The portal was buzzing more than ever this past season, and that resulted in major roster turnover throughout much of the country. We take a look at eight teams that were celebrating following the closing of the portal, and eight more programs that got hit hard by departures.
CREIGHTON It’s not just that Greg McDermott and the Bluejays added one of the best portal entries in South Dakota State’s Baylor Scheierman, but they also retained everything of note from a team that nearly beat — without two key starters in Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Nembhard — the eventual national champion Kansas Jayhawks. Scheierman gives Creighton yet another shooter (47 percent from 3) and has terrific court vision and passing skills.
NORTH CAROLINA I know the Tar Heels brought back four starters from a team that nearly won the national title, but they also lost a huge piece from that group in skilled big man Brady Manek. This left a huge void, but Hubert Davis lucked into landing veteran forward Pete Nance (14.6 points and 6.5 boards per game last season at Northwestern), who showed he could make shots from the perimeter (45 percent from 3).
FLORIDA New coach Todd Golden and his staff did a nice job in the portal. They landed veteran point guard Kyle Lofton, who started 116 games in his career at St. Bonaventure, former Belmont guard Will Richard (12.1 ppg), ex-LSU forward Alex Fudge and guard Trey Bonham, who averaged 13.6 points last season at VMI.
BUTLER Thad Matta took over at Butler and added three transfers that will likely all start in Manny Bates (NC State), Ali Ali (Akron) and Eric Hunter Jr. (Purdue). Bates averaged 9.8 points, 5.9 boards and 2.7 blocks two years ago before missing all of last season due to an injury. Ali is a 6-8 senior who averaged 13.9 points and shot 41 percent from 3 last season for the Zips and Hunter is a veteran point guard who started 73 games over the past four years.
PROVIDENCE Ed Cooley has crushed it in the portal lately with guys like Al Durham, Noah Horchler and Justin Minaya all helping to take the Friars to the Sweet 16 last year. Cooley and his staff went to work again on the transfer market, landing Bryce Hopkins (Kentucky), Devin Carter (South Carolina), Clifton Moore (La Salle), Noah Locke (Louisville) and Corey Floyd Jr. (UConn). Hopkins was highly regarded coming out of high school, but didn’t play much as a freshman at Kentucky. Locke is a career 39 percent 3-point shooter, and fellow grad transfer Moore averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 boards last season at La Salle. Carter put up 9.0 points per game as a freshman at South Carolina, while Floyd is a former Top 100 recruit who sat out a year ago at UConn.
EASTERN MICHIGAN Emoni Bates hasn’t been as advertised, but Stan Heath is ecstatic to get someone of his ability in Ypsilanti. The former SI cover boy still averaged 9.7 points last season as a freshman at Memphis. Bates will have a talented point guard at EMU in Noah Farrakhan, and that should allow him to get back to what he does best: scoring.
WASHINGTON Mike Hopkins went out and was able to land Keion Brooks, who averaged 10.8 points and 4.4 boards as a junior at Kentucky, as well as Noah Williams, who averaged 14.1 points per game two years ago but struggled last season, still putting up 9.5 points per contest. The Huskies also added a defensive big man in Franck Kepnang, a former top-50 recruit who averaged 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.5 minutes last season playing behind N’Faly Dante.
MIAMI With a huge assist from booster John Ruiz, the ‘Canes replaced Kam McGusty, Charlie Moore and Sam Waardenburg with Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier. Pack got a two-year NIL deal worth $800,000 after averaging 17.4 points and shooting 44 percent from 3 last season at Kansas State, while Omier is an undersized big man who put up impressive numbers (17.9 ppg, 12.2 rpg) last season as a freshman at Arkansas State.
NORTHWESTERN If Chris Collins had brought back Pete Nance and Ryan Young, the Wildcats would have had a solid chance to get to the NCAA tourney. Instead, Nance went to North Carolina and Young transferred to Duke, and now Collins is extremely thin up front in Evanston.
OHIO Jeff Boals made the NCAA tourney two years ago with Jason Preston, and still found a way to win 25 games last season despite Preston leaving early for the NBA. Now he loses Mark Sears (19.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.1 apg) to Alabama and also watched Ben Vander Plas (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.1 apg) transfer to Virginia.
ST. BONAVENTURE Mark Schmidt and the Bonnies lost everyone except for Justin Ndjock-Tadjore — who scored a total of four points and grabbed two rebounds last season. Jaren Holmes (13.5 ppg) and Osun Osunniyi (11.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) went to Iowa State, Kyle Lofton (12.8 ppg) transferred to Florida, Dominick Welch (12.3 ppg) left for Alabama and all the reserves transferred, too. It’s a complete rebuild now in Olean.
SAINT PETER’S The Peacocks pulled the upset over No. 2-seeded Kentucky and then made a historic run to the Elite Eight. But it came with a price. Shaheen Holloway was hired by his alma mater, Seton Hall, and seven of the 10 players who logged minutes in the UK game — including all five starters — transferred elsewhere.
WRIGHT STATE Scott Nagy and the Raiders lost their top two scorers from last season, as Tanner Holden (20.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) went to Ohio State and Grant Basile (18.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg) left for Virginia Tech.
LSU Matt McMahon didn’t have much of a chance and actually did a decent job of bringing in guys, but Brandon Murray will likely be Georgetown’s best player, Eric Gaines will be a key piece for UAB, Efton Reid should be important for Gonzaga and Xavier Pinson could be New Mexico State’s leading scorer.
MOREHEAD STATE Preston Spradlin and the Eagles were all set to contend for the OVC title this season after finishing third with a 13-5 mark a year ago. They had four starters in Johni Broome, Skyelar Potter, Ta’Lon Cooper and Jake Wolfe all coming back. Then Broome decided to transfer to Auburn, Cooper left for Minnesota and Potter transferred to Jacksonville State. After getting crushed by the portal, Spradlin and his staff added six transfers of their own.
SOUTH CAROLINA New coach Lamont Paris didn’t have much of a chance to retain these guys, but he watched Devin Carter (9.0 ppg) go to Providence, Erik Stevenson (11.6 ppg) head to West Virginia, Jermaine Couisnard (12.0 ppg) transfer to Oregon, Keyshawn Bryant (8.7 ppg) go to South Florida and Wildens Leveque (6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Ta’Quan Woodley follow Frank Martin to UMass.