Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Ideal destinations for Bronny James, Johnell Davis, and other top remaining transfers

Gonzaga v Saint Mary’s
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The Best Left

These final eight players are among the cream of the crop in this year's transfer market. Barring a shocking turn of events, all are headed to power conference schools with aspirations of deep tournaments runs, and probably a decent NIL check available.
# indicates the player's ranking in ESPN's top one hundred transfer rankings.

Jalen Blackmon (Stetson, 1) #85
Destination: Miami (FL)

Miami desperately needs something good to happen after perhaps the most brutal last thirteen months of Jim Larranaga's coaching career, following the 2022 Elite Eight and 2023 Final Four runs. The Hurricanes lost ten straight to end the season and this week lost two of their three best players, Norchad Omier and Wooga Poplar, to the transfer portal.

Among the ten highest scoring low major players, Jalen Blackmon was the only one to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament. He'd be a perfect fit next to Nijel Pack, who really grew as a playmaker last season. They'd form a small backcourt tandem (6'3" and 6'0" respectively) but the duo would give Miami one of the fastest and most dynamic perimeter attacks in the country.

Cade Tyson (Belmont, 2) #56
Destination: Creighton

Creighton just got some much-needed, albeit disappointing, clarity on Friday evening with the news that Trey Alexander is heading to the NBA. The Bluejays are still awaiting decisions from Ryan Kalkbrenner and Steven Ashworth, although the current scuttlebutt is that both will be back, and forward Mason Miller will take on a much bigger role next to them.

Greg McDermott can never have enough shooters, so how about one of the best in Cade Tyson, who was 46.5% from deep last season, after cracking the 40% mark as a freshman as well. He has the requisite size (6'7", 205) to make the jump up to facing Big East competition. Tyson is a solid rebounder as well, and would fill in some of the two way gaps created by the graduation of the last stud shooter to transfer up to Creighton, Baylor Scheierman.

Koby Brea (Dayton, 1) #40
Destination: UConn

The back-to-back national champions came into the offseason well set at point guard and center, with very little in between, save for the athletic breakout candidate Jaylin Stewart. But since Alex Karaban left the door open to potentially withdraw from the NBA draft and return, and then UConn added the best incoming high school shooter in the country in Liam McNeely.

Koby Brea led the nation in three-point shooting percentage (49.8%), went 9-16 from deep across two NCAA Tournament games, and is only considering a group of Blue Bloods for his final season. Until UConn added McNeely, it probably made the most sense for Brea to head to Duke, where the guard depth is non-existent, the shooting lacking and the possibilities endless, thanks to future #1 pick Cooper Flagg. But Brea was made to play in Dan Hurley's motion offense and his partnership with McNeely would have a gravity rating through the roof. Add in Karaban, and the Huskies could actually have a chance to be the nation's best offense again.

DJ Wagner (Kentucky, 3) #32
Destination: Michigan St

As they always have under Tom Izzo, Michigan St will be able to reload next season and overcome losing four starters, but it's currently a mostly blank slate around Jaden Akins and high scoring Omaha transfer wing Frankie Fidler. The biggest hole is at point guard, always a place of strength for Spartans that is pretty bare at the moment with AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker on their way out.

DJ Wagner spent half of his high school career as the top recruit in his class and a potential #1 pick in the NBA draft. But his season at Kentucky was a disaster, he spot poorly (40.5% from the field) and he didn't even play crunch time some nights. The great moments were there throughout the season and Wagner looked like a superstar in games against St. Joe's, Marshall and Georgia. He needs a top of the line coach to take a chance at getting the best out of his talent, and who better than master point guard developer Tom Izzo?