UNC and Kansas have the top players in our rankings of this season's top 12 transfers
The Tar Heels and Jayhawks have impact players who switched schools
There are plenty of players who have transferred to new schools and are looking to make an impact. Whether it be graduate transfers or undergraduates, a great deal of these players figure to play a significant role in the grand scheme of how their respective teams perform this season.
So here's a look at some of the transfers who could make an impact at their new homes in the 2017-18 season.
Quick note: These transfers include both graduate and non-graduate, but include only 2017-18 eligible athletes and do not include non-graduate level transfers who switched schools this offseason.
- Last school: Pittsburgh
Johnson averaged 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game last season for the Panthers, and he was a 41.5 percent shooter from behind the arc last season. He joins a Tar Heels team that finished 151st last season in three-point shooting percentage, which makes this fit -- and his projected impact on the reigning national champion Tar Heels -- a match made in heaven on paper.
Pitted alongside senior point guard Joel Berry, he could emerge as a go-to scoring option for a team desperate to replace Jackson's All-ACC level production and looking to return to a third-straight Final Four.
2. Malik Newman, Kansas
- Last school: Mississippi State
Newman, a former five-star point guard, has enjoyed quite the sideline training over the last year riding the pine and watching Naismith Player of the Year Frank Mason in Lawrence. But now he's up next after transferring from Mississippi State and sitting a season, and alongside Devonte' Graham, the duo should be part of the most formidable backcourt in the Big 12 -- and perhaps the country.
Newman is a big-bodied point guard who might see time off the ball with Graham in some lineups, or on the ball running the second unit. After averaging 11.3 points and 2.2 assists per game as a freshman two seasons ago, he might be ready to (finally) make a sophomore leap.
Wherever Hall of Famer Bill Self slots him, he should thrive in KU's guard-friendly system.
3. Dylan Smith, Arizona
- Last school: UNC-Asheville
As if preseason top-5 Arizona wasn't loaded enough with talent, the Wildcats will be welcoming talented transfer Dylan Smith to the mix after sitting a year due to NCAA transfer rules.
The former UNC-Asheville standout transferred to Tucson after a monstrous freshman season in which he averaged 13.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Bulldogs.
4. Al Freeman, NC State
- Last school: Baylor
Former Baylor guard Al Freeman could be a huge factor to what new NC State coach Kevin Keatts does in his inaugural season.
Freeman, a graduate transfer who averaged 9.4 points and knocked down 114 3-pointers in his Baylor career, is a versatile swingman who can defend all three guard positions and is a solid producer off the ball.
During his career, he's also thrived in high-usage on offense. In the 2015-16 season, the only one in which he averaged 30 minutes per game, his per-40 averages were 15.1 points and 4.5 rebounds. So given what the Wolfpack gave up to the NBA in Dennis Smith Jr. and Terry Henderson, he could be an impact scorer if needed and provides a veteran presence for a relatively young team littered with high-level talent.
- Last school: Sacred Heart
Similar to the aforementioned Robertson, Cincinnati's Cane Broome is making a massive leap in terms of competition and conference -- but the talent is certainly there for him to make an immediate impact.
Broome last appeared in action in the 2015-16 season for Sacred Heart where he earned NEC Player of the Year honors for his 23.1 point, 4.9 rebound per game production. For Cincinnati, Broome won't be the go-to guy right away -- but he will be yet another weapon for coach Mick Cronin, who welcomes back three of his leading scorers from a season ago.
6. Elijah Brown, Oregon
- Last school: New Mexico
Fresh off a magical run to the Final Four, Dana Altman's Oregon squad is hitting the reset button after losing several key contributors to the NBA. All told, Oregon is looking to replace its five top scorers from last season.
That's where New Mexico graduate transfer Elijah Brown should factor in to help smooth out the transition period.
Brown, who began his career with Butler, is a two-time All-Mountain West performer who averaged just shy of 19 points per game last season. And while his efficiency was down across the board last season, his scoring punch should prevent what might've been a major dropoff for Oregon in the Pac-12 race this season otherwise. He's one of two graduate transfers, along with ex-Illinois State standout MiKyle McIntosh, who will make an impact for the Ducks.
- Last school: Syracuse
Creighton's been a factory for squeezing production out of transfers in recent years, and Syracuse transfer Kaleb Joseph will team up with one of those in Marcus Foster next season.
After sitting last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Joseph's going to be a factor for the Bluejays in the backcourt to help replace what the team lost in Maurice Watson, and should provide some much-needed stability at the point guard position.
Joseph won't be relied on as a go-to scorer, but he's a playmaker who can take care of the ball and help run the Creighton offense. He won't need to be a world-beater, but he's a solid option at floor general alongside sophomore Davion Mintz.
8. Marcus Lee, California
- Last school: Kentucky
Former five-star big man Marcus Lee wasn't able to carve out a prominent role at Kentucky in his three-year tenure in Lexington, but after transferring to Cal last season, the 6-9 forward is ready to finally make an impact in the Pac-12 this season.
In Lee's final season with the Wildcats, he averaged 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks as a backup. So in his new role with the Bears replacing Ivan Rabb, he should see an uptick in production as his minutes – as well as the reliance on him as a scorer – increase in 2017-18. He could finally emerge as the five-star talent and versatile big man many pegged him to be out of high school.
9. Mark Alstork, Illinois
- Last school: Wright State
Making the jump from the Horizon League to the Big Ten is no easy task, but Mark Alstork -- a grad transfer who began his career at Ball State -- has plenty of experience under his belt to make the leap with ease.
The 6-5 Ohio native is a high volume scorer coming off a season in which he averaged 19.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists for Wright State. And in Brad Underwood's high-octane run-and-fun offense, he should do well replacing the departed Tracy Abrams.
The Illini are going to have an offense to fear in 2017-18, and Alstork will be a major factor in that transformation if Underwood's offensive fingerprint translates from Oklahoma State to his new home in Champaign.
10. Geno Thorpe, Syracuse
- Last school: South Florida
Syracuse lost three of its four top scorers from a season ago, so the presence of graduate transfer Geno Thorpe -- a guard who averaged 15.1 points per game average last season -- will be a welcome addition for Jim Boeheim and his staff.
The Cuse have a young, promising bunch led by Tyus Battle, so Thorpe, the high-volume scorer who began his career at Penn State, should be able to help the young Orange grow so long as he can adjust quickly to Syracuse's system.
Last season, Andrew White III blazed the same path Thorpe is preparing to take. And while it took White time to adjust to the coaching, schemes, and that vaunted zone defense, he eventually thrived and led the team in points scored per game. Thorpe could have a similar impact for Syracuse in 2017.
11. James Daniel, Tennessee
- Last school: Howard
Like other names on this list, Daniel is a proven scorer at the lower level and looking to make a leap to the Power 5.
Daniel had an incredible junior season at Howard in 2015-16 in which he averaged 27.1 points per game, but took a step back in the scoring department last season as he took on a larger role as a distributor and play-maker. At Tennessee, however, that scoring threat should return to a similar form thanks to the talents of two rising sophomore point guards in Jordan Bone and Lamonte Turner that will allow him to play off the ball.
- Last school: Canisius
Potential future No. 1 NBA Draft pick Michael Porter Jr. is drawing plenty of attention as one of the best talents to come through Missouri (and rightfully so), which means graduate transfer Kassius Robertson has flown under the radar this offseason. But Robertson's presence might also be of significant importance to the Tigers' success this season.
Robertson averaged 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season for Canisius, and should be a solid off-the-ball scoring option for new coach Cuonzo Martin in Columbia.
The youth movement is real at Mizzou, but if the team is going to transform the program from a team that went 8-24 to an NCAA Tournament team, Robertson will likely play a big role. Look for him to improve upon his uber-efficient 41 percent 3-point shooting season he produced at Canisius in 2016-17, even with the leap in competition playing in the SEC.
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