Six early winners on the 2017 transfer market

C.J. Bryce surprised many with his decision to transfer from UNC Wilmington, but he made the NC State Wolfpack one of the biggest winners of the offseason. (Source: NBC Sports)

CALGARY, Alta. — So far this offseason, 728 players have transferred from their 2016-17 program, according to Verbal Commits.

That’s a fair number of players.

With that, rosters will look vastly different over the next two seasons, as graduate transfers take to the hardwood this season with their new programs, while others have to wait until the 2018-19 campaign to get into game action.

There have been some great additions for programs all across the country, and there have been some decisions that leave you scratching your head ans asking the age old question of ‘why’.

We took a look through all of the transfer decisions so far, and asked folks on Twitter to find out who are the biggest winners so far on the market. Below, you can find the six biggest winners on the 2017 transfer market so far.  

Winners

Nevada Wolfpack

Additions: Jazz JohnsonNisre ZouzouaMarcel PettwayTre’Shawn ThurmanMarquez Letcher-Ellis, and Darien Williams*

Nevada should be known as Transfer U in the offseason, as they have become one of the biggest players on the transfer market in recent years. This year has been no different, as they have loaded up on talented players who can help them both immediately, and into the 2018-19 season and beyond.

The additions of Johnson (15.8 ppg) and Zouzoua (20.3 ppg) will bolster the offense in 2018-19, and will make the Wolfpack one of the most exciting teams to watch in the country. With departures to key personnel following the 2017-18 season, both will be able to come in and play big roles from the start. Both players were effective from the field last season, shooting above 40% on the year for their respective programs.

Up front, the additions of Pettway (10.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Thurman (13.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg), and Letcher-Ellis (7.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) add depth to a front court that will already feature the Martin twins in 2018-19.

St. John’s transfer Darien Williams is the only player who is immediately eligible for Eric Musselman’s crew this season, and should provide the Wolfpack with a serviceable forward off the bench.


Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Additions: Dwight Coleby*Jared Savage, and Darius Thompson* 

The impact that Rick Stansbury has had on the recruiting trail since taking over at Western Kentucky cannot be understated. The addition of five-star forward Mitchell Robinson garners the bulk of the attention, and for good reason. But, Stansbury’s work and impact on the transfer market deserves just as much attention.

Western Kentucky has added two power conference transfers who bring a wealth of experience with them. Regardless of whether or not they have career years in terms of production, the experience and leadership that both Dwight Coleby and Darius Thompson bring to the table in 2017-18 will be key to the success of the Hilltoppers. Both will be looked upon to help guide the team to a Conference USA crown, while mentoring the younger players on the roster.

Guard Jared Savage originally committed to the Lipscomb Bisons, but reopened his recruitment shortly after. His commitment to the Hilltoppers gives the program a strong scoring guard who is eligible in 2018-19, with two years of eligibility remaining.


NC State Wolfpack

Additions: C.J. BryceSam Hunt*Devon Daniels, and Allerik Freeman*

NC State has had one of the more productive offseasons on the transfers, adding a pair of players who can help them immediately, and another pair who can step in and fill voids in the 2018-19 season.

When C.J. Bryce announced his decision to transfer from the UNC Wilmington Seahawks, it caught many in the basketball world by surprise. However, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when he committed to the Wolfpack, reuniting himself with head coach Kevin Keatts, who left the Seahawks for the vacant position at NC State.

Both Bryce and Devon Daniels, who averaged 9.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season as a freshman for the Utah Utes, will provide a big scoring punch in 2018-19 when they become eligible to play.

For the 2017-18 season, the additions of both Sam Hunt and Al Freeman will add depth to a back court rotation that will be without star freshman Dennis Smith, Jr. Hunt had originally committed to the Pacific Tigers, but reopened his recruitment and joined the Wolfpack shortly thereafter.

Freeman brings a wealth of experience with him from his time with the Baylor Bears. Both will be looked upon to lead the Wolfpack right away, not only in terms of production, but with veteran leadership and experience.


Kansas Jayhawks

Additions: Dedric LawsonKJ LawsonJack Whitman*Charlie Moore. and Sam Cunliffe

The Kansas Jayhawks could also be referred to as Transfer U, as they’ve had a big impact in terms of transfers, much like Nevada has over the last couple of seasons.

In the offseason following the 2016-17 season, the Jayhawks landed arguably the biggest name on the transfer market, and bolstered their front court rotation both immediately, and for the future. Dedric and KJ Lawson both committed to Kansas shortly after transferring from the Memphis Tigers. You can bet that Jayhawks’ fans are excited about the 2018-19 season, even though the 2017-18 year is still over four months away.

Take a look at Dedric’s stat line from last season. Incredible.

19.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.3 spg, 2.1 bpg; 46.1% FG

Jack Whitman will provide some depth to the front court this season. He averaged 10.1 points per game and shot 66.0% from the field last year in limited action for the William & Mary Tribe.

In the back court, Charlie Moore and Sam Cunliffe will give Bill Self a pair of weapons for three years, starting in 2018-19. Both were freshmen a year ago, and put together strong campaigns at the top collegiate level. Cunliffe played in just ten games, but averaged 9.5 points and shot over 40% from three point range.

Kansas and the Arizona State Sun Devils essentially completed a trade in terms of transfers, with Cunliffe going to the Jayhawks and Kansas’ transfer Carlton Bragg, Jr. committing to the Sun Devils.


Seattle University Redhawks

Additions: Richaud Gittens*Matt OwiesJosh Hearlihy*Jordan Hill*Delante Jones, and Dashawn McDowell 

With eyes being focused on the Grand Canyon Antelopes and the New Mexico State Aggies in the WAC as a result of their recent successes, the Seattle University Redhawks have been able to somewhat fly under the radar this offseason. Coach Jim Hayford and company have put together a roster that is full of experience and talent, and that combination could lead them to a WAC crown come March.

Adding graduate transfers in Gittens, Hill, and Hearlihy adds experience to an already talented roster that is headlined by returnees Aaron Menzies and Malik Montoya. Gittens was limited to just six games a season ago with the Weber State Wildcats, but still averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest.

Looking ahead to the 2018-19 season, the addition of Jones, McDowell, and Owies help to add depth to the back court rotation. Jones was one of the top transfers on the market from outside of the power conferences, and is an addition who can help on both ends of the floor. He averaged 11.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season with the American Univ. Eagles.

Whenever you can add a player like Dashawn McDowell, you take a chance and go after him. He didn’t see a ton of minutes as a freshman last year at SMU, but he has the potential to be a breakout star in year two.

Look for Seattle to make some serious noise over the next two seasons in the WAC.


California Baptist Lancers

Additions: Jeremy Lieberman*Matt Hubbard*Zach Pirog*, and Gabe Taylor*

It’s rare to consider a non-Division I team a ‘winner’ on the transfer market, but with the Lancers set to make the jump to the Division I level for the 2018-19 season, the success they’ve had on the transfer market this season cannot be understated.

While the only player who could be around in 2018-19 when the Lancers make the jump is Zach Pirog, the fact that they are able to attract Division I-caliber players is a big boost to them moving forwards.

Gabe Taylor finished third in scoring for the Portland Pilots last season, averaging 11.6 points per contest. Jeremy Lieberman and Matt Hubbard bring veteran experience and leadership to a team who will be looking to see what it takes to play at the top level.

They added pieces that can help them across the floor, with Pirog plugging the middle, while Lieberman, Taylor, and Hubbard patrolling the back court. The fact that Division I players want to play for the Lancers will do big things for the program as they look to build a roster that remains competitive at the top level for years to come.

The recruiting class for California Baptist would have been stronger, but Mikey Henn reopened his recruitment earlier in the week.

* identifies players who are immediately eligible in 2017-18

– T. Bennett