Sixteen transfers who will make the biggest impact this season

Nigel Williams-Goss, a transfer from Washington, is expected to be one of Gonzaga’s leaders this season (AP)

Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at transfers most likely to make an immediate impact next season. Check back the next five weeks for more college hoops preview content.

1. Austin Nichols, Virginia (from Memphis)

Comment: While Virginia lost big men Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey to graduation last spring, the Cavaliers have a very promising replacement. The 6-foot-9 Nichols averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds as a sophomore at Memphis and blocked 3.4 shots per game, third most in the nation. He should provide interior scoring and make Virginia’s always-stingy defense even tougher to score on around the rim.

2. Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga (from Washington)

Comment: From Kelly Olynyk to Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga players have consistently made the most of a redshirt year. The latest example could be Williams-Goss, a former McDonald’s All-American who averaged 15.6 points and 5.9 assists his final season at Washington. The 6-foot-3 junior is expected to start alongside fellow point guard Josh Perkins and play both on and off ball.

3. Marcus Foster, Creighton (from Kansas State)

Comment: If Foster can avoid the disciplinary issues he experienced at Kansas State and become a more efficient scorer, he has all-Big East potential. The promising 6-foot-3 shooting guard averaged 15.5 points per game as a freshman and 12.5 as a sophomore. He’ll be counted on to bring instant offense to a Creighton team with NCAA tournament aspirations.

4. Andrew White III, Syracuse (from Nebraska)

Comment: Almost four months after learning that Malachi Richardson would stay in the NBA draft, Syracuse landed a heck of a replacement. White is a 6-foot-7 wing who averaged 16.6 points per game at Nebraska last season. The graduate transfer took more shots than any other Huskers player last season and sank a lot of them — 41.2 percent of his 3-pointers and 55.7 percent of his twos.

5. Marcus Marshall, Nevada (from Missouri State)

Comment: The first player to commit to Eric Musselman is a potential difference maker. Marshall, one of the nation’s best shooters, averaged 19.5 points and sank 45.6 percent of his threes as a junior at Missouri State. The 6-foot-3 combo guard’s arrival is a huge reason Nevada is expected to challenge San Diego State for the Mountain West crown and contend for an NCAA tournament berth.

6. Kyle Washington, Cincinnati (from NC State)

Comment: Although Washington flashed promise offensively at NC State, his playing time eroded late in the 2014-15 season because his defense wasn’t good enough. He improved during his redshirt year at defensive-minded Cincinnati while also displaying a knack for finishing through contact and knocking down a mid-range jumper. As a result, he’s the likely heir apparent to Octaveus Ellis in the Bearcats’ frontcourt.

7. Terry Larrier, UConn (from VCU)

Comment: While Daniel Hamilton’s ill-advised decision to turn pro was a blow to UConn, the Huskies can take solace that his replacement shares a lot of similar traits. Like Hamilton, Larrier is a spindly 6-foot-8 swingman touted as a top 50 prospect in high school. He has added some much-needed muscle since his lone season at VCU and should be able to pick up some of the scoring and rebounding slack created by Hamilton’s departure.

8. Semi Ojeleye, SMU (from Duke)

Comment: At long last, Ojeleye’s chance to shine has arrived. The skilled forward who left Duke four months before the Blue Devils captured the 2015 national title sat out the rest of that season and all of last year. Now he’s expected to emerge as the centerpiece of an SMU frontcourt that lost both Marcus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert to graduation last spring.

9. Shannon Evans, Arizona State (Buffalo)

Comment: Evans’ decision to follow former coach Bobby Hurley to Tempe could be huge for the Sun Devils. The speedy 6-foot-1 guard established himself as one of the best guards in the MAC as a sophomore at Buffalo, averaging 15.4 points and 4.6 assists. Evans will likely start alongside fellow point guard Tra Holder and share ball handling duties this season.

10. Eric Paschall, Villanova (from Fordham)

Comment: Here’s a list of the four Atlantic 10 freshman of the year winners preceding Paschall: DeAndre Bembry, Semaj Christon, Kendall Anthony and T.J. McConnell. If Paschall goes on to make a similar impact the next few years, Villanova will be very happy. The former Fordham star is a dynamic scorer and capable rebounder who should see time off the bench at both forward positions this season.

11. Manu Lecomte, Baylor (from Miami)

Comment: Offensive rebounding masked many of Baylor’s offensive issues the past few years, but the Bears may no longer have that luxury with Rico Gathers having graduated. Lecomte, Baylor’s likely starting point guard, could help with that. He shot 45.6 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore at Miami and he’s quick and shifty enough to grow into a playmaking role off the dribble.

12. Jordan Mathews, Gonzaga (from Cal)

Comment: Mathews averaged 13.5 points per game last season, shot 41.6 percent from behind the arc and would have been Cal’s leading returning scorer had he opted to come back. The 6-foot-3 graduate transfer instead could be a perfect fit at Gonzaga, where his outside shooting and ability to space the floor will complement a strong frontcourt and a pair of slashing point guards.

13. Evan Payne, Long Beach State (Loyola Marymount)

Comment: The 49ers have a newcomer capable of replacing Nick Faust’s 17.4 points per game. Payne averaged 18 points as a sophomore at LMU and scored in double figures in all but five games he played. The 6-foot-1 Ohio native should instantly be one of the best players in the Big West and one of the nation’s most prolific mid-major scorers.

14. Montague Gill-Caesar, San Diego State (from Missouri)

Comment: Athletic swingmen with the versatility to play multiple positions have thrived at San Diego State in recent years. The latest example could be Gill-Caesar, a 6-foot-6 wing who started his first 13 games as a true freshman at Missouri and averaged 12.4 points before injuring his back. If he stays healthy, the four-star prospect should provide instant offense for an Aztecs program in need of scorers.

15. Josh Newkirk, Indiana (from Pittsburgh)

Comment: Is Newkirk capable of replacing Yogi Ferrell as Indiana’s starting point guard? The Hoosiers certainly hope so considering he’s the only true point guard on their roster. The Pittsburgh transfer is a capable passer and defender, but he averaged just 5.9 points per game as a sophomore for the Panthers and he’s coming off microfracture surgery.

16. David Collette, Utah (from Utah State)

Comment: Though Collette won’t be eligible to play for Utah until mid-December, he should be worth the wait. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks as a freshman at Utah State and will be counted on to help fill the void left by Jakob Poeltl’s departure to the NBA. Collette is one of two potential impact transfers at Utah along with former SMU point guard Sedrick Barefield.

Sixteen other transfers to watch: Shaqquan Aaron (USC), Canyon Barry (Florida), Deandre Burnett (Ole Miss), Pascal Chukwu (Syracuse), Josh Cunningham (Dayton), RaShid Gaston (Xavier), Tony Hicks (Louisville), Jaron Hopkins (Fresno State), Cullen Neal (Ole Miss), Rodney Pryor (Georgetown), Marcquise Reed (Clemson), Andrew Rowsey (Marquette), Kethan Savage (Butler), Elijah Thomas (Clemson), Jevon Thomas (Seton Hall), Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga)

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!