Ranking college basketball’s top 2022 transfers: Brandon Murray picks Georgetown over Tennessee, Illinois

Georgetown landed the commitment of one of college basketball’s top transfers of the 2022 offseason on Monday when former LSU shooting guard Brandon Murray chose the Hoyas over Tennessee, Illinois and others. Murray averaged 10 points per game for the Tigers as a freshman last season and also excelled as a defensive weapon for an NCAA Tournament team.

Considering Georgetown is coming off a 6-25 (0-19 Big East) season, getting a player of Murray’s caliber off the gate is huge for embattled coach Patrick Ewing. With last season’s leading scorer, Aminu Mohammed, testing the waters of the NBA Draft, Murray could play a prominent offensive role right away for the Hoyas.

Murray played his final season of high school basketball at IMG Academy in Florida, but he’s originally from Baltimore, which means something of a homecoming awaits for the former four-star prospect. His commitment is also a sign of how Ewing’s hiring of former LSU assistant Kevin Nickelberry is paying off. After serving as interim coach for LSU in its NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Iowa State last month following the firing of Will Wade, it took less than a week for Nickelberry to accept a position on the Georgetown staff.

The Washington DC native spent nine seasons as head coach at Howard before serving with Wade for the last three. Clearly, his relationship with Murray helped Ewing close the deal with a player with plenty of opportunities on more recent successful programs to take advantage of.

College basketball’s transfer portal has been buzzing with activity since early March, when seasons ended en masse for teams eliminated from their conference tournaments. However, now that the season is officially over, the sport’s collective attention may shift from the 2021-22 season to the 2022-23 season, and that means monitoring the transfer market.

Here’s a look at the 15 potential impact player transfers.

1.Nickel Package

Old School: state of kansas

Pack earned All-Big 12 first-team honors as a sophomore and finished third in the league with 17.4 points per game. His 3-point shooting percentage of 43.6% last season was particularly strong. Considering he also shot 40.5% from deep his first year and is averaging 6.9 attempts from deep in his career, Pack might be the best shooter from the gate who has consistently shown that against elite defenses. He can do more than just shoot though, and he should be able to play a key role for a major team next season.

2. Terrence Shannon Jr.

Old School: texas tech

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard increased his 3-point shooting mark to 38.4% this season while averaging 10.4 points for a Texas Tech team that took Duke all the way in the Sweet 16. Given the program he comes from, he already you know he can play defense. Offensively, he probably could be a 15-point-per-game type of player if given 30 or more minutes per game in the right system.

3. Brandon Murray

Old School: LSU | New school: georgetown

In the midst of the transition from Will Wade to Matt McMahon at LSU, there is a large group of players from both LSU and Murray State, McMahon’s old school, on the move. Several of them are good enough to end up as impact players on NCAA Tournament teams. Of the group, Murray stands out because of the size of him as a well-built 6-foot-5 guard with two-way skills. Although he played off the ball his freshman year, he showed distribution prowess with nine assists in an SEC Tournament win over Missouri. Ultimately, he’s a versatile guard who hit double figures as a true freshman for an NCAA Tournament team known for defending him. That’s a winning formula in portal season. Georgetown’s hiring of former LSU assistant Kevin Nickelberry appears to have given him a huge advantage in recruiting Murray after the Hoyas struggled to a 6-25 record last season.

4. Andre Curbelo

Old School: Illinois

Curbelo’s sophomore season never got off the ground after a concussion-related issue prevented him from building an outstanding freshman season. Still, any coach who believes in his ability to develop Armaria point guards would be thrilled with the opportunity to help Curbelo reach his full potential. The former top 50 prospect from the class of 2020 averaged 4.2 assists in just 21.5 minutes per game as a freshman, and he showed prowess to beat defenders on the dribble and finish inside the arc. Rotation issues, a lack of 3-point shooting and his second season overall are all legitimate red flags. But the potential reward will outweigh the risks of a program that needs a top guard.

5. Manny Bates

Old School: State of North Carolina

A shoulder injury in NC State’s season opener ruled Bates out for the year. However, if he can get back to the form he showed in his sophomore year, he could be a great starter for an NCAA Tournament-caliber team. The 6-foot-11 menace led the ACC in blocks during the 2020-21 season and hit a ridiculous 4.9 shots per 40 minutes during his two seasons of play with the Wolfpack. He hasn’t shown 3-point shooting in his career, but he’s a reliable finisher around the rim who should be one of the best shot-blockers in the nation next season, regardless of where he plays.

6.Tanner Holden

Old School: Wright State | New school: Ohio State

Those who watched Holden go 3-for-11 and finish with 12 points in Wright State’s NCAA Tournament first-round loss to No. 1 seed Arizona probably weren’t impressed. However, his three-year body of work for the Raiders is phenomenal, and his junior season made it clear that he can handle college basketball in a big way. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 20.1 points per game and finished second in Division I with 280 free throw attempts. He’s not much of a 3-point shooter, but Holden is adept at finding his spots inside the arc and attacking, leading to points in the charity slot.

7. Courtney Ramey

Old School: Texas

After four seasons in Texas, 128 games and 106 starts, Ramey is in the doorway. It will be strange to see him in another uniform, particularly if he ends up playing in a more dynamic, guard-friendly system. The 6-foot-3 guard is a proven shooter and secondary ball handler who scored 1,275 points during his time with the Longhorns. His best season came during the 2020-21 campaign, Shaka Smart’s last as Texas coach. Ramey averaged 12.2 points per game on 41.4% shooting from 3-point range before struggling in the postseason that season.

8. Fardaws Aimaq

Old School: utah valley

Aimaq averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds for a 20-12 Utah Valley team in 2021-22, and he started showing off his outside shooting by shooting 43.5% of his 46 attempts from 3-point range. He averaged just 1.2 blocks per game against WAC foes, which translates to decent rim protection from a player his size. But Aimaq is a legitimate fifth tranche who seems capable of helping a great quality program with points and rebounds as a starter next season.

9. KJ Williams

Old School: Murray State

Williams increased his production each season during a stellar four-year career at Murray State. Last season, he averaged 18 points and 8.4 rebounds for a team that went 31-3 and earned the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He’s not much of a shot-blocker for a 6-foot-10 player, but he makes up for it with a 35.5% career 3-point shooting percentage. Offensively, Williams certainly appears to have the skills of a great starting center.

10. Johni Broome

Old School: Morehead State

Broome is a monster shot-blocker who finished third nationally with 131 blocked shots this season, putting him ahead of the likes of Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Duke’s Mark Williams, Arizona’s Christian Koloko and Saint Peter’s KC Ndefo. But he’s also a skilled post player who has come up with monster offensive games in OVC Tournament title games the past two seasons.

11. Sears brand

Old School: Ohio | New school: Alabama

After earning First Team All-MAC honors during a breakout sophomore season, Sears returns to his home state of Alabama to help the Crimson Tide recapture their 3-point shooting prowess. Alabama ranked first among 14 SEC teams in 3-point attempts, shooting and percentage in 2020-21, but fell to 12th in percentage last season. Sears shot 40.8% of his 3-point attempts for a 25-10 Ohio team and led the Bobcats with 19.7 points per game.

12. Norchad Omier

Old School: State of Arkansas

The Sun Belt Player of the Year is on the move after averaging 17.9 points and 12.2 rebounds for Arkansas State in his second year on 63.2% shooting from the floor. He doubled as the league’s defensive player of the year by blocking 1.9 shots and snagging 1.6 steals per game. The only question is, at just 6-foot-7 and no 3-point shooting, how will Omier fit in with his new team? It will take a thoughtful coach to maximize Omier’s unique game at a higher level of competition.

13 and 14. Makhel Mitchell and Makhi Mitchell

Old School: Rhode Island | New school: Arkansas

Makhel and Makhi Mitchell began their careers in Maryland before transferring to Rhode Island and leading the Rams in scoring, rebounding and blocks last season. Makhel is an excellent shot-blocker at 6-foot-10, while the 6-foot-9 Makhi is a bit more versatile. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman will once again have a roster full of new players next season. But Musselman is a portal guru coming off back-to-back Elite Eight appearances, and the bet here is that one or both of the Mitchell brothers will play a key role on another top-tier Arkansas team.

15. D’Maurian Williams

Old School: Gardner-Webb | New school: texas tech

You’ve probably never heard of D’Maurian Williams, but Texas Tech coach Mark Adams prefers substance to style, and Williams brings a lot of substance. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 14.5 points and shot 39.3% from 3-point range as a sophomore at Gardner-Webb and played some of his best basketball down the stretch. Adams used the portal to perfection in his first season with a crop of players who transferred from lower levels and played in the Big 12. Williams seems capable of doing the same.

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