Busting Brackets

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

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Other top-tier transfers

Aidan Mahaney (St. Mary's, 2) #18
Destination: Tennessee

Tennessee got to the Elite Eight last season on the strength of a top-notch defense, and being carried offensively by the stellar scoring of Dalton Knecht. His graduation is part of a mass exodus from the Volunteers' roster, leaving behind the low-scoring but terrific connector Zakai Ziegler. If Hofstra transfer Darlinstone Dubar doesn't mirror his CAA scoring in the SEC, Tennessee is in desperate need of a go-to guy.

If you expect the his shooting in his freshman season (44% from two, 40% from three) is a better representation than last season (41%/35.5%), than Aidan Mahaney is the ideal off-guard, thanks to his playmaking and ability to hunt quality shots at all three levels. Putting Mahaney with Ziegler, Dubar and Jahmai Mashack would give Rick Barnes a perimeter group where everyone's biggest strength is different, providing him with nightly a chance to mix and match.

Wooga Poplar (Miami (FL), 1) #13
Destination: St. John's

In year one with the legendary Rick Pitino on the sidelines, St. John's narrowly missed out on the NCAA Tournament, and during the rough stretch that sank the Red Storm's chances, Pitino did not hold back. It was a team who's biggest issues were a lack of athleticism and effort on defense. No way Pitino is going into a new season with the same problems.

Woogla Poplar is an absolute madman on the court. A dynamic scorer who jumps out of the gym and constantly plays like his hair is on fire, which is both a positive and negative. Poplar is basically the college version of what Russell Westbrook does with the LA Clippers. Poplar and Pitino would be a 12/10 fit on the entertainment scale. Poplar is both the exact athletic maniac that Pitino will absolutely love having on his team, and a player who will prompt the ornery coach to often shoot him a look like he wants to punch him. It doesn't hurt that St. John's needs another perimeter-scoring threat as well.

Great Osobor (Utah St, 1) #6
Destination: Kentucky

The new era of Kentucky basketball looks like it will come together quickly over the next week or so, with a bunch of major transfer targets set to take visits. Mark Pope has gotten it rolling with a few freshmen and two absolute stud defenders. In the backcourt, LaMont Butler comes over from San Deigo St after winning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. His new teammate in the frontcourt, Amari Williams, has won the CAA's version of the same award three times.

Now it's time for Kentucky to find an offensive centerpiece, and it would be fitting for Pope to bring in someone his own size, with the Mountain West Player of the Year Great Osobor. After sliding up from Montana St last spring, Osobor took a huge leap from 10.1 to 17.7 ppg, thanks to 59.1% inside the arc and a top ten national free throw rate. He's even a much better than average distributor at the center position (2.8 apg) and the perfect player to build around.

Johnell Davis (Florida Atlantic, 1) #3
Destination: Arkansas

Of course, Kentucky wouldn't be overhauling their roster had John Calipari not left for a hefty paycheck and a new challenge at Arkansas. To this point, Calipari has been focused on bringing over pieces of the vaunted freshman class that was supposed to join him at Kentucky. The talent is already on its way, but the Wildcats team of the past often learned the hard way that the teams who make deep runs normally need a few top notch veterans.

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Johnell Davis emerged as a quality ensemble part during Florida Atlantic's 2022 Final Four run. Last season, he went back to Boca Raton and became a superstar. Davis took a big jump up to 18.2 ppg and showed his absolute best in the Owls' best regular season win (probably ever) with a career high thirty-five points on mind-boggling 15-27 shooting in the double overtime victory versus Arizona. Someone needs to take the pressure off of a young group of Razorbacks in tough times, and there's no option available who's better equipped to do so than Davis.