Monday Musings: Ranking the Big 12 MBB transfer classes

Feb 27, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins watches his team play against the Iowa State Cyclones during the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

April is in the rearview mirror and we’re full head of steam into the month of May.

The last six weeks in the college basketball transfer portal have been a whirlwind, and there are still things left to shake out, but we’re starting to see the majority of rosters come together in their nearly final form.

That’s why this feels like a good time to dive into the Big 12 teams and all of their transfer additions to this point. The following rankings come from On3, which has a full team transfer class ranking, but we’ve only pulled 11 of the teams for this exercise as Kansas State, BYU and UCF are all yet to take a transfer in this cycle.

Still, here are the top transfer classes in the Big 12, a breakdown of each addition and some analysis from your’s truly on each group.

1. West Virginia

RaeQuan Battle – First-team All-Big Sky in 2022-23, 2023 Big Sky Tournament MVP

Started his career at Washington before transferring to Montana State. Averaged 17.7 points, shot 52.3 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from 3-point range and 83.3 percent from the free throw line. Bucket getter who carried a significant load for a team that made the NCAA Tournament. Rated as the No. 41 transfer in the portal.

Jesse Edwards – Third-team All-ACC in 2022-23, ACC All-Defense

Considered one of the best big men to enter the portal, the 6-foot-11 IMG Academy product averaged 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this past season for Syracuse. Averaged nearly three blocks per game each of the last two seasons. Rated as the No. 13 transfer in the portal by On3.

Kerr Kriisa – One of the best playmakers and sharpshooters in the portal

Led the Pac-12 in assists in 2021-22 then finished second in 2022-23. Led the league with 5.1 assists per game as a junior this past season while adding 9.9 points per game. Shot 39.4 percent from 3-point range in 2022-23 after knocking down 40.8 percent in 2021-22. Rated as the No. 16 transfer in the portal by On3.

Jose Perez – First-team All-MAAC in 2021-22, Preseason MAAC Player of the Year in 2022-23

Sat out last season after transferring to West Virginia at semester after his coach was fired weeks before the season at Manhattan. Averaged 18.9 points, 4.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game in 2021-22. Played 2020-21 at Marquette and appeared in only 10 games. Averaged 15-plus points per game as a freshman and sophomore at Gardner Webb.

Stanz’s Stance: Nobody in the league reloaded their roster quite like Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers. West Virginia added impact players at every level of the court in Arizona point guard Kerr Kriisa, Montana State combo guard RaeQuan Battle, Syracuse center Jesse Edwards and Manhattan swingman Jose Perez. Any questions about Huggins’ ability to thrive in today’s college basketball climate have been answered.

Mar 16, 2023; Orlando, FL, USA; Oral Roberts Golden Eagles guard Max Abmas (3) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

2. Texas

Max Abmas – Two-time Summit League Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Summit

If there’s a better pure scorer in the portal, I haven’t found him. Abmas has been one of the best scorers in college basketball each of the last three seasons, averaging 20-plus points in each for Oral Roberts. He burst onto the scene while helping Oral Roberts reach the Sweet 16 in 2021. Rated as the No. 2 transfer in the portal by On3. Rodney Terry has his replacement for Marcus Carr.

Kadin Shedrick – Experienced Power 5 big man

Shedrick’s numbers don’t leap off the page as he averaged 6.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game this past season for the Cavaliers, but big men with Power 5 experience are always going to be highly valuable in the portal. He’s rated as the No. 40 transfer in the class by On3.

Stanz’s Stance: The addition of Max Abmas could be one of the most impactful of the transfer season. He’ll immediately slide into the role vacated by Marcus Carr and fit well alongside Tyrese Hunter, assuming Hunter elects to return to school next season after testing the NBA Draft waters. Shedrick adds depth to the Longhorn frontline alongside returning breakout star Dylan Disu.

3. Iowa State

Jackson Paveletzke – 2022-23 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year

High-level scorer at all three levels of the court averaged 15.1 points with 49 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range and 84 percent from the free throw line shooting splits as a freshman this past season. Added 3.7 assists per game so he has some playmaking ability as well. Three years of eligibility remaining. Rated as the No. 25 transfer in the portal by On3.

Keshon Gilbert – High-level two-way player with elite speed

Gilbert brings a level of speed and athleticism desperately needed in the Iowa State backcourt. He averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game this past season for the Runnin’ Rebels after originally committing to T.J. Otzelberger when he was the head coach in Vegas. Rated as the No. 17 transfer in the portal by On3.

Curtis Jones – Third-team All-MAC in 2022-23

Jones had a breakout season this past year by averaging 15.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game for the Bulls while shooting 47 percent from the field, 36 percent from deep and 78 percent from the free throw line. The 6-foot-5 Minneapolis native started his career at Indian Hills Community College. 

Stanz’s Stance: T.J. Otzelberger and his staff located a need on their roster, and hit that need hard, adding three high-level scorers and playmakers to the backcourt. All three players will fit nicely alongside returning point guard Tamin Lipsey while also bringing additional playmaking to relieve some of the ball-handling pressure off Lipsey’s shoulders. The Cyclones will have their most talented team — on paper — of the Otzelberger era to this point next season.

4. Cincinnati

C.J. Fredrick – 2019-20 Big Ten All-Freshman

Fredrick emerged as one of the best sharpshooters in the country during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Iowa, shooting better than 45 percent from 3-point range in each season. He transferred to Kentucky then sat out all but one game of the 2021-22 season due to injury then played in 27 games, starting 15, for the Wildcats this past year, but shot only 32 percent from deep. It will be interesting to see if a return to his hometown of Cincinnati helps him get back to his old form.

Jamille Reynolds – Impact forward with nearly 70 career games under his belt

Reynolds was a role player during two seasons at UCF to start his career then transferred to Temple and had a breakout 2022-23, averaging 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Owls while shooting better than 60 percent from the floor.

Stanz’s Stance: I’m not as familiar with Cincinnati’s roster due to their recent addition to the league, but this transfer class feels like it will be judged on Fredrick’s ability to get back to the level of play he put on display at Iowa. If he does, the Bearcats will have added one of the highest-impact shooters available in the portal. If he doesn’t, this transfer cycle will have been a dud for Wes Miller and Co.

5. Houston

LJ Cryer – Third-team All-Big 12 in 2022-23, 2021 national champion

One of a couple in-conference transfers in the league this year, Cryer was a star at Baylor, averaging 15.0 points and shooting 42 percent from 3-point range this past season. He’ll slide into the role vacated by Marcus Sasser, and I’d imagine will be one of the favorites to earn a preseason All-Big 12 selection next fall. Rated as the No. 12 transfer in the portal by On3.

Damian Dunn – Two-time All-AAC selection

The Temple transfer was one of the most productive players available in the portal after averaging 13-plus points in each of the last three seasons. The 6-foot-5 combo guard averaged 15.3 points with 45 percent from the field, 35 percent from deep and 81 percent from the free throw line shooting splits. Rated as the No. 26 transfer in the portal by On3.

Stanz’s Stance: Don’t expect the Cougars to miss a beat next season as they join the Big 12. Kelvin Sampson and his staff needed to reload their backcourt, and that’s exactly what they did. Houston very well might be a top-five team in the country to start the season, and if they’re not top-five, they’re certain to be top-10 in most every list you find.

6. Baylor

Jayden Nunn – 2021-22 A-10 All-Freshman

Familiar face alert as Nunn was originally committed to Iowa State out of high school then decommitted and ended up at VCU after T.J. Otzelberger took over in Ames. The 6-foot-4 Flint, Mich. native has been an impactful player the last two years for the Rams, averaging 8.6 points as a freshman and 9.3 points per game as a sophomore. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range this past season on 99 attempts. Rated as the No. 116 transfer in the portal by On3.

Stanz’s Stance: The Bears needed to supplement their roster more than rebuild it during the transfer season, but the addition of Nunn is notable nonetheless. This team will be built around returning forward Jalen Bridges and five-star freshman combo guard Ja’Kobe Walter. Scott Drew’s likely to have another preseason top-25 team.

Delaware’s Jameer Nelson, Jr. drives in the first half of Delaware’s 58-54 loss to Drexel at the Bob Carpenter Center, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. Ncaa Basketball Wil Hens Drexel Bball Drexel At Delaware

7. TCU

Avery Anderson III – Third-team All-Big 12 in 2021-22

Another in-conference transfer, Anderson has been one of the league’s more underrated scorers each of the past three seasons in Stillwater, averaging 11-plus points each year. He averaged 11.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals for the Cowboys this year. Rated as the No. 99 transfer in the portal by On3.

Trey Tennyson – Two-time All-Southland selection

The 6-foot-4 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi transfer brings even more depth to the Horned Frogs’ backcourt. He averaged 15.7 points per game this past season while shooting 49 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 89 percent from the free throw line. He’s likely to be a key piece of the bench if things shake out as expected.

Essam Mostafa – Impact big man, led the Sun Belt in double-doubles this past season

Jamie Dixon needed to add frontcourt depth after Eddie Lampkin’s departure, and he found it in the highly-productive 6-foot-9 center from Coastal Carolina. Mostafa averaged 12.4 points and 10 rebounds per game this past season while shooting 55 percent from the field. He’ll be a key piece off the bench behind returning center JaKobe Coles.

Jameer Nelson Jr. – Two-time All-CAA selection, CAA All-Defense in 2022-23

Dixon needed to find a replacement for departing star guard Mike Miles. Here’s the guy. Nelson averaged 20.6 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field, 30 percent from three and 78 percent from the free throw line this past year for the Blue Hens. Rated as the No. 8 transfer in the portal by On3.

Stanz’s Stance: TCU’s projections will hinge heavily on the NBA Draft decisions of Damion Baugh and Emmanuel Miller. If both come back, this team could be pretty loaded. If one comes back, the transfers will see their opportunities increase, and this is a solid class of transfers. Either way, this backcourt appears to be heavily stocked with versatility and scoring.

8. Oklahoma

Le’Tre Darthard – First-team All-WAC and WAC All-Defense in 2022-23

The 6-foot-4 Utah Valley transfer averaged 13.8 points while shooting 43 percent from the field, 36 percent from deep and 89 percent from the free throw line this past season. The Denton, Texas native was also one of the league’s best two-way players.

John Hugley – Productive Power 5 big man who missed most of last year

The Pitt transfer played in only eight games for the Panthers this past season, but he was one of their most important pieces in 2021-22, averaging 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 Cleveland native will be asked to make an immediate impact in Norman. Rated as the No. 44 transfer in the portal by On3.

Javian McCollum – Third-team All-MAAC in 2022-23

This feels like Oklahoma’s most impactful transfer addition when you consider McCollum still has two years of eligibility left. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 15.9 points and 3.9 assists per game this past season at Sienna while shooting 43 percent from the field, 36 percent from deep and 89 percent from the free throw line. Rated as the No. 101 transfer in the portal by On3.

Stanz’s Stance: Oklahoma’s roster just needed to get better, and I’d say they made strides in that department with these three additions. McCollum will be the most interesting one to watch as he’s probably got the highest ceiling of the bunch.

Nevada forward Darrion Williams (5) drives past Air Force forward Rytis Petraitis (31) during the first half of a basketball game played at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev., Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. Air Force At Nevada Basketball 01

9. Texas Tech

Darrion Williams – 2022-23 Mountain West Freshman of the Year

Williams was an instant impact player as a freshman at Nevada averaging 7.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from the field, 36 percent from deep and 80 percent from the free throw line. Interestingly, he was the only transfer to visit Iowa State this offseason and not end up signed with the Cyclones. Rated as the No. 47 transfer in the portal by On3.

KyeRon Lindsay – Impact Power 5 forward with three years left

Lindsay played in only 10 games for Georgia this past season, but was impactful in his time on the floor, averaging 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He’ll have three years to continue growing his game in Lubbock.

Stanz’s Stance: The Red Raiders need talent and they found it in a pair of versatile wings who can do a lot of different things. It will be interesting to see how this roster comes together under first-year head coach Grant McCasland.

10. Kansas

Arterio Morris – Former five-star recruit

Another in-conference guy, Morris was a role player as a freshman at Texas, averaging 4.6 points per game for the Longhorns this past season. The 6-foot-3 guard should get opportunities to shine in a Kansas backcourt that needed a replenish.

Nick Timberlake – Two-time first-team All-CAA

Like I said before, Kansas needed a replenish in the backcourt and Timberlake will be a key piece in immediately improving that area of the roster. He averaged 17.7 points per game this past season while shooting 46 percent from the floor, 42 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free throw line. He’ll be the next high-level Jayhawk sharpshooter.

Stanz’s Stance: Nobody in the league stands to gain more from the players left in the portal than Kansas, who remains one of the main competitors for Michigan center Hunter Dickinson, the highest-rated player in the portal this year. As it stands, Kansas has added significant talent to its backcourt, which had been depleted by departures. Failing to add Dickinson could leave Bill Self’s team as vulnerable as its been from a roster standpoint in recent years.

11. Oklahoma State

Javon Small – High impact scorer in a shortened season for ECU

Oklahoma State has to rebuild its backcourt, and Small will go a long way toward helping with that process. The 6-foot-2 Small averaged 15.8 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game this past season for the Pirates while appearing in 18 contests.

Stanz’s Stance: The Cowboys likely have more work to do in the portal to fill some of their needs, but Small is a solid start to rebuilding its backcourt that lost most of its major pieces from last season.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.