NCAA Free Agent Tracker: March 31st Edition

It’s back and better than ever! Welcome to the NCAA Free Agent Tracker. This is Paint Touches’ sixth year of covering the NCAA basketball graduate transfer market. Every player listed here is eligible for either the Graduate Transfer Exception or the Graduate Transfer Waiver, meaning they will be immediately eligible for their new teams in the 20-21 season. This year, Paint Touches is also tracking regular transfers on a separate list.

We are in weird place with the transfer market. The current pandemic ended March before it even had a chance to begin. With over 550 transfers already in the portal, we are blowing last year’s pace out of the water. However, if you consider that it has almost been 4 weeks since the last game was played, we are actually on track for a lower rate of transfer than we have seen in years. Several big free agents are off the board already but there is still plenty to go around. There are 13 out there currently that I could see starting for almost any program and another 20 or so beyond that they could have a role for most high majors. Marquette seems to be in on half of them. Expect Marquette to hit the grad transfer market hard and land between 1 or 2 free agents for next year’s squad.

Committed before we could rank em:
E.J.Anosike (Tennessee)
Nate Johnson (Xavier)
Rich Kelly (Boston College)
Kevin Marfo (Texas A&M)
Seth Towns (Ohio State)
Patrick Tape (Duke)
Kobe Webster (Nebraska)
Isaiah White (USC)

1. Carlik Jones- 6’1” 180 lb RSJR PG from Radford
Basic Stats: 33.0 mpg, 20.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.3 tpg, 51.5 2P%, 47 3pm, 40.9 3P%
Advanced Stats: 53.1 eFG%, 2.3 OR%, 16.1 DR%, 36.1 ARate, 2.3 S%, 0.7 B%, 13.5 TOrate, 44.1 FTRate, 31.6 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Redshirted his freshman season
Who’s Involved?: Committed to Louisville
Bottom Line: Big South Player of the Year and former Big South Freshman of the Year. He has been a player since he stepped on the court for the Highlanders. Can score every which way and boasts an ast% that was top 25 in the country. Match that with a TORate south of 14% and you have the makings of an elite floor general. Should have his pick of programs, a true impact grad transfer. There is a steep learning curve between the Big South and any high major conference, but the advanced stats scream that he is a player who can successfully make that leap. Is considering returning to Radford and making the leap to the NBA.

2. Cartier Diarra- 6’4” 190 lb RSJR SG from Kansas State
Basic Stats: 31.3 mpg, 13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 3.2 tpg, 50.5 2P%, 51 3pm, 30.5 3P%
Advanced Stats: 48.3 eFG%, 2.4 OR%, 12.7 DR%, 32.6 ARate, 3.5 S%, 1.3 B%, 22.6 TOrate, 32.3 FTRate, 27.2 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Sat out his freshman year after season ending knee surgery
Who’s Involved?: Committed to Virginia Tech but also declared for NBA Draft
Bottom Line: Either the best or second-best player on the worst team in the Big 12. Put up big scoring and assist numbers despite a limited supporting cast and facing top defenses night in and night out. Crafty slasher who can get to the hoop when needed. Poor 3P shooter last season, but the potential is there. Shot 40% as a RSSO. Turnovers are a problem for him, an ugly 22.6 TORate that was even worse in conference play. This was his first season playing point. His ARate was top 50 in country but the 2G is his more natural position. His dedication was publicly questioned by the media after cameras caught an animated sideline argument between him and Coach Weber. Also testing the NBA waters. If he returns and transfers could be a valuable piece for any team. A potential mid-major superstar or a 3rd or 4th best player on a quality high major.

3. Bryce Aiken Jr- 6’0” 175 lb SR PG from Harvard
Basic Stats: 32.8 mpg, 22.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.0 bpg, 3.5 tpg, 46.5 2P%, 51 3pm, 39.8 3P% (18-19 stats)
Advanced Stats: 52.8 eFG%, 1.3 OR%, 6.8 DR%, 15.1 ARate, 2.9 S%, 0.0 B%, 23.9 TORate, 45.9 FTRate, 35.2 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Sprained his foot his senior year after only appearing in 7 games. In addition, he missed 31 games to injury in his sophomore and junior seasons. Ivy league rules prohibit redshirts.
Who’s Involved?: Maryland, Seton Hall, Michigan, Iowa State
Bottom Line: A former top 100 recruit who became one of the best scorers in the ivy league. High usage, high scoring, a poor man’s Markus Howard. Could provide instant offense for anyone. Can play the point but is more of 2G in a PG’s body. Key will be his health, he’s only finished one season without missing significant time.

4. Jordan Bruner- 6’9” 205 lb SR PF from Yale
Basic Stats: 32.4 mpg, 10.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.7 bpg, 2.5 tpg, 51.9 2P%, 32 3PM, 32.3 3P%
Advanced Stats: 50.0 eFG%, 6.5 OR%, 25.2 DR%, 22.0 ARate, 1.9 stl%, 5.9 bpg%, 21.2 TORate, 24.9 FTRate, 21.6 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Tore a meniscus before his sophomore season. Ivy league rules prohibit redshirts.
Who’s Involved?: Baylor, Maryland, Alabama are his final 3
Bottom Line: An elite defender and rebounder who will be able to pick any school in the country. Offensive numbers in the ivy league were average though he possesses excellent vision and passing ability from the forward position. He was the best player for a top 60 KenPom team but will need to adjust to size and speed of high major players. Used as a forward at Yale but his future is at the wing. Also testing the NBA waters.

5. Justin Turner- 6’4” 205 lb RSJR SG from Bowling Green
Basic Stats: 32.3 mpg, 18.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.1 tpg, 45.4 2P%, 39 3PM, 36.1 3P%
Advanced Stats: 46.7 eFG%, 2.4 OR%, 12.1 DR%, 16.8 ARate, 1.3 S%, 0.9 B%, 12.4 TORate, 37.6 FTRate, 28.4 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Sustained a season ending injury four games into his freshman campaign
Who’s Involved?: Marquette, Missouri, Iowa State are his final 3
Bottom Line: Three-year starter for one of the better programs in the MAC, one of the more solid mid-major conferences. Not just a starter but a member of an All-MAC team each of his first three years. A high scorer who does most of his work off the bounce. Has always been accurate from three but never a high volume three-point shooter. Gets to the line often and converted over 85% of his attempts last season. Dominant scorer but average rebounder, distributor or defender. Will start for any of his 6 finalists and provide good scoring punch.

6. Mike Smith- 5’11” 180 lb SR SG from Columbia
Basic Stats: 37.7 mpg, 22.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.0 bpg, 3.0 tpg, 47.4 2P%, 62 3PM, 33.9 3P%
Advanced Stats: 48.2 eFG%, 1.3 OR%, 11.2 DR%, 30.2 ARate, 2.3 S%, 0.0 B%, 13.5 TORate, 26.0 FTRate, 33.9 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Tore his meniscus 8 games into his junior season. Ivy league does not allow redshirts
Who’s Involved?: Gonzaga, Seton Hall, Michigan, Arizona, and others
Bottom Line: An offensive dynamo in a tiny package. Finished 6th in scoring this past season while racking up assists despite a weak supporting cast. Even with Smith’s heroics, Columbia finished with just 6 wins and a sub 300 offense. You can look at this in one of two ways, either Smith scored a lot because he had to and will struggle in a better league…or put him on a team with better weapons around him and he will be all the more deadly. The stats seem to suggest the latter. Defense will always be a concern for any 5’11” player, especially one used to guarding ivy league athletes. Could be a perfect fit for any high major lacking scoring from the PG position.

7. Dimencio Vaughn- 6’5” 220 lb RSJR SG from Rider
Basic Stats: 31.6 mpg, 14.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.8 bpg, 2.2 tpg, 51.9 2P%, 35 3PM, 39.3 3P%
Advanced Stats: 53.9 eFG%, 5.8 OR%, 17.4 DR%, 12.9 ARate, 3.2 S%, 3.1 B%, 17.0 TORate, 44.1 FTRate, 22.8 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Endured a season ending injury 9 games in to his freshman campaign
Who’s Involved?: Committed to Ole Miss
Bottom Line: Three-year starter for one of the best programs in the MAAC. Two-time all-conference selection. Advanced stats love him. Rebounds a lot, steals a lot, blocks a lot, does everything your team needs to get a win. Very strong, athletic, and downright mean wing with highlight reel dunks and an ability to step back and sink a three. Biggest question mark will be how he handles upgraded competition. Games against Wisconsin, Temple, and Arizona State did not go well for Vaughn as he was held to 11 points or fewer with poor shooting in all three. Could be a mid-major star or start for a high major in need of an upgrade on the wing.

8. Jalen Tate- 6’6” 170 lb RSJR SF from Northern Kentucky
Basic Stats: 30.2 mpg, 13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 2.7 tpg, 55.6 2P%, 8 3PM, 18.2 3P%
Advanced Stats: 50.2 eFG%, 5.6 OR%, 13.8 DR%, 26.6 ARate, 3.4 S%, 1.8 B%, 19.9 TORate, 44.3 FTRate, 27.1 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Had season ending surgery on his hand 8 games into his freshman year
Who’s Involved?: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Xavier, Wichita State, Tulane, Utah State, Penn State, Duquesne, and others
Bottom Line: Defensive player of the year in the Horizon conference. Was selected to the Horizon’s All-Defensive team in all three of his full seasons at Northern Kentucky. Hellacious defender, kind of guy you can stick on anyone who plays the 1, 2, 3 or 4 position. On offense, played that role of a point forward. Very good court vision and distribution ability. Could get in trouble with turnovers when he was pushing. Biggest drawback is his struggles from the three-point line, went 8/44 this past season. There is room for hope, he did shoot 24/59 (40.7%) his RSSO year. Would help any high major in need of a defensive boost.

9. Amauri Hardy- 6’2” 190 lb JR PG from UNLV
Basic Stats: 34.6 mpg, 14.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.4 tpg, 47.6 2P%, 63 3PM, 27.3 FTRate, 33.3 3P%
Advanced Stats: 48.8 eFG%, 1.6 OR%, 9.3 DR%, 20.5 ARate%, 1.2 S%, 0.6 B%, 17.4 TORate, 27.3 FTR, 23.4 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Graduated in 3 years.
Who’s Involved?: Marquette, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Memphis, Arkansas, Maryland, Seton Hall, Missouri, Cincinnati, Butler, Washington, Wake Forest, TCU, and others
Bottom Line: Was part of TJO’s double point guard attack for a top 100 UNLV squad that was trending in the right direction to end the season. A true combo guard who can play either guard position. His minutes and usage were at career highs this past season but most of his advanced stats took a small hit with the increased usage. Put on a squad with better weapons around him and decreased usage could lead to new levels of efficiency. His younger brother Jaden Hardy is a top 10 recruit in the class of 2021. Unless Amauri redshirts or Jaden reclassifies they won’t play together…but landing the older brother couldn’t hurt a team’s chances with the younger one. Kentucky is currently considered the team to beat for the younger Hardy’s services.

10. Vance Jackson- 6’9” 220 lb RSJR SF from New Mexico
Basic Stats: 27.2 mpg, 11.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.1 tpg, 52.0 2P%, 50 3PM, 34.2 3P%
Advanced Stats: 52.1 eFG%, 5.4 OR%, 16.3 DR%, 8.4 ARate, 2.0 S%, 1.2 B%, 20.0 TORate, 34.0 FTRate, 21.5 POSS%
How did he become grad eligible?: Transferred from UConn to New Mexico after his freshman year, taking a mandatory redshirt year
Who’s Involved?: Committed to Alabama
Bottom Line: Started for UConn as a FR before becoming a starter for the Lobos. Was a key player on a team that started 15-3 with a win over Wisconsin before injuries and suspensions derailed their season. Used as a center out of necessity in Albuquerque but would be significantly better playing as 4. Long and lean defender with ability to guard on the perimeter or in the post. Made 1 less 3P FG than 2P FG last season. A true stretch 4 who can cause matchup problems on the offensive end. Lobos liked to play fast with Jackson beating opposing centers down the court in transition. Would have a role on any high major and could be a key piece for a team needing depth at 4 or 5 position.

20 other free agents worth watching:
Brendan Barry- 6’2 180 SR PG from Dartmouth
Dontay Bassett- 6’9 236lb RSJR PF from Florida
Ryan Betley- 6’5 200lb SR SG from Penn
Drew Buggs- 6’3 195 lb RSJR PG from Hawaii
Evan Cole- 6’9 217lb JR PF from Georgia Tech
EJ Datcher- 6’10 255lb SR C from Mississippi State
Ceasar DeJesus- 6’2 190lb RSJR SG from UCF
Devin Gage- 6’2 190lb RSJR PG from DePaul
Gorjok Gak- 6’11 244lb RSJR C from Florida
Jalen Harris- 6’2 166 lb RSJR PG from Arkansas
Brandon Johnson- 6’8 200lb RSJR PF from Western Michigan
Jalen Johnson- 6’6 196lb RSJR SG from Tennessee
Mattias Markusson- 7’3 261lb SR C from Loyola Marymount
Ryan Murphy- 6’2 185lb RSJR PG from Pittsburgh
Darius Perry- 6’2 195 lb JR PG from Louisville
Jock Perry- 7’1 250lb RSJR C from Saint Mary’s
Abel Porter- 6’3 200lb RSJR PG from Utah State
Fred Scott- 6’8 230lb RSJR PF from Rider
Taurean Thompson- 6’11 235lb RSJR PF from Seton Hall
Eli Wright- 6’5 190lb RSJR SG from Western Kentucky

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Categories: Offseason, Recruiting

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic


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