As college basketball programs around the country wait to see if their recently added transfers will get eligibility waivers for the 2020-21 season, there is another group of transfers waiting in the shadows. The crop of players who sat out the 2019-20 season because of transfer rules features several players who could be starters on teams with NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Traditional powers such as Virginia, Arizona, Michigan State and Villanova are among the schools that will have the services of at least one key sit-out transfer in the 2020-21 season as transferring continues to rise in prevalence throughout the sport.
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Although NCAA rules are expected to change in the coming years to allow players to transfer once without sitting out a season, some coaches don't mind having their incoming transfers sit for a season. It allows them to acclimate to a new system and get a feel for what their role will be once eligible.
Here are the top 10 transfers who will be eligible for the 2020-21 season after sitting last season due to NCAA transfer rules:
1. Sam Hauser, Virginia
Old school: Marquette
At 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Hauser brings a physical profile resembling that of graduated forwards Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key, who were first and third in scoring for Virginia last season. But Hauser's outside shooting makes him a likely upgrade. He hit 44.5 percent of his 3-pointers in three seasons at Marquette before deciding to transfer along with his brother, who will suit up for Michigan State. Outside shooting was a deficiency for the Cavaliers last season and Hauser should help fix that in his final season of collegiate eligibility.
2. James Akinjo, Arizona
Old school: Georgetown
The Wildcats are losing seven of their top eight scorers -- four seniors and three freshmen -- from last year's 21-11 team. So the addition of a proven producer in Akinjo will be huge. The former top-100 prospect transferred from Georgetown seven games into his sophomore season. That means he'll have to sit out games in the fall semester. But the former Big East Freshman of the Year will likely be a starter and key player once he's able to join the team for Pac-12 play.
3. R.J. Cole, UConn
Old school: Howard
Predicting how Cole's production will translate to the Big East is a challenge. But the 2019 MEAC Player of the Year should have ample opportunity to prove he's an upper-echelon college talent. Key guards Christian Vital and Alterique Gilbert have departed, clearing the way for Cole to step into a starting role after averaging 22.5 points, and 6.2 assists per game in two seasons at Howard.
Old school: South Dakota State
If you're looking for a Mountain West transfer to make an impact nationally like Malachi Flynn did at San Diego State last season, David Jenkins Jr. is the player to watch. Jenkins averaged 19.7 points on 45.3 percent 3-point shooting as a sophomore at South Dakota State. Now, he's followed his former coach, T.J. Otzelberger, to UNLV. It should be a spot where he can shine.
5. Joey Hauser, Michigan State
Old school: Marquette
Joey Hauser split with his brother, who is headed to Virginia, and will resume his career at Michigan State after averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a freshman at Marquette in the 2018-19 season. The Spartans return plenty of talent from last season's 22-9 squad, but the younger Hauser is a 6-9 forward who can hit 3-pointers, and he could play a key role over the next three seasons for the Spartans.
6. Caleb Daniels, Villanova
Old school: Tulane
Daniels was a star for a truly terrible Tulane team as a sophomore in the 2018-19 season before deciding to transfer. Now he'll try and translate his game from one of the worst teams in college basketball to one of the best. If all goes well, the 6-4 guard could be the only new starter for a Villanova team that went 24-7 last season. He won't average 16.9 points per game like he did as a sophomore at Tulane, but he should be a solid, all-around producer for one of the country's best teams.
Old school: UNLV
Texas Tech is getting attention for landing Marcus Santos-Silva, Mac McClung and Jamarius Burton in this year's transfer cycle. But don't sleep on Ntambwe, who sat out last season as a transfer from UNLV. The 6-8 forward proved to be a good rebounder while averaging 11.8 points on 38.6 percent 3-point shooting in the 2018-19 season. Now he's in position to compete for a starting job on a remade Red Raiders team with high hopes.
Old school: Delaware
Pittsburgh ranked last in the ACC in 3-point shooting percentage last season. Horton should help after hitting 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers on 5.8 attempts per game as a freshman at Delaware. Jeff Capel signed a five-man recruiting class to help remake the roster as he enters his third year. But the group mostly consists of forwards, meaning Horton could have an opportunity to start in the backcourt and provide the outside threat the team lacked last season.
Old school: Saint Joseph's
Bynum is a point guard who was productive at Saint Joseph's as a freshman. The Friars are retooling a bit after losing five of their top eight players from a team that finished the season on a six-game winning streak to position itself for an NCAA Tournament bid before the event's cancellation. Getting two key transfers eligible should help coach Ed Cooley with the transition.
10. Noah Horchler, Providence
Old school: North Florida
At 6-8, Horchler is a voracious rebounder and good shot blocker for his size. He's also a serviceable outside shooter with one season left to play. He's got a chance to be a starter on an NCAA Tournament team if things go well at Providence after he averaged 16 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game at North Florida in the 2018-19 season.