Five transfers that could be poised for breakout sophomore seasons

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The transfer portal is clearing out, as prospects identify their new college homes and gear up for the upcoming season. Among those players are a long list of top-100 prospects that, for one reason or another, unperformed as freshmen.

Today, Rivals national analyst Rob Cassidy explores five players that could be poised for breakout sophomore years based on talent as well as fit within their new system.

MORE: Hoops prospects stepping out of the shadows this spring


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LAYDEN BLOCKER, Arkansas to DePaul

Blocker was one of the most celebrated point guards in the 2023 class but had an up-and-down year as part of a volatile and underperforming Arkansas roster a season ago. As a freshman, he never carved out a consistent role but showed some flashes of the star he was as a senior at Sunrise Christian Academy. In fact, his per-40 numbers suggested he was possibly slightly under-utilized in Fayetteville.

The point is, Blocker wasn’t overwhelmed by SEC competition and should thrive in the Big East with a year of college development to his name. Blocker is poised to become a fan favorite as one of the leaders of a long-awaited new era at DePaul, where newly hired head coach Chris Holtmann is looking to erase the embarrassment of the Tony Stubblefield era, which ended following a disastrous 3-29 campaign a season ago.

The Blue Demons have nowhere to go but up, so it stands to reason that Blocker will be the catalyst of a significantly improved squad.


DENNIS EVANS, Louisville to Grand Canyon

Evans signed with struggling Louisville as a hyper-touted prospect but remains a bit of an unknown at the college level due to the fact that his playing time was limited in the seven games he played before being shut down for health issues that were never fully explained.

Evans was one of the top shot-blockers in the high school ranks before signing with the Cardinals and will immediately provide Grand Canyon with a rim-protecting presence.

His offensive potential remains tantalizing even if he is still a bit raw. That said, there’s a good chance the 7-foot-1 center will find footing right away in the Phoenix, as he has the upside and skill set to grow into a legitimate star in his new surroundings.


JAMIE KAISER, Maryland to Butler

A strong, big-bodied wing that was known for the ability to fill it from deep in high school, Keiser’s numbers at Maryland didn’t reflect the way he played as a prep standout, as he shot just 26.9 percent from the floor and 26.5 percent from three in 19.5 minutes per contest.

Still, there’s reason to believe those numbers are, at least in part, the product of a small sample size and the fact that there never seemed to be a defined or constituent role for the freshman in Kevin Willard’s system.

Kaiser projects as a possible starter at Butler next season, however, and will play a major role for the Bulldogs if he’s able to regain the shooting form he showcased during his time as a high schooler.


SCOTTY MIDDLETON, Ohio State to Seton Hall

A top-60 prospect in the class of 2023, Middleton is a Florida-born guard that appeared in 30 games as a freshman at Ohio State last season. But he never put things together in the way Buckeye fans had hoped. He started to find some footing late in the season, once head coach Chris Holtman was ousted, and replaced by interim head coach Jake Diebler.

The late-season improvement combined with the fact that there will be plenty of playing time up for grabs at Seton Hall, which lost a significant chunk of its backcourt production to the portal, suggests Middleton could see a massive jump in production at his new home.

Middleton will bring some much-needed long-range shooting to Shaheen Holloway’s roster, as the newest Pirate connected on 45.2 percent of the 62 3-pointers he attempted last season.



T.J. POWER, Duke to Virginia

Power found himself on the wrong end of an incredibly crowded roster after signing with Duke last season and wound up playing just seven minutes per contest as a freshman in Durham. Still, the former five-star prospect is still equipped with the tools that made him a highly touted recruit and possible pro prospect down the road.

Power’s game is that of a modern, floor-spacing big man that is capable of filling it from deep as well as in the paint, which may allow him to eventually bust his way onto draft boards.

It’s his length, agility and defensive versatility, however, that make him a great fit for Virginia, which places massive value on two-way players. Power projects as an instant-impact player for head coach Tony Bennett, who could help Power burst back onto the national scene as a sophomore.