College basketball’s transfer portal isn’t officially closed since graduate transfers can still enter and be eligible next season. But with the May 11 deadline for non-graduates to enter and play next season having passed, portal season has slowed down dramatically.
A few players are in the portal and exploring the NBA Draft simultaneously, such as Creighton forward Arthur Kaluma and Tennessee wing Julian Phillips. Then, there is the case of former North Carolina guard Caleb Love, who initially committed to Michigan but is back on the market after complications with admissions kept him from joining the Wolverines.
But, by and large, the big-name transfers have committed to their new schools. Of the 50 players in the CBS Sports Transfer Rankings, 41 are committed, including each of the top 10. Those rankings are merely the view of one writer, however, and do not represent a consensus view of which players will be most impactful next season.
So, for this week’s edition of the Dribble Handoff, our writers are debating the most impactful transfer of the offseason. Since former Michigan and future Kansas center Hunter Dickinson is a somewhat obvious choice, we have authorized our team to bend the criteria in whatever means necessary to come up with different answers to the question.
Hunter Dickinson, Kansas
I realize we’ve been authorized to “bend the criteria” to make a variety of answers work here, but the obvious answer to the question asked is Hunter Dickinson, a statistical monster and former All-American who should star for the team ranked first in my Top 25 And 1. Barring injuries, of course, there’s just no way to reasonably assume DIckinson won’t be anything other than awesome at KU while playing for a coach in Bill Self who understands better than most, if not better than all, how to maximize traditional bigs.
Will Dickinson average 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds like he did last season at Michigan?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way, he’s likely going to be the leading scorer and rebounder for a team that looks good enough on paper to help Self secure what would be a third national championship. In fact, if somebody posted current odds on the favorite to be the Most Outstanding Player of the 2024 Final Four, my guess is that Dickinson would have to be right at the top of the list. — Gary Parrish
Cobb has Nembhard sixth on his transfer big board, but it would not shock me in the least if we check in on college hoops come Valentine’s Day and see Nembhard as the most valuable new face in a new place. Keep in mind that Gonzaga’s losing Drew Timme (a top-three player in program history) in addition Rasir Bolton and Hunter Sallis. And it’s looking like Julian Strawther is going to keep his name in the draft as well, given the likelihood he’ll hear his name picked. All of these departures set up Gonzaga to have one of its lesser-hyped seasons in recent memory.
Nembhard coming in changes the calculus. It was a surprise to see him leave Creighton, but it does make sense in a grander scheme. After all, Gonzaga is where older brother Andrew went after transferring from Florida. Now he’s in the NBA. Ryan is seeking a similar trajectory. He’s a terrific college point guard, and I’m expecting a stat line along the lines of 15.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds on better than 45% shooting. That would be his best season, statistically, to date. It would also go a long way to keeping Gonzaga in the top 10-15 of next season’s landscape. — Matt Norlander
Under coach Jerome Tang, small-but-mighty lead guard Markquis Nowell blossomed into a star in the Big 12. Tylor Perry appears next in line to inherit the throne in Manhattan, Kansas. With Nowell gone, he steps into a spot at K-State where he will immediately command touches. The reigning Conference USA Player of the Year averaged 17.3 points and 2.1 assists per game while hitting 41.3% of his 3s last season, and the leap into the toughest league in college hoops should be no issue for him as he aims to pick up where he left off as one of the sport’s hidden (but not for long) superstars. — Kyle Boone
In his first several weeks on the job, new St. John’s coach Rick Pitino secured commitments from a lot of *guys* for his 2023-24 roster. But the Red Storm didn’t have any certified *dudes* until Dingle announced his commitment to the Red Storm on May 12 following three standout seasons at Penn. The 6-foot-3 guard won Ivy League Player of the Year while averaging a league-best 23.4 points per game for a good team. Dingle is incredibly efficient for a high-volume player and has an elite track record of quality performance from Penn’s games against high-major competition.
In the grand scheme of the sport, someone like Dickinson is more likely to have a bigger national impact next season simply because Kansas is more likely to compete for a national title than St. John’s. But the Jayhawks likely would have been elite even without Dickinson. For St. John’s, landing Dingle could wind up being the difference between the NIT and the NCAA Tournament.
There are innumerable moving parts at St. John’s and establishing an offensive hierarchy is never easy with so many transfers. But Dingle looks like the type of player who can shoulder a heavy offensive load and help make St. John’s nationally relevant during Pitino’s first season back in the Big East. — David Cobb