Welcome back to our ongoing look at one key question of our time focused on transportation. How important are transfers—whether due to addition or subtraction—to each program in the top seven Division I conferences?
Last week, we looked at the Big East. Next, it’s the Big 12’s turn.
Note that we define “transfer in” as someone who has already played previous minutes in a different four-year program. On the contrary, Going Away is just a player who has seen time in the Big 12 program in question.
Understood? Here are the 12 most important transitions of the modern era.
Best Transition in: Davion Mitchell, 2019-21
Mitchell’s defensive superiority is captured succinctly by his moniker: “Off Night,” as in what player guarding him is about to experience. He gained this reputation at Baylor after coming off the bench with Bruce Pearl for one season at Auburn. As a junior, Mitchell was named Naismith’s Defensive Player of the Year in the Division I as the Bears marched to a record 28-2 and 2021 National title. He was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 9 pick in that summer’s draft.
Most Important Transfer: Eric Freeman, 2014-17
For whatever reason, Scott Drew hasn’t seen a large or average number of transfers leaving Baylor over the years. Freeman was one exception to this rule. He started 57 games over three seasons before moving to North Carolina State in his senior year. Then again, if we go back in time, we’ll face former Bears teammates John Lucas III (see below) and Lawrence Roberts. After leaving Waco in 2003, Lucas and Roberts were named 2004 Conference Players of the Year honors at Oklahoma State and Mississippi State, respectively.
Best Transition in: DeAndre Kane, 2013-14
Kane won this distinction with a veritable swarm of transfers within ISU and fellow All-Big 12 first-team honorees such as Marial Shayok (2019) and most recently Izaiah Brockington (2022). In fact, Kane would have been an excellent pick as the 2014 Big 12 MVP had his teammate Melvin Ejim not won this award. Former Marshall star Kane put up 17 games at ISU while averaging nine free throw attempts per competition.
Most important transfer: Wes Johnson, 2006-08
Over the years, Iowa has built a well-deserved reputation for importing remittances in bulk while rarely exporting. The list of hurricanes that have moved abroad is certainly very short. Johnson ranks at the top of this selection. After scoring 700 points over two seasons with the Hurricane, Johnson earned an All-American first-team honor as the number 1 top scorer for Syracuse in 2010.
Best Transfer In: Dedrick Lawson, 2018-19
Lawson played one season in Kansas after moving from Memphis. Unfortunately for Lawson, this was the year KU was eliminated by Auburn 89-75 in the round of 32. However, the All-Big 12 first team selection was an impressive 12, scoring 50 points, 21 rebounds and 11 of 11 shooting on the line in two games.
Most important transfer: JR Giddens, 2003-05
It’s been a while since Giddens played for the Jayhawks, and that alone says something. The KU self-era bill did not send many transfers to the rest of DI. Giddens went against the trend by moving to New Mexico after two seasons in Lawrence. Ranked #1 on Lobos’s list of points, rebounds, steals and blocks in 2008.
Best Transfer in: Denis Clemente, 2008-10
While his K-State teammate and UConn transfer, Curtis Kelly was perhaps the biggest name in the 2009-10 season, Clemente averaged 17 games as the second leading scorer behind Jacob Pullen as the Wildcats went all the way to the Elite Eight. Clemente reached this top after a 30-36 streak over two seasons in Miami.
Most Important Transfer: Marcus Foster, 2013-15
Foster was the focal point of K-State’s offense throughout the first two seasons of his college life. He then continued in that role for another two years at Creighton. By the time he was a senior, Foster was making 41% of his three doubles and tying 54% of the time inside the arc as a two-time All-Big East first-team honoree.
Best Transfer in: Romero Osby, 2011-13
Usby scored points in the paint, cleaned the glass, defended the rim and made a staggering number of fouls when he took home the All-Big 12 first team honors in 2013. He spent his first two seasons coming off the bench to support Jarvis Varnado at Mississippi State.
Most Important Transfer: Brady Mannick, 2017-21
Maneke’s 3-point shot was a staple of North Carolina’s run to the 2022 national title game. Indeed, his presence was so vital that the Tar Heels nearly blew a 25-point lead against Baylor in the round of 32 after Maneke was sent off early. From the second half. The Sooners’ four-year start is just one example of an unexpected but unmistakable OU-to-ACC pipeline: Alondes Williams excelled in Wake Forest last season, while Kameron McGusty reached the Elite Eight in Miami.
Best Transition in: John Lucas III, 2003-05
Lucas shot 41% from behind the arc and 90% on the streak over two seasons at OSU after moving from Baylor. The Cowboys ranked second in the NCAA Championship each season with Lucas and reached the Elite Eight in 2004. This was also the year he received the AP Big 12 Player of the Year. Oklahoma thrived in the mid-to-late periods with movers like Lucas, Joey Graham (UCF), and Mario Boggan (Florida).
Most Important Transfer: Terry Griffin, 2014-16
Griffin was a 5-foot-10 guard who came off the bench as a freshman and then played differently alongside or behind Jawun Evans as a sophomore. At that point, he chose to move to the Southern Miss, where he started every game over two seasons and led the Golden Eagles in scoring in 2019.
Best Transfer In: Timmy Allen, 2021-22
Allen was the only Longhorn to start all 34 games in 2021-22, a feat he accomplished after earning Utah’s All-Pac-12 first team honors in 2021. Enough to give Texas a decisive one-point victory. In a rotation marked by balanced workloads on attack and no shortage of transfers, Allen ranked as the top scorer in 12 games.
Most Important Transfer: Sheldon McClellan, 2011-13
McClellan was a frequent occasional player and shooter over two seasons in Texas before moving to Miami. He remained resolute in the attack with the Hurricanes, and in time, those shots began to fall. In 2016, McClellan converted 41% of his duets and 57% of his duets as UM ranked No. 3 and advanced to Sweet 16.
Best Transfer in: Kevin Langford, 2006-09
Langford was TCU’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons after returning to his hometown of Fort Worth from Cal. As a senior in 2008-09, he hit 77% on the goal line while scoring nearly seven fouls every 40 minutes.
Hottest transfer deal: Kevin Samuel, 2018-21
Samuel formed the inner half of an effective duo inside and out with Tavian Den Martin at the Florida Gulf Coast last season. The 6-foot-11 converts 64% of his 2s and ranks first on the A-Sun for mass percentage. Samuel dominated the Eagles’ paint after starting every game over the course of three seasons with The Horned Frogs.
Best transfer in: Bryson Williams, 2021-22
Williams was one of only two unanimous first-team picks last season. (The other was Ochai Agbaji.) In the Red Raiders’ turn-packed course and known for defending, it was Williams who emerged as a highly efficient superscorer. It was a role he previously held for both Fresno State and YouTube.
Most Important Move: Dusty Hannah, 2012-2014
Hannah made 27 starts and averaged about seven competition points over two seasons at Texas Tech. Although he has continued to alternate between starting and coming off the bench in Arkansas, his scoring has jumped to 15 per game over the past two years. As a senior, Hannah teamed up with Jaylene Barford and Moses Kingsley on the Razorbacks course that stuck with the eventual national champ in North Carolina before falling in the round of 32.
Best Transfer: Mike Gansey, 2004-06
Gansey teamed with Kevin Pittsnogle on remarkably effective John Beilein era teams that reached Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in consecutive years. As a senior, Gansey reached out to 66% of 2s and 43% of 3s, placing him in the top ten nationally for percentage of effective field goals. His season as a Mountaineer spanned four years of impeccable shooting accuracy that began in St. Bonaventure.
Most important transfer: Oscar Chiboy, 2019-21
Tshiebwe is a recipient of both the 2022 Wooden and Naismith Awards after averaging 17-15 double overs over an entire season for Kentucky. The 6-foot-9 rookie’s bounce was impressive but not necessarily surprising to anyone who saw him play 41 games over two seasons in West Virginia. As a freshman in 2020, Tshiebwe ranked first in the nation in KenPom for offensive rebound percentage.