These Transfers Are Making an Impact for Top-25 Teams This Season

    The closest that college basketball gets to free agency is the transfer market as hundreds of Division I players transfer every year, and this season is

    January 22, 2019

    The closest that college basketball gets to free agency is the transfer market as hundreds of Division I players transfer every year, and this season is no exception. Just look at players like Kentucky guard Quade Green, TCU guard Jaylen Fisher and Arizona forward Emmanuel Akot, who are all transferring.

    Here’s a list of more than 100 players who have announced their decision to transfer since the start of the season.

    The hope for players who transfer is to find a school where they can carve out a significant role on a winning team.

    We examined transfers from Division I schools who are now – at the very least – rotation players in their first season playing for a new school that is currently ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll or on kenpom.com. In short, these are key players for the best teams in the country.

    In October, we named the top 25 transfers who will make an impact this season and 13 of them play for current top-25 teams, as defined above.

    Here are the 33 transfers in total who are playing in their first season for a current top-25 team, along with their offensive rating and usage rate, which add context to the roles and impact of these players.

    They range from a First Team All-American candidate in Kansas forward Dedric Lawson to Louisville reserve guard Khwan Fore, who plays roughly 45 percent of the team’s available minutes and uses just 11.8 percent of the Cardinals’ possessions when he’s on the floor – the lowest of this group of players.

    There are 15 schools that are in the latest AP Top 25 Poll or the top 25 of kenpom.com that have at least one new transfer in their rotation (as of Tuesday afternoon). Nine top-25 teams have multiple transfers in their rotation, including NC State (five), Nevada (five), Louisville (four) and Kansas (three).

    In the scatter plot above, you’ll notice that most of these transfers have become efficient role players on their new teams. An offensive rating around 100 to 105 is considered average and 24 of these transfers have an offensive rating of at least 100, using data from kenpom.com.

    The website defines a role player as someone who uses between 16 and 20 percent of his team’s offensive possessions when he’s on the floor, meaning the possession ends in that player making a shot, taking a shot that is missed and rebounded by the defense, or turning the ball over. Fourteen players listed on the chart above have a usage rate between 15 and 20 percent, while players like Kansas’ Dedric Lawson (28.9%), Iowa State’s Marial Shayok (28.2%) and Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke (23.7%) have become focal points on offense in their first season playing for their new schools.

    Check out the breakdown of each player, his usage rate, his offensive rating and his points per game average.

    Player School Usage Rate Offensive Rating Points Per Game
    Braxton Key Virginia 17.60% 128.3 7.6
    Brandon Clarke Gonzaga 23.70% 133.5 16.5
    Geno Crandall Gonzaga 19.10% 84.8 5.1
    Evan Boudreaux Purdue 23.20% 119.6 7.1
    Dedric Lawson Kansas 28.90% 114.7 19.5
    Charlie Moore Kansas 16.10% 86.9 3.3
    KJ Lawson Kansas 17.10% 112.1 2.7
    Matt Mooney Texas Tech 22.20% 94.0 10.7
    Tariq Owens Texas Tech 17.80% 113.1 8.1
    Reid Travis Kentucky 21.10% 119.4 13.0
    Marial Shayok Iowa State 28.20% 112.1 19.8
    Michael Jacobson Iowa State 21.80% 120.1 13.1
    Samir Doughty Auburn 15.80% 123.1 8.4
    Akoy Agau Louisville 24.80% 95.7 2.2
    Steven Enoch Louisville 21.70% 114.0 9.6
    Christen Cunningham Louisville 18.50% 121.2 10.4
    Khwan Fore Louisville 11.80% 92.0 3.3
    Trey Porter Nevada 18.60% 112.5 6.9
    Nisre Zouzoua Nevada 19.90% 65.9 1.6
    Jazz Johnson Nevada 14.20% 140.8 11.2
    Tre’Shawn Thurman Nevada 15.00% 108.0 6.7
    Corey Henson Nevada 13.70% 111.5 4.1
    Kavell Bigby-Williams LSU 17.60% 125.6 7.5
    Ed Morrow Marquette 23.10% 100.3 5.9
    Joseph Chartouny Marquette 15.40% 96.5 4.3
    Dejon Jarreau Houston 29.50% 100.3 8.1
    Brison Gresham Houston 14.10% 107.9 3.8
    Joe Cremo Villanova 14.80% 106.9 5.4
    Devon Daniels NC State 23.10% 98.2 10.5
    Blake Harris NC State 22.20% 98.9 3.8
    CJ Bryce NC State 19.20% 125.3 12.2
    Wyatt Walker NC State 14.80% 114.7 5.9
    Eric Lockett NC State 15.50% 127.2 5.8

     

    Keep this data in mind, especially in March, as we hit the annual cycle of college basketball players announcing their decisions to transfer – an occurrence that some label an “epidemic” – because more than half of the teams currently in the top 25 dipped into the transfer market to fill at least one key role in their rotations.

    Some schools, like Kansas and Iowa State, have even landed their best player this way.

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