Best portal players in the transfer market

The next stage of college basketball free agency has begun with players picking their final (err, next) destinations. Check out the latest basketball betting odds to see how these transfers will help their new teams.

We’ve already ranked the best players available, and now we’re ranking the best fits for the players who have announced their plans. Keep coming back to this, because we will update as more players pick their next schools.

1. Baylor Scheierman | 6-6 forward | senior | Transferred from South Dakota State to Creighton

The Scout: Scheierman was a point forward for the Jackrabbits and is one of the most skilled players in the country. He’s a knockdown shooter with deep range. He shot 46.9 percent from 3 and made 50 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities, according to Synergy. He can really handle and pass it and has a good understanding of how to use his body and change of speeds to get where he wants on the floor. He’s also excellent out of ball screens, freeing himself or setting up a teammate. His foot speed — or lack thereof — is a slight concern when making the leap to the high-major level, where he should be expected to land. But he can make up for it with his understanding of how to get shots and craftiness. He showed he could score against high-major athletes in SDSU’s NCAA Tournament loss to Providence when Scheierman went for 18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. He had a one-handed, wrong-footed righty scoop off the glass in that game that illustrated how he’s going to be able to score no matter the level. There’s some similarities to Brady Manek in that his size, range and ability to get his shot off quickly is extremely valuable to any offense. Scheierman is a Manek-like shooter but with more playmaking in his tool bag. He may struggle to keep quicker guys in front of him, but his offense and shooting is good enough to not worry about that too much. He’s listed at 6-6 but looks taller. He’ll likely play the four defensively, and offensively, he should go somewhere that has a vision for taking advantage of his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands, similar to what he was able to do at South Dakota State.

The Fit: This is a fun one. Greg McDermott tapped the brake pedal this year and had more of a defensive-oriented team, but with the return of a young core and addition of a shooter/playmaker like Scheierman the Jays should fly again. Scheierman goes to a spot where he’ll face better talent and it’s hard to see him not looking great in that system. Every indication is this was largely an NIL-driven recruitment, but the arrangement should work well on both sides.

2. Kevin McCullar | 6-6 wing | senior | Transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas

The Scout: McCullar immediately enters as one of the best players in the portal, a 6-6 wing capable of handling the ball as a lead guard just as easily as he can play off the ball on the wing. The numbers don’t pop off the page, but coaches that look beyond the stat sheet at the context will understand why they don’t. McCullar was off to a killer start this season, averaging 14 points, six rebounds and four assists per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3, but then suffered a pair of ankle injuries that he decided to play through during conference play. Over the next month, he shot just 30 percent from the field and 22 percent from 3 as he played through the pain and didn’t quite have the same balance or elevation. Beyond that though, McCullar is an exceptionally tough defender, one of the absolute best in the country. Even taking into account the ankle injuries, it was still an absolute sham that he didn’t make the All-Defense team in the Big 12, arguably the most nonsensical award decision of the 2022 season. Essentially, the team that gets McCullar — and that’s if he actually ends up transferring, given that he is also declared for the 2022 NBA Draft — will acquire one of the toughest players in the country, and the kind of guy who possesses a skillset that helps win games. Coaches will really work hard on this one.

The Fit: Kansas could potential lose all three starting wings in Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson. Bill Self was after a starter-level replacement on the perimeter, and he found a proven one in McCullar. Self loves playing big, switchable wings, and McCullar was arguably the best one available in the portal. What McCullar needs to improve his NBA Draft stock is to show he’s a better shooter than the numbers indicate and become a more dynamic scorer. He’s in the perfect system to do so. Self is one of the best at putting his talent in position to succeed, and McCullar is a good fit in KU’s dribble weave offense.

3. Pete Nance | 6-10 big | graduate | Transferred from Northwestern to North Carolina

The Scout: There just isn’t much that Nance doesn’t do. He would have been all-conference in any other league outside of the Big Ten, but was just stuck behind the ridiculously loaded set of bigs in that league and got underrated as a result of it. He’s a 15-point, seven-rebound, three-assist guy per game, where all of those skills show up functionally on tape. He can handle and pass out of dribble hand-offs and you can play him higher up the court. He hit 45 percent from 3 this season, a number that may be a slight anomaly, but I buy him as a 40-percent guy from distance. He blocks one shot per game because he is an excellent weak-side rotator who is always in the right spot. It’s ridiculously difficult to be a big that puts up these counting numbers on 50 percent from the field, more than 40 percent from 3 and more than 75 percent from the line, and he did it against the absolute best frontcourt competition in the country night-after-night. He’s a clear top-five available transfer if he doesn’t go through with the NBA Draft. Ultimately, I see him as a two-way grade in that process if he decides to, so it’ll just be up to him on what he wants for his life and career moving forward.

The Fit: North Carolina got its new Brady Manek. Nance isn’t quite the shooter Manek is — few are — but he offers more defensive upside and rim protection. This might be the addition that moves North Carolina to No. 1 in the preseason polls, and there are some people who would have put the Heels there with the roster they had. Again, it’ll be hard for Nance to live up to what Manek was offensively, but the one vulnerability with Manek was teams could pick on him defensively. That shouldn’t be the case with Nance. And for Nance, he’ll get the chance to play for a winner and show his skills on a big stage.

4. Nijel Pack | 6-foot | junior guard | Transferred from Kansas State to Miami

The Scout: Pack can fit on pretty much any team in the country. He is capable of playing either guard spot but thrived moving off the ball this season next to Markquis Nowell, allowing him to focus more on scoring. He is one of the best knockdown shooters in the country and he can get it off quick, either off the bounce or the catch. He’s a career 42.9 percent 3-point shooter, made even more impressive by the difficulty of some of those shots. Pack should have no shortage of suitors, given he’s a high-character guy who can make shots and run a team. He is from Indianapolis, and the two Big Ten programs in the state of Indiana could both use a shot-making guard.

The fit: Miami needed a lead guard to take over for Charlie Moore and landed one of the best available in Pack. Pack will fit well in Miami’s offense, which leans heavily on the guards. Jim Larranaga spreads the floor and lets his guards go, whether in isolation or working out of ball screens. Pack is good working out of ball screens and he is an elite shooter. The more catch-and-shoot opportunities you can create for him, the better. He was at his best playing alongside another creator in Nowell, and he’d benefit from Isaiah Wong returning to school. Wong has declared for the draft but left open the possibility of returning to school. If he doesn’t return, Miami would be smart to go find another playmaking guard in the portal to pair with Pack.

5. Kendric Davis | 5-11 guard | graduate | Transferred from SMU to Memphis

The Scout: "What Remy Martin did for Kansas, KD could do that for somebody on steroids," a coach in the American said of the AAC Player of the Year. If Davis ends up in the right spot, he could be the final piece to make someone a title contender. Davis is one of the best guards in the country when the ball is in his hands. He’s got a tight handle, quickness, ability to change speeds and score at all three levels. He’s crafty too. He’ll get defenders in the air and get to the foul line, where he shot 86.8 percent this year. He’s not just a high-volume scorer either; he can shoot it with efficiency. He averaged 19.4 points — shooting 37.2 percent from 3 and 50.5 percent inside the line — to go along 4.4 assists this season. When asked to be more of a facilitator, he can do that too. He averaged 7.6 assists and led the country in assist rate as a junior. The one knock: "Zero defensive instincts," the coach said, "but when that ball’s in his hands, he is awesome."

The Fit: Memphis had one very significant hole this season: the point guard position. Up until the later portion of the season, the Tigers really struggled to get in and out of efficient offensive sets in large part because they just didn’t have a player that could handle the responsibility. With Davis entering the fold, that will be absolutely no issue. This has been the expected outcome from college coaches from the moment that Davis hit the portal after Tim Jankovich’s departure from SMU. Coaches from significant basketball powers tried to get involved, but got very little traction. Davis brings his 19 points and six assists per game over the past two seasons to Memphis, where he’ll get to run the show and have the freedom in their uptempo offense to attack and make plays. It’s an enormous get for Memphis, the kind of move that could push them back into the NCAA Tournament in 2023.

This is a FanPost, not the work of the author of Ridiculous Upside. The People speak! Questions or comments about this post should be addressed in the comments. To issue a complaint about this FanPost, please email ridiculousupside (at) gmail (dot) com.

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