UConn, Kentucky among those with big changes through transfers in college basketball's portal window


A few days after winning a second consecutive national championship, UConn coach Dan Hurley posted a photo of himself on social media, lying on the floor and covering his eyes.

The caption read “Day 1 in the portal …”

Several weeks later, Hurley has added several key pieces as the portal window closes Wednesday, with the Huskies trying to become the first team to win three straight NCAA titles since UCLA’s run of seven straight from 1967-73. And they’re among numerous major programs shuffling their decks through portal work.

UConn, which could lose all five starters from this year’s title winner, has added former Michigan center Tarris Reed and former Saint Mary’s star guard Aidan Mahaney from the portal. The Huskies also landed top recruit Liam McNeeley, who decommitted from Indiana while the Hoosiers revamp their roster with transfers.

“Obviously, we’ve utilized the portal to great benefit and players that it hasn’t made great sense for them here, you know, have departed,” Hurley said. “But, obviously there’s a lot more structure that we need in our game because there’s no other sports league that operates this way.”

Here’s how the portal has affected some other top programs this season.

Kentucky: The biggest job changing hands in the offseason carousel has meant plenty of changes through the Wildcats roster with John Calipari’s exit to Arkansas and Mark Pope’s arrival from BYU. Portal additions include guard Lamont Butler, who hit the buzzer-beating winner for San Diego State in the 2023 Final Four against Florida Atlantic; Oklahoma forward Otega Oweh; Wake Forest forward Andrew Carr; Oklahoma State big man Brandon Garrison; Dayton guard Koby Brea, the nation’s top 3-point shooter at 49.8%; and Dayton big man Amari Williams. And on Wednesday, former Arizona and West Virginia guard Kerr Kriisa committed to Kentucky, according to On3 Sports.

Arkansas: Calipari’s portal additions are headlined by Florida Atlantic guard Johnell Davis, the leading scorer on the Owls’ Final Four team in 2023 and the No. 2-ranked transfer in 247Sports’ rankings. Arkansas also landed Tennessee forward Jonas Aidoo and Kentucky big man Zvonimir Ivisic. A mass of departures included leading scorer Tramon Mark (to Texas), though Calipari has also added 247sports’ No. 6-ranked recruiting class with three four-star prospects who originally committed to him at UK.

Duke: Jon Scheyer’s third team will look nothing like his second. Seven players pursued transfers, headlined by veteran guard Jeremy Roach landing at Baylor and forward Mark Mitchell going to Missouri. But Duke added veteran pieces in Syracuse forward Maliq Brown and Purdue forward Mason Gillis, while the departures have largely cleared the way for the nation’s top recruiting class to come into starring roles: a six-player class that includes 247Sports No. 1 overall prospect Cooper Flagg, No. 3 prospect Khaman Maluach and three other top-20 recruits.

Michigan: The Wolverines have added six transfers with the hiring of Dusty May from Florida Atlantic while losing Reed and four other players. Newcomers include 7-foot-1 center Vladislav Goldin, who followed his coach from FAU after withdrawing his name from the NBA draft. Other big names coming in include center Danny Wolf from Yale, forward Sam Walters from Alabama and guard Roddy Gayle Jr. from rival Ohio State.

Indiana: Mike Woodson has grabbed four big names out of the portal, including 247Sports’ top-ranked transfer in Arizona big man Oumar Ballo. He joins former Stanford guard Kanaan Carlyle, former Washington State guard Myles Rice and former Illinois guard Luke Goode.

Kansas: The Jayhawks aggressively jumped into the portal by adding AJ Storr (Wisconsin), Riley Kugel (Florida) and Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State). The haul included Rylan Griffen, a starter on the Alabama team that reached the Final Four. “Rylan’s won everywhere he’s been,” said coach Bill Self, who also re-recruited star big man Hunter Dickinson for a second season in Lawrence following his transfer from Michigan.

Memphis: Penny Hardaway helped his backcourt by luring Texas guard Tyrese Hunter (11.1 points) and Tulsa’s PJ Haggerty (21.2).

North Carolina: The Tar Heels found perimeter help by adding Belmont scoring wing Cade Tyson (16.2 points) and got a boost when top defender Seth Trimble reversed course on transferring to return for his third season alongside RJ Davis — a first-team Associated Press All-American returning for a fifth season.

North Carolina State: Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts relied on transfers to make an unexpected run to the program’s first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 1987 and its first Final Four since 1983. His next wave includes Louisville big Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Georgetown wing Dontrez Styles, who started his career at Wolfpack rival UNC.

UCLA: A 16-17 stumble led coach Mick Cronin to add multiple transfers, including forward Kobe Johnson from cross-town USC, Louisville guard Skyy Clark, Oregon State forward Tyler Bilodeau and Oklahoma State forward Eric Dailey Jr.

West Virginia: The hiring of Darian DeVries as coach also led to the addition of his son, Tucker, as a two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year who averaged 21.6 points last season.

As the window to enter the portal closes, several big names were still looking for new homes, including Bronny James. After one season at USC, LeBron James’ son is still weighing whether to join another college program or his dad in the NBA.

The list list includes multiple names from 247Sports’ list of top transfers, including Utah State center Great Osobor (No. 5), Miami forward Norchad Omier (No. 6), Seton Hall wing Kadary Richmond (No. 7) and Rutgers big Clifford Omoruyi (11th).

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25





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