Ranking college basketball’s top committed transfers: UNC’s Garrison Brooks heads to Mississippi State

Former North Carolina forward Garrison Brooks announced Thursday that he is transferring to Mississippi State for a fifth season of college basketball following four seasons with the Tar Heels. Brooks should be a tremendous help for a Bulldogs team that will be seeking its first NCAA Tournament victory under seventh-year head coach Ben Howland. 

Brooks averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds for UNC in the 2019-20 season while earning the ACC’s Most Improved Player award. He was voted the league’s preseason player of the year before the 2020-21 season but struggled to replicate his productivity as a senior in a crowded UNC frontcourt. But he should be a focal point of the offense at Mississippi State, where his father George is an assistant coach.

New players are entering the portal each day and others are choosing their new homes, and Brooks is just the latest who figures to make a major impact in a new destination. Keeping track of all the action is a headache for college coaches whose full-time jobs are devoted largely to roster management. But for common fans, keeping tabs on all the moves can be nearly impossible. For the sake of simplifying that task, we have compiled a list here of the sport’s top committed transfers.

These rankings are shifting and expanding over time to accommodate new commitments and unintentional omissions from a crop of well over 1,000 Division I players who are on the move. But for now, here’s a glance at how things at the top transfers who have committed to new schools for the 2021-22 season.

1. Walker Kessler

Old school: North Carolina | New school: Auburn

Kessler got off to a slow start at UNC due to COVID-19 protocols that put him behind a few other high-quality bigs in the rotation. But once Kessler got a chance to shine late in the season, it became clear why he was ranked the No. 22 overall prospect in the Class of 2020 in the 247Sports Composite. For example, the 7-footer scored 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting in a season-high 24 minutes during a win over Florida State on Feb. 27. There is a college basketball star — and potential future NBA player — waiting to blossom inside that lanky frame at Auburn.

Old school: Georgetown | New school: Maryland

Wahab was a key force in Georgetown’s run through the Big East Tournament as he began playing the best basketball of his two-year college career. Now Wahab and his 6-11 frame are headed to a Maryland team that was clearly undersized last season.

Old school: California | New school: San Diego State

Bradley is a bucket-getter who is built like a linebacker. He has been filling up box scores in the Pac-12 for three seasons with a career 3-point shooting percentage of 40.2% and also uses his physicality to reach the free-throw line with regularity.

4. Timmy Allen

Old school: Utah | New school: Texas

Allen is a first-team All-Pac-12 performer who has been a steady scorer and rebounder in 82 career starts for the Utes. The 6-6 forward also averaged 3.9 assists per game this past season. At his height, he needs to develop a better outside shot in order to increase his NBA appeal. In the meantime, he’ll be a key player wherever he lands.

Old schoolNorth Carolina | New school: Mississippi State

Brooks had a disappointing 2020-21 season after he was a force in the 2019-20 season. But the 6-10 forward will have a great chance to be an all-SEC performer during his super senior season at Mississippi State. His father is an assistant coach, and Brooks should help elevate the Bulldogs after they finished 8-10 in the SEC this season.

6. Myreon Jones

Old school: Penn State | New school: Florida

Jones led Penn State in scoring this past season as a junior and is a career 37.6% 3-point shooter who takes good care of the basketball. He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention who will be tasked with helping replace the production of Tre Mann.

7. Liam Robbins

Old school: Minnesota | New school: Vanderbilt

Robbins began his college career at Drake in the midst of a physical transformation that saw him evolve from pudgy, unranked prospect into something of an interesting project for a mid-major school. By the end of his sophomore year with the Bulldogs, he was one of the best players in the Missouri Valley Conference. He dealt with foul trouble and a nagging ankle injury with Minnesota this past season, but his game translated well to the Big Ten when he was on the court. Though already 22, Robbins will have two season of eligibility remaining.

Old school: ECU | New school: Virginia

Gardner is a 6-7 forward who averaged 18 points per game in three seasons at ECU while working almost exclusively inside the arc. He’s also a good rebounder who should be able to produce at a high level in a tougher conference.

Old school: Pittsburgh | New school: Indiana

Indiana is getting a player who has averaged 13.7 points, 4.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game during 81 career starts at an ACC school. Johnson is only a career 33.6% outside shooter and has been turnover-prone. But he grew as a distributor this season, and if first-year Indiana coach Mike Woodson can cast him in the correct role, he will be a valuable contributor for the Hoosiers next season.

10. Earl Timberlake

Old school: Miami | New school: Memphis

Timberlake played only seven games for Miami as a freshman after arriving as the No. 35 player in the 2020 class. First, he was slowed by an ankle injury, and then he was ruled out for the season in February due to a shoulder injury. If he can regain his physical form, Timberlake should be a starter for a Memphis team with with NCAA Tournament aspirations in coach Penny Hardaway’s fourth season.

Old school: South Dakota | New school: Arkansas

Umude racked up more than 1,500 points in his four-year South Dakota career and averaged 21.5 points this season. That was second in the Summit League behind Oral Roberts star Max Abmas. Deciphering how Umude’s prolific offensive numbers would translate to a power conference is tricky since he’s just a career 34.2% 3-point shooter. However, his 6-6 frame, quality rebounding and eye-catching production from this past season are tough to ignore. Plus, Arkansas coach Eric Musselman knows what he’s doing in the transfer game.

Old school: Kansas City | New school: Florida

McKissic led Kansas Cityin scoring at 17.2 points per game this season, but defense is actually his calling card. The 6-3 guard was the Summit League’s Defensive Player of the Year. Not bad for a player who also hit 42.9% of his 3-point attempts.

13. Kadary Richmond

Old school: Syracuse | New school: Seton Hall

Richmond played solid two-way basketball off the bench for Syracuse as a freshman after entering as a top-100 prospect in the Class of 2020. The 6-5 wing possesses great upside and will be a force for Seton Hall if his 3-point shot continues to develop.

Old school: Miami | New school: Arkansas

Lykes played just two games in the 2020-21 season as he battled an ankle injury. But the 5-7 guard has a 92-game body of work from Miami that suggests he’ll transition to the SEC with no problem. Lykes averaged 16.2 points as a sophomore and 15.4 as a junior while improving his 3-point shooting from 31.8% to 38.1%.

Old school: Northeastern | New school: Michigan State

The CAA Defensive Player of the Year was an offensive star for Northeastern as well. His two-way game and distributing ability ought to make him a starter for the Spartans next season.

Old school: Davidson | New school: Kentucky

Grady became the sixth player in Davidson history to reach the 2,000 point mark this season The 6-6 guard is a career 36.6% 3-point shooter on 656 attempts, and he shot a career-best 38.2% on a career-high 6.9 attempts this season. Kentucky needs more shooting, and Grady should be able to provide some.

17. Nimari Burnett

Old school: Texas Tech | New school: Alabama

Burnett came to Texas Tech as the No. 34 overall player in the 2020 recruiting class but left in January after just 12 games. The 6-4 guard didn’t do much in the 17.7 minutes per game he played with the Red Raiders, but his status as a former McDonald’s All-American suggests he could still develop into a great college player.

Oscar Tshiebwe was off to stellar freshman season before leaving West Virginia

Old school: West Virginia | New school: Kentucky

Tshiebwe is a classic big man with little offensive range but the muscle and skill to do damage in the paint. He was great for West Virginia as a freshman before the paint got too crowded. The No. 31 prospect from the Class of 2019 will be a big help for Kentucky.

Old school: Missouri | New school: LSU

The 6-2 junior started all 26 games for Missouri this season as a junior and averaged 13.6 points per game. However, he shot a career-low 38.6% from the floor and is just a career 33% 3-point shooter. Pinson is capable of scoring in bunches when hot, though, and he should be a helpful player so long as he’s not asked to be the primary distributor for his new team.

Old school: Toledo | New school: Arizona State

Jackson won MAC Player of the Year honors after averaging 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists for a Toledo squad that won the league’s regular season title. In 127 games over four years with the Rockets, Jackson has racked up 1,817 career points, and he should be able to help an Arizona State team looking to rebound after a disappointing season.

Old school: Memphis | New school: USC

Ellis offered up flashes of offensive greatness in two seasons at Memphis, such as when he scored 27 points against Houston in the AAC Tournament this year. The former top-40 prospect from the Class of 2019 improved his 3-point shooting as a sophomore and could be more of a primary scoring option at USC.

Old school: Florida | New school: Louisville

Louisville ranked 330th nationally in 3-pointers made per game (5.4) and 303rd in percentage (30.8%), so the addition of Locke is a godsend for the Cardinals. The former top-100 prospect is a career 40.4% 3-point shooter on 538 career attempts. That is unquestionably his primary skill, and it’s one Louisville desperately needs.

23. Justin Powell

Old school: Auburn | New school: Tennessee

Powell played just 10 games as a freshman at Auburn before a concussion ended his season. But the former three-star prospect looked like a budding star at times as he shot 44.2% from 3-point range while also collecting 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He should have no problem carving out a role at Tennessee.

Old school: Pittsburgh | New school: Arkansas

The 6-6 guard took his offense to a new level in the 2020-21 season by averaging 14.4 points in 16 games for the Panthers. Toney also improved his 3-point shooting to a serviceable 34%. His improved offensive game and size on the wing should make him a good fit for Arkansas’ style.

25. Micah Peavy

Old school: Texas Tech | New school: TCU

A top-50 prospect from the 2020 class, Peavy started 25 games for Texas Tech as a freshman. Though he attempted just three 3-pointers the entire season, Peavy could be a solid college player for years to come because of his physicality and versatility.

Old school: Sam Houston State | New school: SMU

Nutall made 37.2% of his 3-point attempts as a junior this season and led Sam Houston State with 19.3 points per game. The AAC isn’t known as an offensively explosive league, and Nutall should help the Mustangs put some points on the board.

Old school: Rhode Island | New school: Maryland

Russell struggled to make shots in his senior season at Rhode Island amid some nagging injuries, but the 5-10 point guard can ease back on the throttle some at Maryland and take on more of a distributor role. If he can recapture the 35.7% 3-point shooting mark he posted as a junior, he’ll be a tremendous help for the Terrapins.

28. Caleb Mills

Old school: Houston | New school: Florida State

Mills committed to the Seminoles in January after appearing in just four games for Houston this season. He was the AAC Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 13.2 points for the Cougars as a freshman, but it’s possible he could end up as just another cog in Leonard Hamilton’s deep rotation.

Old school: Furman | New school: Alabama

At 6-8 and with a proven 3-point shot, Gurley should be able to play multiple positions for the Crimson Tide and help provide the floor spacing that is critical to success in Alabama’s 3-point heavy system. After redshirting his first year at Furman, he’ll be a fifth-year junior who brings veteran production.

30. Phlandrous Fleming

Old school: Charleston Southern | New school: Florida

Fleming is Florida’s second transfer commitment who was both his team’s leading scorer and the defensive player of the year in his old league, joining Kansas City’s Brandon McKissic in that category. Fleming’s accolades came in the Big South, where he averaged 20.1 points and 1.8 steals this past season for Charleston Southern.

Old school: Drake | New school: Kansas

With star wing ShanQuan Hemphill limited by injury and starting point guard Roman Penn out with a broken foot, Drake turned to Yesufu late in the season, and he delivered. After playing a bench role for the first season and a half of his career, the explosive 6-foot guard averaged 23.2 points in Drake’s final nine games and turned in one of the best dunks of the NCAA Tournament in a First Four victory over Wichita State.

32. AJ Bramah

Old school: Robert Morris | New school: Arizona State

Bramah averaged 21 points and 10.3 rebounds in 12 games in 12 games this season as a 6-7 wing. Predicting how that production will translate to the Pac-12 for a player with no outside shot is tough, but you can’t blame Arizona State for taking a swing.

Old school: Indiana | New school: Virginia

Franklin hit 42.4% of his 3-pointers and averaged 11.4 points per game for Indiana as a sophomore and should be an immediate contributor for a revamped Virginia squad. He should also fit in well with the Cavaliers’ defense-first emphasis.

Old school: Georgia | New school: Dayton

Camara’s usage improved considerably as a sophomore this past season, and the 6-8 forward responded by making 55.3% of his 2-point attempts. His outside shot remains a work in progress, but Camara’s athleticism and prowess on the boards make him a nice addition for Dayton.

35. Kyler Edwards

Old school: Texas Tech | New school: Houston

Edwards hit 41.8% of his 3-pointers this season while starting 26 games for the Red Raiders. With three years of experience under his belt, including 12 points scored in the 2019 national title game, Edwards is a proven commodity in the combo guard slot who defends well and should be able to help a Houston program that relies heavily on transfers.

Old school: Indiana | New school: Providence

Durham averaged a career-best 11.3 points as a senior for Indiana. After shooting 38% from 3-point range in the past two seasons, he should provide a nice boost for a Providence squad that ranked 261st nationally in 3-point percentage at 32% this past season.

Old school: Marshall | New school: Louisville

West handed out six assists per game and hit 40.8% of his 3-pointers for Marshall this season. A Louisville team that needs more shooters snatched him up quickly.

Old school: South Alabama | New school: Washington State

Washington State will be Flowers’ third collegiate stop after he evolved into a solid scorer at Western Michigan and then led the Sun Belt in scoring at South Alabama this past season. Flowers may not get 15.3 shots per game with the Cougars like he did this season, but he’s an efficient 3-point shooter who will provide WSU with a nice offensive boost.

39. Cole Swider

Old school: Villanova | New school: Syracuse

Swider is a former top-50 prospect with three seasons of high-level experience, primarily as a reserve at Villanova. As a stretch four who hit 40.2% of his 3-point attempts, Swider should fit well in Syracuse’s offensive system. He’ll need to pick up his rebounding rate while playing in coach Jim Boeheim’s zone defense.

Old school: Boston College | New school: Arizona State

After leading Boston College in scoring this season, Heath is headed to Arizona State. Heath needs to improve his assist-to-turnover ratio and shooting efficiency, but he’s shown the ability to score against quality opposition.

41. Davion Warren

Old school: Hampton | New school: Memphis

Warren scored 21.2 points per game for Hampton this season on 16.4 shots per game and likely won’t come close to either of those numbers at Memphis. But the 6-6 is a versatile player who should be a nice addition for an already menacing defense.

Old school: Penn State | New school: Ohio State

Wheeler made the Big Ten all-defensive team after averaging 1.8 steals for Penn State as a senior and was also the Nittany Lions’ assists leader. He’s not much of a scorer, but he’s evolved into a serviceable 3-point shooter, and Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann Wheeler play enough to know he can contribute for the Buckeyes.

Old school: Boston College | New school: East Carolina

Tabbs has been through a knee injury that forced him to miss the 2019-20 season, and he played just 12 games this season before receiving a suspension for violation of COVID-19 protocols. But if he’s healthy, Tabbs could be an all-conference performer in the AAC after averaging 13.9 points as a freshman in the 2018-19 season.

Old school: Colorado | New school: George Mason

After averaging 9.3 points on 40% 3-point shooting in his senior season at Colorado, Schwartz is reuniting with former Buffaloes assistant Kim English as English starts his head coaching career. Schwartz is a physical wing who could be in for a big season in the A-10.

Old school: George Washington | New school: Minnesota

Battle is among the incoming envoy at Minnesota that will be tasked with helping first-year coach Ben Johnson turn things around. The 6-7 forward shot 36.3% from 3-point range in two seasons at George Washington and upped his scoring average to 17.3 points this season.

46. Devin Askew

Old school: Kentucky | New school: Texas

Considering how Johnny Juzang morphed from a role player into a star after leaving Kentucky after one season, it’s worth wondering what Askew might accomplish in a new setting. His freshman season with the Wildcats was rough, but Askew is a former top-40 prospect who reclassified to enter college early. He could still blossom into an all-conference player over time.

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