The share of minutes played by transfers in major conference men’s basketball programs jumped in 2021-22 compared to the previous season, as both the overtime season was awarded eligibility due to the pandemic and NCAA accreditation of the one-time transfer rule Revenue sports have changed the overall landscape of the game.
Transfers accounted for 40% of the minutes played on major conference programs last season, up from 25% the year before. Even a 25% figure from 2020-21 represents a significant increase from the level of minutes earned from transfers prior to the pandemic. The change was deep and fast.
No team embodies this trend in 2021-22 better than Florida. The Gators gave 89% of the minutes available for transfers. Colin Castleton (who arrived at UF via Michigan), Flanders Fleming (South Charleston), Terry Appleby (Cleveland State), Anthony Dorogi (Louisiana Tech), merrion jones (Pennsylvania state), Brandon Maksic (Kansas City) and CJ Fielder (Boston College) ranked seventh among the top nine scorers in Florida.
The Gators will likely once again show a heavy eye in the move in 2022-23 under head coach of the year Todd Golden. Castleton, Jones and Felder are expected to return, and the UF will add upcoming transfers Tree Bonham (from VMI), Kyle Lofton (Saint Bonaventure), Will Richard (Belmont) and Alex Fudge (LSU).
While Florida was out of the ordinary in 2021-22, the trend across college basketball was evident. Last season, at least 24 major conference teams, roughly a third of all schools, gave more minutes to transfers than players who originally signed with the program out of high school.
A look at the highest percentages of minutes played by transfers on major conference programs during the 2021-22 season:
1- Florida: 89%
2- Minnesota: 84%
3- Wake Forest: 73%
4- Oklahoma: 71%
5- Arkansas: 70%
6- Nebraska: 68%
7- Providence: 67%
8- Washington: 66%
9- Kentucky: 65%
Texas Tech: 65%
11. TCU: 63%
12. Arizona: 61%
Seton Hall: 61%
15. Boston College: 59%
16- Texas: 58%
17- Oregon: 57%
18- Iowa: 56%
19- Depol: 55%
20- Georgia: 54%
21. USC: 53%
22. Auburn: 51 percent
Ole Miss: 51%
Coach Chris Bird generated a fair amount of publicity before the start of last season by signing a number of high-profile transfers in Texas. Once the final numbers are recorded, it turns out that Longhorns is the least Texas’ transportation-based Big 12 program, ranking behind both Texas Tech and TCU.
As recently as the 2019-20 season, there were still 13 major conference programs that did not award any transfer minutes: Duke, Georgia, Kansas State, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, Utah and Villanova .
In just two years, that number had dwindled to three.
Here are the lowest percentages of minutes played by transfers in major conference programs for 2021-22:
1. Colorado: 0%
4. Duke: 7%
5. Rutgers: 10%
7- Iowa: 11%
9- Villanova: 13%
10- Michigan: 15%
Stanford, in particular, was a stark exception to the rule of greater reliance on transfers. As mentioned earlier in this series, the last person to take the floor for the Cardinal after earning minutes for a different four-year program was Santa Clara player Andrew Zimmerman in 2011-12.
Over the past decade that has spanned the tenures of Johnny Dawkins and Jerrod Haas, Stanford has instead relied entirely on the players it originally signed. However, this solo race appears to be coming to an end.
In May , School announced You signed the first graduate transfer in Stanford men’s basketball history, former Davidson player Michael Jones. It seems that even the Cardinal can no longer resist the shift towards transfers.
If there was an equivalent of Stanford avoiding conference-level transfers, it would be the Big Ten. In three of the past four seasons, the league has scored the fewest of any major conference for the quota of minutes given to transfers. In fact, as of the 2018-2019 season, transfers made up only 8% of the minutes played in the Big Ten.
However, as we saw above, Minnesota and Nebraska ranked No. 2 and 6, respectively, among the major conference programs for the share of minutes played by transfers in 2021-22. In fact, both the Golden Gophers and the Cornhuskers have consistently relied on transfers in recent years.
Simplifying the data by looking at the past four seasons reveals that Nebraska is the only major conference program to have given more minutes to transfers (51%) since 2018-2019 than players originally signed by the Cornhuskers (49%). Iowa ranks second with a 50-50 split between transfer minutes and those scored by players originally caught with the Hurricanes. Minnesota is third with transfers playing 46% of the available minutes since 2018-2019.
Of course, any ranking of programs that give big transfer minutes over the past few seasons will correlate well with the list of teams that have made training changes recently. (Very good but not quite. In 2019, Michigan hired Joan Howard, who gave the lion’s share of minutes to players originally signed by the Wolverines.)
On the other hand, looking only at coaches who held the same positions for at least five seasons reveals which programs were more inclined towards transfers as an option rather than just a means.
Highest percentages of minutes played by transfers in major conference programs with no change in training, 2018-19 to 2021-22:
1- Oregon: 39%
2. USC: 38%
3. Clemson: 37%
4- Baylor: 36%
Georgia Tech: 36%
6. TCU: 33%
7. North Carolina: 32%
8. Arizona: 31%
Seton Hall: 31% (under Kevin Willard)
Dana Altman (Oregon), Andy Enfield (USC), Brad Brownell (Clemson), Scott Drew (Baylor) and Josh Pastner (Georgia Tech) have all shown similarly high levels of discretionary activity on the transfer front over the past four seasons. Drew, of course, did just that while also winning the 2021 National title.
Transfers Davion MitchellAnd the Maceio TeagueAnd the Adam Flagler And the Jonathan Chamoa Chachwa Together they account for 52% of the minutes scored by Baylor players that season. (Jared Butler Originally committed to Alabama but never quite fit in with Crimson Tide. As a result, Butler does not meet the definition of transport used here.)
If the 2021 Bears National title heralded a new era of transfer-intensive teams, the 2021-22 season that followed made it clear that this new era has come into full force. The numbers for playtime suggest that at the level of major conferences, transfer is truly the new normal.
Next in this series: View data on Outside-Transfers and look at the programs that release (birth? Donate?) the most talented.