A national champion for the 2022-23 college basketball season has not been decided, but most programs around the country have already flipped the page to the 2023-24 season. The transfer portal window for Division I men’s basketball players opened March 13, which marked the beginning of what has become an annual flood of roster movement around the country.
Already we’ve seen significant moves made as Louisville acted quickly to address a position of need following a lackluster start to coach Kenny Payne’s tenure. The Cardinals snagged guard Skyy Clark from Illinois after the former top-40 prospect left the Illini in January for personal reasons. Clark played in just 13 games as a freshman but has the tools needed to be a difference maker. For programs like Louisville, which finished 4-28, the transfer portal represents hope.
Now, more than ever before in college basketball, it is possible to flip the fortunes of a program within a single offseason if the right players are brought in through the portal. Hundreds of players have already entered their names and hundreds more are likely to follow in the weeks ahead. Players have until May 11 to enter the portal, though they can wait longer than that to announce their next school.
Here at CBS Sports, we have distilled the massive number of transfers to a handful of names to know. For starters, here are the top 10 players in the portal as of March 21.
Note: This ranking will be updated after the Elite Eight.
1. Skyy ClarkOld school: Illinois | New school: Louisville
Clark played in 13 games for Illinois — starting 12 of them — before announcing in January that he was stepping away from the program for personal reasons. Now, the former top-40 prospect is headed to Louisville, where he’ll likely be the primary ball-handler. The Cardinals had no help for point guard El Ellis in Kenny Payne’s first season as coach, and landing Clark is a good start for the program in terms of fielding a competent backcourt.
2. J.J. StarlingOld school: Notre Dame | New school: Syracuse
Starling averaged 11.2 points per game as a freshman at Notre Dame after ranking as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2022. The 6-4 guard will be staying in the ACC as he heads to Syracuse, where he will play a major role under first-year coach Adrian Autry. One obvious improvement opportunity for Starling is 3-point shooting after he made just shot just 29.9% of his attempts from beyond the arc as a freshman.
3. Jamison BattleOld school: Minnesota
Battle is a 6-7 forward who averaged 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds on 36.6% 3-point shooting in 2021-22 for Minnesota. But his shooting percentage and overall production dropped this past season as the Gophers continued to struggle. Ultimately, he is a versatile and experienced forward with a demonstrated track record of Big Ten production. On an NCAA Tournament team, his ceiling would likely be as a solid role player.
4. Fardaws AimaqOld school: Texas Tech
Aimaq is the former WAC Player of the Year at Utah Valley who transferred to Texas Tech last season but played in just 11 games because of injuries. In that limited action, the 6-11 center averaged 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds, which demonstrated that he can be productive in a rugged league. Aimaq is a serviceable rim protector and has shown the ability to step out and make 3-pointers over the past two seasons.
5. Jared BynumOld school: Providence
Bynum is an undersized but battle-tested guard after playing heavy minutes at Providence the last three years. He’s just a career 33% 3-point shooter but averaged 4.3 assists this past season against just 1.6 turnovers. He also made 83.1% of his free throws in 2022-23, which is a nice characteristic for a point guard.
6. Rienk MastOld school: Bradley
Mast averaged 13.8 points, eight rebounds and 2.4 assists for a Bradley squad that won the Missouri Valley regular season title before falling one game short of reaching the NCAA Tournament. At 6-9, he is not much of a rim protector, but he can step out and hit 3-pointers. The Netherlands native should have two seasons of eligibility and has the tools to challenge for a starting spot at a power conference program.
7. Noah FernandesOld school: UMass
Fernandes made 45.2% of his 3-pointers and 50% of his 2-pointers while averaging 4.1 assists in 11 games for UMass before injuries ended his 2022-23 season. The 5-11 point guard was similarly productive for the Minutemen in 2021-22 and is capable of making an impact for an NCAA Tournament caliber team.
8. Graham IkeOld school: Wyoming
Ike led a 25-9 Wyoming team in scoring and rebounding during the 2021-22 season with 19.5 points and 9.6 rebounds before missing the 2022-23 season due to injury. If the 6-9 big man can return close to 100%, he could be a multi-year contributor for a NCAA Tournament team. While his sheer production jumps off the page, Ike does have limitations since he is not a shot blocker or an outside shooting threat.
9. Walter Clayton Jr.Old school: Iona
Clayton won MAAC Player of the Year while leading Iona in scoring and helping the Gaels to an NCAA Tournament appearance as a sophomore. The 6-2 guard hit 43.1% of his 3-pointers on 5.2 attempts per game and also averaged 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals. He has the makings of a high-major contributor.
10. Jae’Lyn WithersOld school: Louisville
Somewhere inside the 6-8, 230-pound frame of Withers is an excellent college basketball player and maybe even an NBA prospect. The former four-star prospect earned ACC All-Freshman honors in 2020-21 for a respectable Cardinals’ squad before regressing offensively over the past two seasons amid chaos within the program. Withers ranked as Louisville’s best defender this season, per evanmiya.com, and the right coach will be able to build off the potential Withers showed earlier in his career.
Source : CBS Sports