College basketball transfers: 10 programs that would benefit from NCAA passing immediate eligibility rule

The NCAA Board of Directors last month recommended against the immediate implementation of rules that would allow first-time transfers to play without sitting out at their new school. But there is still a faint glimmer of hope that transferring basketball players who have not yet graduated will be eligible to play next season at their new universities without having to secure a waiver.

The Division I Council is expected to address the issue when it meets later this month. It would be a surprise if the council disregarded the recommendation of the Board of Directors and moved to allow immediate eligibility for all transferring athletes in the 2020-21 season. But that unexpected outcome would be welcome news for several basketball programs. 

Here are the 10 teams that most need immediate eligibility for their transfers in order to reach their full potential in the 2020-21 season:

1. Nebraska

Players transferring in: Trey McGowens, Kobe King 

Keeping up with the roster turnover after coach Fred Hoiberg's first season at Nebraska is a whiplash-inducing task. But the Cornhuskers have snagged three proven college players as transfers to help make up for a mass exodus. Only one of them is a graduate transfer. That's former Western Illinois star Kobe Webster. If the Cornhuskers are going to be competitive in the Big Ten next season, getting Pittsburgh transfer Trey McGowens and Wisconsin transfer Kobe King eligible as well would be a huge boost. McGowens averaged 11.5 points per game as as a sophomore while King averaged 10 per game as a junior.

2. Marquette

Players transferring in: D.J. Carton, Jose Perez

The Golden Eagles signed three four-star power forwards in a recruiting class ranked No. 17 nationally by 247Sports. But a combined 40 points per game are graduating from the back court with the departure of the Big East's all-time leading scorer Markus Howard and senior Sacar Anim. That's why getting Ohio State transfer D.J. Carton and Gardner-Webb transfer Jose Perez eligible immediately would be bring a needed boost to the roster.

3. Memphis

Player transferring in: Landers Nolley

The Tigers nearly landed No. 3 overall prospect Jalen Green before he decided to join the G League's new program for elite prospects. Snagging a commitment from prized Virginia Tech transfer Landers Nolley softened that blow. But Memphis would like to have Nolley eligible immediately to help replace the departing production of AAC Player of the Year Precious Achiuwa as the Tigers try to reach the NCAA Tournament in coach Penny Hardaway's third season.

4. DePaul

Players transferring in: Javon Freeman-Liberty Courvoisier McCauley

After a season that started with promise ended in the frustration of a 3-15 Big East record, DePaul could use the influx of firepower that Javon Freeman-Liberty and Courvoisier McCauley would provide. McCauley is a 6 foot 5 guard who led Division 2 Lincoln Memorial University in scoring at 20 points per game as the Railsplitters ascended to No. 2 in the country behind a 32-game winning streak before the season's cancelation. Freeman-Liberty led Valparaiso with 19 points per game. Both are guards who will have two seasons to play whenever they become eligible.

5. Kentucky

Player transferring in: Olivier Sarr

It might seem strange to suggest that a program fresh off signing a six-man recruiting class ranked No. 1 in the country desperately needs anything. But if Kentucky is going to dominate the SEC like it did this past season and live up to its reputation, getting Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr eligible immediately would be a tremendous help. The 7-footer averaged 13.7 points and 9 rebounds per game as a junior and would bring a veteran presence to a team that will be young even by Kentucky's standards.

6. Cincinnati

Player transferring in: David DeJulius 

Three of the Bearcats' top five scorers graduated and the other two are exploring the NBA Draft process. Graduate transfer power forward Rapolas Ivanauskas from Colgate will be eligible immediately to help second-year coach John Brannen with the transition. But getting Michigan transfer David DeJulius on the court next season would go a long way toward keeping Cincinnati in the AAC's top half during a retooling year. The former four-star prospect averaged 7 points, 1.5 assists and shot 36.1% from 3-point range off the bench as a sophomore for the Wolverines.

7. Minnesota

Player transferring in: Liam Robbins

There is no replacing Daniel Oturu, who averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a sophomore before declaring for the draft. But if there's anyone who fits the mold, both in stature and potential production, it's Liam Robbins. The late-blooming prospect evolved into one of the top players in the Missouri Valley Conference as a sophomore at Drake. Now, after averaging 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game this past season, he's filing a waiver for immediate eligibility with the Gophers. Minnesota's outlook for the 2020-21 season would improve considerably if the waiver is granted.

8. UCLA

Player transferring in: Johnny Juzang

This one didn't seem particularly urgent until the G League poached five-star guard Daishen Nix from UCLA's 2020 signing class. UCLA will still return plenty of talent for Mick Cronin's second season on the sideline. But having Juzang eligible immediately would help replace the production the Bruins were planning on getting from Nix, especially if last season's leading scorer Chris Smith stays in the draft. Juzang struggled to find a steady role at Kentucky as a freshman but at times he flashed the talent that made him the No. 33 overall player in the 2019 class.

9. Providence

Players transferring in: Brycen Goodine, Ed Croswell

The Friars lose five seniors from their rotation but could curb the drop-off if Brycen Goodine and Ed Croswell are eligible immediately. Goodine, a guard, was a top-100 prospect in the 2019 class but didn't carve out much of a role in his freshman season at Syracuse. Croswell averaged 10 points and 7.3 rebounds per game at La Salle last season as as a sophomore and could immediately be a presence on the interior for a team that is projected to lack front court depth.

10. Arizona State

Players transferring in: Luther Muhammad, Holland Woods

The Sun Devils will already have a lot of mouths to feed if juniors Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr. opt to return for their senior seasons after exploring the NBA Draft process. That trio, combined with top-30 prospects Marcus Begley and Joshua Christopher, would make for a talented core. If Ohio State transfer Luther Muhammad and Portland State transfer Holland Woods are eligible immediately, there will be even more players expecting the ball in their hands next season. But if Martin and Verge opt to remain in the draft, having Muhammad and Woods eligible immediately would bring some nice relief for the Sun Devils.

Our Latest Stories