Men’s college basketball transfer scoreboard

Welcome back to our ongoing analysis of a key issue in our transfer-focused era. How important have transfers been—whether due to addition or subtraction—to each program at the seven major Division I conferences?

Last week we considered the Grand Orient. Then it’s the Big 12’s turn.

Note that we define a “transfer” as someone who actually played minutes earlier on a program other than four years. On the other hand, a “transfer out” is simply a player who has seen time on the Big 12 program in question.

Understood? Here are the 12 most significant transfers of the modern era.

Best transfer in: Davion Mitchell, 2019-21

Mitchell’s defensive excellence was succinctly captured by his nickname: “Off Night”, as in what the player he’s defending is about to experience. He acquired that reputation at Baylor after coming off Bruce Pearl’s bench for a stint at Auburn. As a junior, Mitchell was named Naismith’s Defensive Player of the Year in Division I as the Bears marched to a 28-2 record and the 2021 national title. He was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 9th pick in that summer’s draft.

Most Significant Transfer: Allerik Freeman, 2014-17

For some reason, Scott Drew hasn’t seen a large or average number of transfers leaving Baylor over the years. Freeman was an exception to this rule. He started 57 games in three seasons before transferring to NC State in his senior year. Then again, if we go back in time, we find former Bears teammates John Lucas III (see below) and Lawrence Roberts. After leaving Waco in 2003, Lucas and Roberts won the 2004 conference player of the year award in Oklahoma State and Mississippi State, respectively.

Best transfer in: DeAndre Kane, 2013-14

Kane earns that distinction for a nose over a veritable bevy of ISU in-transfers and fellow All-Big 12 first-team mates like Marial Shayok (2019) and most recently Izaiah Brockington (2022). In fact, Kane would have been an excellent choice as the 2014 Big 12 Player of the Year if that award hadn’t been won by teammate Melvin Ejim. A former Marshall star, Kane made 17 per game for the ISU, averaging nine free-throw attempts per competition.

Most significant departure: Wes Johnson, 2006-08

Over the years, Iowa State has built a well-deserved reputation for importing shipments in bulk and rarely exporting them. To be sure, the list of cyclones that have been transferred is extremely short. Johnson is at the top of this select group. After recording 700 points over two seasons with the Cyclones, Johnson earned first-team All-American honors as the top scorer for a Syracuse No. 1 team in 2010.

Best transfer in: Dedric Lawson, 2018-19

Lawson played a single season at Kansas after transferring from Memphis. Unfortunately for Lawson, that was the year KU was eliminated by Auburn 89-75 in the round of 16. However, the All-Big 12 first-team selection had an excellent tournament, recording 50 points, 21 rebounds, and 11-of-11 shooting across the line in two games.

Most significant departure: JR Giddens, 2003-05

It’s been a while since Giddens played for the Jayhawks, and that in itself says something. Bill Self-era KU didn’t send many transfers to the rest of DI. Giddens went against the grain by moving to New Mexico after two seasons at Lawrence. He ranked first on the Lobos list in points, rebounds, steals and blocks in 2008.

Best transfer in: Denis Clemente, 2008-10

While his K-State teammate and UConn transfer Curtis Kelly was perhaps the biggest name of the 2009-10 season, Clemente averaged 17 per game as the second leading scorer behind Jacob Pullen, while the Wildcats were up to the Elite Eight. Clemente reached this peak after a 30-36 run over two seasons in Miami.

Most significant departure: Marcus Foster, 2013-15

Foster was the focal point of K-State’s offense during the first two seasons of his college career. He then continued in that role for another two years at Creighton. When he was a senior, Foster was hitting 41% of his 3s and connecting 54% of the time inside the arc as a two-time All-Big East first-team honoree.

Best transfer in: Romero Osby, 2011-13

Osby scored on the paint, wiped the glass, defended the rim and drew a prodigious number of free kicks as he earned All-Big 12 first-team honors in 2013. The season was a fitting final act for one of the top 50 national recruits who spent his first two seasons coming off the bench in support of Jarvis Varnado in the state of Mississippi.

Most significant departure: Brady Manek, 2017-21

Manek’s 3-point shot was a key ingredient in North Carolina’s run to the 2022 national title game. In fact, his presence was so vital that the Tar Heels nearly opened a 25-point lead over Baylor in the round of 16. final, after Manek was sent off at the start of the second half. The Sooners’ four-year starter is just one example of an unlikely but unmistakable OU-to-ACC pipeline: Alons Williams excelled at Wake Forest last season, while Kameron McGusty reached the Elite Eight in Miami.

Best transfer in: John Lucas III, 2003-05

Lucas hit 41% off the arc and 90% on the line over two seasons at OSU following the Baylor transfer. The Cowboys took second place in the NCAA tournament each season with Lucas and reached the Elite Eight in 2004. That was also the year he was named the AP Big 12 Player of the Year. at the end of the year with transfers such as Lucas, Joey Graham (UCF) and Mario Boggan (Florida).

Most Significant Exit: Tyree Griffin, 2014-16

Griffin was a 5-foot point guard who came off the bench as a rookie and then played alongside or behind Jawun Evans in his sophomore year. At that point, he opted to transfer to Southern Miss, where he started every game over two seasons and led the Golden Eagles in scoring in 2019.

Best transfer in: Timmy Allen, 2021-22

Allen was the only Longhorn to start all 34 games in 2021-22, a feat he accomplished after winning the first-team All-Pac-12 award in Utah in 2021. His 26-10 double-double in West Virginia in late February was just enough to give Texas a crucial one-point victory. In a rotation that featured balanced workloads on offense and no shortage of transfers, Allen ranked top scorer with 12 points per game.

Most Significant Exit: Sheldon McClellan, 2011-13

McClellan was an occasional starter and frequent pitcher over two seasons in Texas before transferring to Miami. He remained assertive in the attack with the Hurricanes, and over time, those shots began to fall. In 2016, McClellan converted 41% of his 3s and 57% of his 2s when UM won the third seed and advanced to the Sweet 16.

Best transfer in: Kevin Langford, 2006-09

Langford was the TCU’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons after transferring from Cal to his hometown of Fort Worth. As a veteran in 2008-09, he hit 77% at the baseline while drawing nearly seven fouls every 40 minutes.

Most significant departure: Kevin Samuel, 2018-21

Samuel formed the inside half of an effective inside-out duo with Tavian Dunn-Martin at the Florida Gulf Coast last season. The 6-foot-11 veteran converted 64% of his 2s and topped the A-Sun by blocking percentage. Samuel dominated the paint for the Eagles after starting every game over three seasons with the Horned Frogs.

Best transfer in: Bryson Williams, 2021-22

Williams was one of two unanimous All-Big 12 selections last season. (The other was Ochai Agbaji.) In a Red Raiders rotation packed with transfers and famous for his defense, it was Williams who stood out as a highly efficient scorer. It was a role he had previously held for both Fresno State and UTEP.

Most Significant Transfer: Dusty Hannahs, 2012-14

Hannahs made 27 starts and averaged about seven points per competition over two seasons at Texas Tech. Although he kept alternating between starting and coming off the bench at Arkansas, his score has jumped to 15 per game over the past two years. As a senior, Hannahs joined Jaylen Barford and Moses Kingsley in a Razorbacks rotation that hung with the eventual national champion North Carolina before dropping out in the round of 32.

Best transfer on: Mike Gansey, 2004-06

Gansey joined Kevin Pittsnogle on the remarkably efficient John Beilein-era teams that reached the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in consecutive years. As a veteran, Gansey hit 66% of his 2s and 43% of his 3s, putting him in the top 10 nationally by effective field goal percentage. His two seasons as a climber extended a four-year streak of impeccable shooting accuracy that began in St. Bonaventure.

Most Significant Exit: Oscar Tshiebwe, 2019-21

Tshiebwe took home the Wooden and Naismith awards in 2022 after averaging 17-15 double-doubles in an entire season for Kentucky. The 6-foot-1 junior’s rebound was phenomenal, but not necessarily surprising for anyone who’s seen him play 41 games in two seasons at West Virginia. As a rookie in 2020, Tshiebwe ranked first in the country on KenPom in offensive rebound percentage.

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