Basketball transfers are coming to a portal near you.
The 60-day window is open (March 13-May 11) for prospective transfers to hop in the portal to examine their options. The one-time transfer rule is still intact this season. If a player has not transferred before, they are immediately eligible. Of course, a team may release a player to play immediately rather than sit out a year of play.
There are plenty of examples of the current Final Four student-athletes who landed on their teams via the transfer portal. Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Vladislav Goldin went against the grain by leaving a larger school for a mid-major program. The 7-foot-1, shot-blocking Russian bolted from Texas A&M to play for the Owls.
The UConn Huskies’ backcourt is full of transfers. Former East Carolina star Tristen Newton runs the point, averaging 10-plus points and nearly five assists per game. Grad student Joey Calcaterra spent four years at San Diego and Nahiem Alleyne was a three-year starter at Virginia Tech.
Four of San Diego State’s top five scorers are transfers, including former California standout Matt Bradley, who is averaging a team-high 13 points per game. The final four also has a rising star in former Kansas State star Nijel Pack playing for the Hurricanes. Pack signed a two-year, $800,000 deal with LifeWallet that included a car. Miami was all too happy to land the K-State star who has guided them to the Final Four.
The portal and NIL opportunities are inextricably linked. And, before you think this is a basketball-only issue, NIL is being felt in all sports – even DU’s beloved hockey (though there have been no DU portal entrants…yet). In hoops, even relative unknown Florida Atlantic University has three players earning over $30k and other players on the team earning NIL cash, too.
As of this writing, 978 basketball players have entered the portal and more are certain to follow. While most will move laterally, or downgrade to DII, DIII, or NAIA, a select few will move up into power conferences. Coaches would rather bet on a proven player with experience than train and develop incoming freshmen.
While we are waiting on the portal impact on the University of Denver, other teams in the Summit League are already facing defections. St. Thomas has already lost Freshman of the Year guard Andrew Rohde – making it six consecutive years the top freshman has exited the Summit League. AJ Plitzuweit is fleeing Vermillion, South Dakota with his final season of eligibility along with his running mate Tasos Kamateros the 6’9″ big who averaged around 13 points and had 7 rebounds a game. ORU’s Max Abmas, star of the undefeated regular-season Golden Eagles, is likely to exit too. Plan on some Denver players leaving as well as a number of players from other Summit League programs.
The University of Denver and a host of mid-majors will look to re-stock with incoming freshmen, bench players from major conferences, and foreign players. Foreign players are of particular interest because, currently, they do not qualify for direct NIL funding – although there are workarounds being explored by various groups. Expect Denver to leverage all three as they fill their open roster spots for the 2023-24 season.
Denver alumni are in the process of forming a legal entity for a basketball NIL ‘Collective’ which will identify NIL opportunities for DU players to seek income off the basketball court. The Crimson & Gold Collective is expected to be launched in the next several weeks.
In the meantime, we will wait and watch for defections and additions as Denver leverages the 60-day transfer window to build their roster for next season and cover player exits.
Photo: Buckeyes Wire