7 men’s college basketball transfer portal winners so far

The college basketball landscape is currently unrecognizable from even a few years ago. The days of building a program through targeting recruits out of high school and developing them over the course of four years are all but over. In the transfer portal era, teams need to be able to reload each offseason with every player in the sport able to become a free agent once the season is over.

There are still some programs who do it the old school way. Purdue has not yet added a player in the transfer portal, though it did lose a big piece with Mason Gillis transferring to Duke. Tony Bennett and Virginia haven’t added a transfer portal piece yet, and Tom Izzo and Michigan State finally broke a long transfer drought by making Frankie Fiddler their lone addition.

For everyone else, there’s two priorities once the season ends: retaining your own players, and adding new talent that comes available in the portal. With 1,182 players reportedly hitting the men’s portal this year, there was a lot of talent up for grabs. With the portal now closed for entrants, here are the teams that improved the most via transfers so far.

Indiana Hoosiers

Additions: center Oumar Ballo (Arizona), guard Kanaan Carlyle (Stanford), guard Myles Rice (Washington State), wing Luke Goode (Illinois)

We’ve covered Indiana’s portal class extensively already, but it’s worth identifying as one of the best in college hoops. The Hoosiers missed the tournament this past season, and that shouldn’t happen again in 2025 with their roster additions. Oumar Ballo is a proven and productive veteran big man who reportedly commanded a $1.2 million payment. Kanaan Carlyle and Myles Rice are major talent infusions for the guard room, while Luke Goode adds some sorely-needed shooting on the wing. It’s possible Indiana is still a little light on shooting, but in general this roster is much stronger after the portal.

NC State v Duke

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Missouri Tigers

Additions: forward Mark Mitchell (Duke), guard Tony Perkins (Iowa), guard Marques Warrick (Northern Kentucky), forward Jacob Crews (UT Martin)

Missouri was really good in head coach Dennis Gates’ first season in 2023, going 25-10 and winning a game in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers totally fell apart last year, losing 22 of their final 23 games (!) to finish as one of the most disappointing teams in America. Gates hit the portal hard in hopes of a bounce-back season in 2024-25, and he came away with some serious talent. Mark Mitchell was squeezed out at Duke by future No. 1 overall NBA pick Cooper Flagg, but he’s a 6’9 athletic forward who can attack the glass, score inside, and take on tough defensive assignments. Perkins is an experienced guard from Iowa who can blend scoring and playmaking and hound the ball defensively. Warrick and Crews are interesting bets on low-major stars: Warrick can create his own shot but struggles to hit threes, while Crews is a three-point sniper at 6’8. Gates didn’t just land a lot of talent — he also got guys who should fit together well.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Additions: guard Kylan Boswell (Arizona), C/PF Carey Booth (Notre Dame), forward Ben Humrichous (Evansville), wing Tre White (Louisville), guard Jake Davis (Mercer)

Illinois lost practically their whole roster to graduation from an Elite Eight team, but the program did well to recruit to the identity it formed this past year with its portal additions. Champaign native Kylan Boswell is the big grab after two solid seasons at Arizona as a 3-and-D style lead guard. Carey Booth — son of former NBA player Calvin Booth — is a 6’10 big man who can knock down a three-pointer and keep the team’s 5-out style alive. Humrichous is a 6’9 knockdown shooter and versatile offensive weapon who could follow in Marcus Domask’s shoes by going from a low major star to Big Ten standout. White is a 6’7 forward with good scoring instincts, and Davis is a 6’6 guard who can shoot. Illinois lost a ton of talent, but this should still be a tournament team after rebounding nicely in the portal.

Kentucky Wildcats

Additions: center Brandon Garrison (Oklahoma State), guard Kerr Kriisa (West Virginia), guard Lamont Butler (San Diego State), forward Andrew Carr (Wake Forest), big man Amari Williams (Drexel), guard Koby Brea (Dayton), wing Otega Oweh (Oklahoma)

New head coach Mark Pope had to rebuild the entire roster once John Calipari and his prized recruiting class bolted for Arkansas. He’s done well to get the Wildcats size, shooting, and experience to build a team that should be competitive at the top of the SEC. Garrison is one of my favorite portal additions, and probably the closest thing on this roster to an NBA prospect. The athletic big man is really good off rolls and cuts around the rim, and will also provide a significant defensive presence on the backline. Brea is a deadeye three-point shooter who picked Kentucky over the other bluebloods, Oweh is a solid wing in the 3-and-D mold, Williams is an enforcer defensively down low, and Kriisa and Butler are experienced guards who have played big minutes for big programs. The pieces seem to fit pretty well here, and the talent level is still high even without the obvious future NBA stars Calipari would annually bring in.


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UCLA Bruins

Additions: wing Kobe Johnson (USC), guard Skyy Clark (Louisville), forward Eric Dailey Jr. (Oklahoma State), forward Tyler Bilodeau (Oregon State), forward William Kyle III (South Dakota State), guard Dominick Harris (Loyola Marymount)

UCLA had to replace some big stars like Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell going into this past season, and they showed how hard that can be. After a disappointing 16-17 campaign, head coach Mick Cronin had to hit the portal hard. So far, so good. Kobe Johnson stays in Southern California as an athletic wing who can attack the basket, defend, and make plays in transition. Skyy Clark can be a rollercoaster as a lead guard, but his shot creation will be helpful when the offense bogs down in the halfcourt. Eric Dailey Jr. was a super productive freshman who adds size and scoring punch to the front court. Williams Kyle III dunked everything inside all year as a freshman for South Dakota State, and should be a major lob threat. UCLA also did well to retain players like Sebastian Mack, Dylan Andrews, Lazar Stefanovic, and Aday Mara. If Adem Bona decides to spurn the NBA for one more year in college, then UCLA will really be cooking.

Kansas Jayhawks

Additions: guard Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State), guard Riley Kugel (Florida), wing AJ Storr (Wisconsin), wing Rylan Griffen (Alabama)

Bill Self admitted that he was thinking about next season during an injury-plagued Jayhawks campaign this past year that fell way short of the hype. After retaining many of his top players and adding more talent in the transfer portal, Kansas should reassume its place as one of top programs in the country. Self was able to convince Hunter Dickinson, Dajuan Harris, KJ Adams, and Elmarko Jackson to return. Mayo will join the group as a slippery scoring guard who can get buckets from all three levels. Storr can be a takeover wing scorer at his best who struggled with his efficiency at times last year. Griffen potentially has an NBA future as a 3-and-D style wing down the line, while Kugel is a big guard with elite athleticism. Add in five-star pogo stick big man Flory Bidunga, and Kansas’ roster can match anyone’s on talent alone. The real intrigue is how it all fits together.

Memphis Tigers

Additions: guard Tyrese Hunter (Texas), guard PJ Haggerty (Tulsa), guard Colby Rogers (Wichita State), center Dain Dainja (Illinois), guard Baraka Okojie (George Mason)

The early excitement of the Penny Hardaway era has all but dissipated at this point, and the coach could really use a return to the NCAA tournament after missing it with a 22-10 team last year. Hardaway has been able to build quality rosters since he arrived, and next season will be no different. Tyrese Hunter was one of the best point guards in the portal, and should be this team’s biggest star next year. PJ Haggerty was a breakout scoring guard for Tulsa who can also get his teammates involved. Dainja is a strong big man who can battle for rebounds and buckets below the rim, but doesn’t offer much defensive versatility. Star forward David Jones is currently testing the NBA Draft waters, and would be a perfect final addition if he decides to come back to school.

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