Dribble Handoff: Kevin McCullar, Tyrese Hunter amongst picks for faculty basketball’s high influence switch

The dedication of former Memphis guard Emoni Bates to Jap Michigan final week unofficially closed the e-book on faculty basketball’s 2022 switch cycle. Whereas there are nonetheless a handful of gamers within the portal who determine to land at Division I faculties subsequent season, almost all the transfers with the potential to be difference-makers have introduced their locations.

As rosters for the 2022-23 season inch nearer to changing into finalized, some winners and losers from switch portal season have emerged from a staff perspective. However which people will take advantage of noise on faculty basketball’s nationwide scene as transfers?

It may be laborious to mission as a result of final season confirmed us that gamers can seem from the weeds to grow to be stars as soon as they’re in new environments. Look no additional than Alondes Williams and Jake LaRavia, who earned All-ACC honors whereas serving to enhance Wake Forest from 6-16 in coach Steve Forbes’ first season to 25-10 throughout his second season in 2021-22. Each had been transfers who considerably outperformed affordable expectations primarily based on their manufacturing at earlier faculties.

Provided that there are greater than 1,700 Division I gamers who entered the portal this offseason, it is value looking for out a wide range of opinions on which switch will make the largest splash this 12 months. So for this week’s version of the Dribble Handoff, our staff of writers are every making their decide for who will probably be faculty basketball’s most impactful switch within the season forward.

Malachi Smith

Smith won’t be the very best participant who transferred from one faculty to a different this offseason, however he may undoubtedly be essentially the most impactful contemplating he is the piece that helped Gonzaga grow to be the favourite in betting markets to win the 2023 NCAA Event. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 19.9 factors, 6.7 rebounds and three.0 assists final season at Chattanooga whereas incomes Southern Convention Participant of the 12 months honors. Additionally value noting: He shot 40.7% from 3-point vary. So Smith is an skilled and completed playmaker and shooter who can deal with any backcourt spot, on or off the ball. He would possibly begin. He would possibly come off the bench. Both manner, Smith is one other weapon for Mark Few’s program that’s as soon as once more loaded with high-level expertise. The Zags will enter the season ranked No. 1 within the High 25 And 1 and thus have a respectable shot to be the No. 1 general seed within the NCAA Event for the third straight 12 months. In the event that they do it, after which finally cuts nets on the primary Monday in April, the guess right here is that Smith will probably be a significant a part of it. — Gary Parrish

Kevin McCullar

Objectively and cosmetically, McCullar simply ranks among the many 10 most spectacular and high-profile gamers going from one staff to a different in 2022. However if you would like to be extra particular and nuanced, the Texas-Tech-to-Kansas shifter ranks third in’s database of superior statistics for all Division I males’s basketball transfers this offseason. When McCullar opted to not chase a professional profession, it amounted to a tasty intra-conference coup for Invoice Self’s Jayhawks. Fairly the get for the reigning nationwide champions. McCullar simply may have put up greater numbers final season if he was on a staff extra suited to his offensive expertise (that stated, Texas Tech unquestionably introduced out his greatest on the defensive facet, which turned him right into a cream-of-the-crop switch). 

McCullar averaged 10.6 factors, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals for a staff that made the Elite Eight and completed seventh at KenPom. At 6-6 and almost 215 kilos, McCullar was second on the staff in help price. He and Bryson Williams had been Texas Tech’s premier switchable defenders. Now McCullar’s going to a Kansas staff that should retool after dropping lottery decide Ochai Agbaji, top-25 NBA decide Christian Braun, true Closing 4 MVP David McCormack (Agbaji gained it, however actual ones know who deserved it) and outward-bound senior Remy Martin. Kansas has must fill. Count on McCullar’s numbers to enhance nearly throughout the board as a senior, that means he’ll fairly seemingly be a top-10 all-around participant within the Massive 12 for a second straight season however in a different-colored uni. — Matt Norlander

Tyrese Hunter

Texas wanted to fortify its backcourt by including extra playmaking whereas additionally doubling down on what has made Chris Beard such a profitable head coach: protection. In Tyrese Hunter, the Longhorns bought a mixture of each. Win-win. Hunter gained Massive 12 Freshman of the 12 months honors with Iowa State final season whereas statistically score out as one of many 5 greatest guard defenders within the league. He is an in-your-face menace on that finish of the ground who brings a winner’s mentality to the desk as a swiss-army knife kind of weapon.  

“Tyrese is all character, all toughness, winner,” his now former coach, T.J. Otzelberger, stated final season. “He has a lot pleasure in how he performs. He cares a lot about his teammates. I do know that any adversity that he has, he’ll bounce again higher for it. Actually, I am unsure that there is been gamers I can depend on that I have been lucky to educate that bounce again shortly to the following play to the diploma that he does.”

Hunter’s bought the products to enhance markedly as an initiator, too. He was seventh within the Massive 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio — and the one freshman to rank inside the highest 12 of that class. That will probably be the place his presence is instantly felt on a Texas staff that had just one participant — returning guard Marcus Carr — common greater than 2.1 assists per sport. The combo of Hunter’s superior defensive prowess in addition to his savvy passing and playmaking may remodel Texas in an enormous manner. — Kyle Boone

Kendric Davis

After reaching the NCAA Event for the primary time since 2014 and dropping a detailed sport to No. 1 general seed Gonzaga within the second spherical, Memphis goes with a distinct roster administration strategy coming into the 2022-23 season. As an alternative of loading up on freshmen — there are none coming in — fifth-year coach Penny Hardaway hit the switch portal to herald veterans, and Davis is the crown jewel of his haul. The three-time All-AAC performer and reigning convention participant of the 12 months is coming over from SMU after main the league in scoring final season.

As a fifth-year senior and the apparent facilitator for a program that has struggled to search out high quality play from a lead guard since Hardaway’s first season, Davis could have the possibility to make Memphis extra constant within the 2022-23 season. So far, Hardaway’s tenure has been marred by some dud performances usually created by this system’s ugly turnover price and reliance on younger expertise. Having an elite guard like Davis with 112 video games of collegiate expertise operating the present ought to assist change that.

This may not be Hardaway’s most-talented staff on paper. However it will likely be his oldest rotation but, and Davis is the kind of participant who can push a proud program nearer to the place it believes it must be: enjoying past the primary weekend of the NCAA Event. — David Cobb

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