Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 5 most underrated players currently in transfer portal

The Transfer Portal can get chaotic, and some people may only focus on the players that are ranked high, so here are the most underrated players in the portal and where I can see them make an impact.
North Carolina v Florida State
North Carolina v Florida State / G Fiume/GettyImages

With the National Championship ending, the NCAA Basketball world has shifted gears to the Transfer Portal. With so many players entering the portal every day, some underrated gems always fall through the cracks and are not highly ranked or recruited. Just for an example, Dalton Knecht was #20, AJ Storr was #5 in 2024 but was #70 in 2023, and Marcus Domask a key contributor in Illinois' Elite Eight run was #118. Rankings do not mean anything, but some players get recruited or overlooked because of their rating.

Here are in my opinion the most underrated transfers that could make a huge impact wherever they land next year.

5. Connor Essegian: SO/6-4/Wisconsin

Connor Essegian saw his playing time massively decrease this year for no apparent reason. Essegian played 27 minutes a game his freshmen year, and that dropped to just 7 minutes a game this year. During his freshmen year, Essegian averaged 11.7 PPG and 3.7 REB a game while shooting 40/36/88 respectively. Essegian was widely known as one of the Big Ten's best freshmen and one of the best sharpshooters in the country.

Wisconsin media did not seem shocked by his departure because of the cutting of his playing time. Due to the lack of playing opportunities this year and not being able to show any growth the transfer portal rankings are undervaluing exactly who Essegian is. Currently ranked #163 according to ON3 and #125 on 247 Sports, I believe Essegian can be a very valuable piece in a tournament team's rotation next season.

Potential Fits: Michigan, Creighton, Indiana

4. Jordan Pope: SO/6-2/Oregon State

Jordan Pope is one of the best Point Guards in the portal and is being overlooked. After spending his first 2 years at Oregon State, the Point Guard from Prolific Prep entered the transfer portal. Pope was by far the best player on a bad Oregon State team this year. In their biggest win of the year vs Arizona, Pope exploded for 31 points and was able to score 25+ 7 times this season.

On the year Pope averaged 17.6 PPG, 2.6 REB, and 3.4 AST a game while shooting 45/37/88. Pope was able to will the Beavers to most of their wins this year. I see Pope as a key contributor on a Championship Contender next year. Currently, he is ranked #62 on ON3 and #33 on 247 Sports, I tend to lean to him in the ranks of 20-25.

Potential Fits: Florida, Arizona, USC

3. Dante Maddox Jr.: SR/6-2/Toledo

Dante Maddox Jr. is one the most criminally underrated Mid-Major players in the transfer portal. Maddox was the leading scorer and point guard on a Toledo team that finished 20-12 and according to KenPom was ranked 76th in Adjusted Tempo. In his senior year, Maddox averaged 15.6 PPG, 4.3 REB, and 2.8 AST a game while shooting 44/40/86. Any program that is looking for a Point Guard that is a lights-out shooter and can also rebound the ball effectively, should look no further than Maddox. He is ranked #84 according to ON3 and #75 to 247 Sports.

I have Maddox ranked around 45-50. Recently Maddox cut his list of schools to 5 teams, Louisville, Michigan, Creighton, Xavier, and Illinois. With the right coaching and players around him, Maddox could very well be an All-Conference performer at whatever school he goes to next year.

Prediction: Creighton

2. Michael Nwoko: FR/6-10/Miami

Similar to Miller, this is based on the potential that Nwoko possesses. The 6-10 Center is 245 pounds of pure muscle and is the definition of a Paint Beast. Nwoko played sparingly this season averaging only 8.8 minutes a game. The former Hurricane averaged only 2.7 PPG and 2 REB a game, while shooting 55.6% from the field.

The potential comes from the FIBA U19 World Cup this past summer where he led Team Canada and was seen as "Miami's Future Center". He is ranked #165 according to ON3 and #114 according to 247 Sports, I see him more in the 65-75 range. Nwoko is going to have a potential breakout season with increased minutes on whatever team he lands with.

Potential Fits: San Diego State, Notre Dame, Creighton, Xavier

1. Baba Miller: SO/6-10/Madrid, Spain

Baba Miller is one of the more fascinating players to enter the transfer portal this time. Miller spent his first 2 years at Florida State, and coming into college he was widely seen as a one-and-done prospect with huge NBA upside. However, Miller was never really able to get started after he was suspended for the first 16 games of his freshmen year because of illegal benefits he received. Miller played sparingly in his freshmen year, but in his sophomore campaign he started every game but 1. Miller averaged 7.6 PPG, 4.9 REB, and 1.1 BLK a game while shooting 45/29/55. His stats don't jump off to the naked eye, however, it is his potential that should intrigue college coaches.

Currently, Miller is ranked #120 according to ON3 and #74 according to 247 Sports. I see Miller as a Top 50 prospect, and with the right coaching and development, Miller can get back to the NBA Draft stage and possibly have a breakout year.

Potential Fits: Michigan, Gonzaga, Baylor

Top 25 early portal entrants. dark. Next. Top 25 early portal entrants

The Transfer Portal is in full swing. Teams are going to revamp completely, but the biggest gets are the ones that are most underrated. Who will be this year's Dalton Knecht or Marcus Domask?