachi Smith transferred to Gonzaga, filling a vital spot.
Smith’s collegiate career began at Wright State; he transferred to Chattanooga following his freshman season. After averaging 19.9 points while shooting 49.3% and 40.7% on 3-pointers, Smith was crowned 2021-22 Southern Player of the Year.
The Zags desperately needed a leader in the backcourt with the ability to score. As a redshirt senior, Smith fills both roles.
2. Tanner Holden – Ohio State
Ohio State struggled with point guard play last season. Malaki Branham — the only consistent scoring guard on OSU last year — declared for the NBA draft.
The Buckeyes had to add a guard via the transfer portal and did just that. Tanner Holden was one of Wright State’s key pieces in its run to the NCAA Tournament. In the 2021-22 season, he averaged 20.1 points & 7.1 rebounds while shooting 49.7% from the field.
Holden, an Ohio native, decided to stay in-state and play for the Buckeyes. Ohio State gets a big boost to its backcourt, while Holden gets an elevated stage in the Big Ten.
3. KJ Williams – LSU
This offseason, Matt McHanon became LSU’s Head Coach. The Tigers saw several players transfer, including big man Efton Reid. McMahon led one of the country’s best mid-major programs, Murray State. KJ Williams, the 2021-22 OVC Player of the Year, followed his former coach to LSU.
Last season, Williams averaged 18 points and shot 53.8% from the floor while corralling 8.4 rebounds per game. The SEC is loaded with frontcourt talent, LSU absolutely needed a new center. Williams is a terrific player with bruising physicality at 6-foot-10, 245 pounds.
Look for Williams to be the Tigers’ star in a stacked SEC.
4. Terrence Shannon Jr. – Illinois
The Fighting Illini needed to replace their entire backcourt after the departures of Andre Curbelo, Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer. Illinois landed a commitment from the former 5-star point guard Skyy Clark, but still needed help.
Landing Terrence Shannon Jr. was a big win for the Fighting Illini. He is a great wing defender and has shown brilliant scoring flashes throughout his career. Shannon struggled with back injuries last season but will look to get back on track with Illinois.
5. Tyrese Hunter – Texas
Iowa State was in the spotlight after a Sweet 16 run. Point guard Tyrese Hunter was one of the Cyclones’ major contributors. He was named 2021-22 Big 12 Rookie of the Year after averaging 11 points along with stifling defense.
Hunter entered the transfer portal. He settled on in-conference rival Texas. Hunter with defensive-minded Chris Beard is a match made in heaven. In addition, this fills a need after the Longhorns lost guards Courtney Ramey and Devin Askew.
Texas will have a formidable backcourt with Hunter, Marcus Carr and Andrew Jones.
6. Kendric Davis – Memphis
Kendric Davis was one of the most underrated guards in America. The 5-foot-11 point guard averaged 19.4 points while shooting over 43% from the floor and 37.2% on 3-pointers.
In the 2021-22 season, Memphis had smothering defense but lacked a reliable scoring option. Davis is a high-level scorer that could be an instant star at Memphis. He is capable of dominating games, as seen in Davis’ eight games with 25 points or more last season.
7. Fardaws Aimaq – Texas Tech
Fardaws Aimaq quietly posted monster numbers at Utah Valley. The 6-foot-11 center averaged over 13 rebounds in back-to-back seasons.
Last season, his scoring dramatically improved to 18.9 points per game. Aimaq is another talented mid-major player that could improve on a bigger stage.
For Texas Tech, this was a huge get. The Red Raiders had major holes after losing Shannon and Bryson Williams.
8. Nijel Pack – Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes reached the Elite Eight with terrific guard play. While Isaiah Wong returns, Miami lost Kameron McGusty and Charlie Moore. Miami turned to the transfer portal, finding a fantastic replacement.
Nijel Pack comes from Kansas State, where he averaged 17.4 points in the 2021-22 season. In addition, the former four-star recruit shot 45.5% and 43.6% on 3-pointers. Pack fills a scoring need, but is a mediocre passer with a 2.9-assist career average.
Miami will have a dangerous scoring backcourt with Pack and Wong.
9. Johni Broome – Auburn
The best transfers of the 2022 offseason are littered with mid-major players taking the next step. Johni Broome quickly rose to stardom after two seasons at Morehead State.
He averaged 16.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in the 2021-22 season. After making First Team ALL-OVC, Broome entered the transfer portal.
Auburn needed frontcourt help after Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler entered the NBA Draft. Broome and 5-star freshman Yohan Traore could be one of college basketball’s elite big man tandems.
10. Baylor Scheierman – Creighton
After a successful season led by young pieces, Creighton landed one of college basketball’s most all-around players.
Baylor Scheierman was two-time All-Summit with South Dakota State. The 6-foot-6 guard was named 2021-22 Summit Player of the Year thanks to eye-popping numbers: 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals. Plus, Scheierman shot 50.8% and 46.9% on 3-pointers with nearly 11 field goal attempts per game.
This addition cannot be understated. Everyone chased Scheierman, including Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. The Bluejays found a superstar that will complement their up-and-coming roster.
11. Emoni Bates – Eastern Michigan
Throughout his high school career, Emoni Bates was advertised as a generational prospect. Last year, Bates reclassified and joined Memphis. After a year riddled with injuries and inconsistency, the Michigan native entered the transfer portal.
Louisville and Michigan were the hot names surrounding Bates. However, he shocked the country and decided to return to his hometown Ypsilanti, MI. For Eastern Michigan, this will be the program’s most talented player.
Bates’ inexperience clearly held him back last season. At times, he looked lost averaging 9.7 points while shooting 38.6%. But, the massive potential is still there. Bates is an extremely talented scorer with a lengthy 6-foot-9 frame.
With lesser competition, Bates will shine but his draft stock could be harmed in the process.