Four transfer prospects that could shine on their next team

For as maligned and flawed as college basketball’s transfer portal era has been, there are no shortage of success stories that have sprouted from it. Sometimes, a change of system and scenery can spark an underperforming prospect to a revitalization and change the trajectory of a career.

For proof, look no further than big man Kel'el Ware, who went from a reserve role as a freshman at Oregon to an All-Big Ten selection and projected first-round pick at Indiana this season.

So who could be this year's Ware, and see an enormous jump in production when he lands in his new digs? Rob Cassidy names and explores four candidates below


More: Programs that will benefit most in recruiting from Calipari's UK departure

2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2025 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

2026 Rankings: Top 100

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer search | Transfer tracker/player ranking (football) | Transfer team ranking (football) | Transfer tracker/player ranking (basketball) | Transfer team ranking (basketball) | Rivals Portal Twitter


Previous program: Iowa State

The highest-ranked recruit in Iowa State history, Biliew didn’t come near to living up to expectations during his freshman season. The former five-star averaged roughly seven minutes per game this season and just never found his footing on an Iowa State team that was among the best squads in the country all season.

Biliew has even publicly discussed struggling with the transition between high school and college ball. Still, his per-40-minute numbers are encouraging, as he averaged 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds on that front. Those numbers combined with Biliew's physical gifts suggest a mixture of increased playing time, a new system and a year of development could lead to a massive jump in production.

In fact, many of the indicators are eerily similar to the ones that surrounded Kel'el Ware when he left Oregon for Indiana last season. Ware, of course, went from a reserve role as a freshman to All-Big Ten selection and projected first-round pick after transferring last offseason.


© James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Previous program: USC

Patience, nuance and even common sense sometimes go out the window when fans discuss James, but most things about his career to this point suggest he could take a massive step forward as a sophomore should he withdraw from the NBA Draft and stay a second year in college.

Is James ready to make an impact on the NBA now? No, but he certainly could be in time if he decides to play another college season. Obviously, the cardiac episode the former four-star suffered before this season cost him time and stunted his development, and the pedestrian numbers he posted as a freshman don’t exactly scream “pro.”

Still, his skill set and projection as a possible 3-and-D guy suggest he could find a niche in the league one day. Even if he doesn’t even play in the NBA, however, he feels like a nice piece ready to help a high-major team next season. A fully healthy James with a year of experience under his belt could be a difference maker for a number of different teams next season.

Keep in mind, James didn’t really put it all together as a high school prospect until later in his career. Most expect Bronny to stay in the draft and pursue the goal of playing alongside his father, but a return to college and a change of scenery seems like the more reasonable decision.


© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Previous program: Providence

Dual battled some maturity issues early in his freshman campaign and was suspended briefly after throwing a punch in an early-season game with Kansas State. The real proof on that maturity front, however, was the fact that the talented Dual only managed six starts and averaged 3.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 18.6 minutes per contest. Dual is a physically imposing prospect that has the ability to be a truly elite defender when he’s motivated, but it’s his development as an offensive weapon that will determine how the rest of his career plays out.

His per-40 numbers aren’t super encouraging on that front but his measurables, massive wingspan and ability to truly awe-inspiring athletic plays suggest he could come on as a sophomore. If he becomes even a slightly more consistent jump shooter and figures out how to cut down on turnovers, he’ll give himself a chance to break out in his new home.


© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Previous program: Arkansas

A multi-talented guard that looked impressive, particularly on the defensive end, for short stretches during his freshman season, Blocker’s decision to leave Arkansas was based on a number of factors. Blocker hit the portal well before former Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman bolted for USC and is absolutely no threat to follow the coach to Cali.

Instead, Blocker will be in search of a more consistent role at a program looking for a lead guard with an elite motor and the ability to shine in transition. Blocker’s motor and defensive prowess should allow him to stay on the floor and shine as a facilitator for a program that doesn’t ask its point guards to carry a massive load from a scoring standpoint.

Blocker should break out in the right system, as being a high-level defender with tremendous feel and court vision will give him a chance to shine in his new surroundings.