NCAAW: Transfer Tracker
The Transfer Portal has hit new heights in the 2023 off-season. All-Americans have entered, grad transfers are going under the radar, and for the first time in over a decade, the top-ranked recruit in a class has decided to transfer. Parsing through the portal and cross-matching with our database, we can add a great deal of context to storylines of all shapes and sizes.
First and foremost; the Number One Recruit in the class of 2022, Lauren Betts, is in the portal out of Stanford. Most importantly, I hope Betts finds a new opportunity she feels good about and that she feels she can blossom in.
As first posited by Mitch Northam on Twitter, Betts is the first number one ESPN-ranked recruit to transfer since Elena Delle Donne (class of 2008). For reference, every top-ranked recruit has been drafted in the first round of the WNBA Draft when they enter other than Christyn Williams, who still went 14th overall.
To add an even further layer of context, let’s look through our database to filter for highly impactful freshmen in smaller roles. Setting thresholds for DSI (75>), minutes per game (15 or less), 20% usage or higher, and for Power 5 conferences + the Big East, we narrow in on an eye-opening set of individual seasons. Virtually every player on this list was an impact rotation player on a deep NCAA Tournament team, providing significant defensive impact, while also carrying a non-significant level of offense. Shout out to Ashlyn Watkins and Teya Sidberry, both of whom are players to be cognizant of next season.
Lauren Betts is the story here.
As Stanford’s season rounded out, Betts played an increased role, averaging 17 minutes per game over their last 7 regular season contests. She scored in double digits four times and showcased one of the most promising and potentially dominant skill sets in basketball. Her rim protection pops even in short stints, and while her pick-and-roll defense is still raw, the ceiling is literally and figuratively unlimited as a deterrent in the paint.
At 6’7 with great touch around the basket, Betts commanded double and even triple teams often as her role expanded. With that came more opportunities as a playmaker.
While I wouldn’t expect Betts to make a crosscourt skip any time soon, her growth and comfort on that end really impressed. The ability to make the right read after drawing help with her budding scoring gravity should not go underappreciated. Wherever she lands, both the tape and data paint her as a program-changing player.
Shifting from the Pacific Coast to the Mid-West, Darrione Rogers is an intriguing player worthy of buzz. While her former teammate Aneesah Morrow (also in the portal out of DePaul), is headlining understandably, Rogers impresses. Her profile shifted a great deal, bumping from 16% usage last year to 24.4% this season, taking on a larger offensive burden with Lexi Held’s departure. While Rogers’ efficiency understandably took a hit, we saw her playmaking ability and creation chops shine through (DePaul was ranked 38th in offensive rating in D1 this season).
Rogers possesses fantastic flexibility, part of what makes her so lethal as a creator. Alongside a fairly creative and shifty handle, she creates space well and routinely out of side steps, step-backs, and a variety of ball-screen heavy combinations. She actually shot equally this season (32%) on pull-up and stationary jumpers, something worth following next season: Per Synergy, Rogers took 325 jumpers this season with 54.7% of them taken off the dribble.
Her volume was supreme and necessary for the Blue Demons this season: 42.2% of her taken threes were off the dribble per Synergy Tracking. However, her range wasn’t found inside the arc as a pull-up shooter (25% on ~3 per game). In a slightly smaller role or with more experience, does her efficiency and efficacy as a shooter even out?
Rogers brings activity and some versatility as a defender as well. It’s difficult to parse through one of college basketball’s messiest defenses, but there is the framework of a solid defender with what Rogers brings to the table. She has some real ability to navigate screens, play against other wings with physicality at the POA, and adequate help defense.
With her passing, especially out of pick and roll, it’s easy to see Rogers being a highly impactful secondary player who can initiate offense and act as a connector as well at a Power 5 school. There’s room to grow as a primary as well. As with any pick and roll-based creator, burgeoning scoring potential unlocks further and further ability to attack with playmaking.
Filtering for an above average, but not overwhelming PSP (55 to 70), high volume three-point shooter (3PE > 70), plus playmaking (FGS > 70), above average defensive threshold (DSI > 75), paint scoring limitations (ATR < 70), and usage between 20-24% (secondary or tertiary ball-handler), you field a query of comparison for Rogers. Gina Conti (20-21 Wake Forest), Tyasha Harris (19-20 South Carolina), and Sydney Wiese (15-16 Oregon State) all resemble Rogers’ stat profile.
That’s good company to keep and paints a picture of a player who could wind up a high-level contributor at her next school, and potentially as a pro if she continues on this developmental trajectory.
Sticking in the Mid-West, but jumping to a non-Power 5 team, Jocelyn Tate transferring out of Bowling Green is a player to keep on the radar that could jump up in competition. By cycling filtering through our D1 data set for the “Point Forward” archetype amongst all conferences and for freshman/sophomores, you get an extremely interesting group, including Tate.
Amongst the search query, Angel Reese, Aneesah Morrow, Sonia Citron, Rayah Marshall, and Adalia McKenzie stand out amongst 23 others who meet the criteria when setting a usage threshold (20% or higher).
That’s not to say Tate is automatically going to become an All-American, but rather to point out that this point-forward track is rare and star-studded. Given how developable jump-shooting has become viewed as and what it further unearths in development, finding and noting the players who bring the remaining skills at a young age to round out further on can be game-changing for your organization/team. Bowling Green was phenomenal this year, winning 30 games, making the Fab 4 in the WNIT, and boasting one of the best offenses in the country. They finished top 20 in assists per game this season, predicated on a high-pace, well-spaced aggressive attack.
Tate can score in a multitude of ways. Part of what makes her such an effective power wing (much like her brother Jae’Sean) is the decisiveness she attacks with as well as her array of counters. She’s comfortable with early seals and quick spins. She can operate as a high post hub and DHO partner, attacking downhill off of denied actions. She can receive the ball herself in pistol sets. She can mash drives into post ups and back into drives again. Her aggression with the ball makes her a lethal foul drawer. On top of that, she brings quick and high-velocity passes and decisions, although sometimes risky. She has a strong handle with a good first step. She attacks the glass with gumption.
On the defensive end, she has remarkably quick hands, a lengthy wingspan, good lateral quickness and functional strength: She is not just versatile in theory but in utility. She can guard on the ball, stunt as an off-ball defender, cover ground at a high level, and still has room to improve her technique. Tate can impact a rotation immediately, and with continued development as a shooter and scorer, the upside she has is tantalizing.
To round out, another Ivy League Grad transfer could be one of the premier portal entrees this season. This season, Abby Meyers was instrumental for Maryland, stepping in as an immediate plus starter and helping the Terps to the Elite Eight after 4 seasons at Princeton.
Kaitlyn Davis, two time First Team All-Ivy member at Columbia, is in the portal.
When flipping our Point Forward search to the senior class, Davis pops. When boosting PSP and FGS to narrow the search (60 PSP and 65 FGS) to more polished scorers and facilitators, Davis is in a high-end class: Haley Jones at Stanford, Jordan Horston at Tennessee, and Dorka Juhasz at UConn amongst others.
At 6’ and a strong athlete, Davis is slightly undersized at the 4, but her craft and feel make her stand out. Columbia operated a great deal out of the elbows and high post this season, working to create cutting and driving lanes as well as creating open shooting pockets and setting up actions borne out of their shooting prowess.
Davis has a silky pull-up jumper she utilizes inside the arc when DHO’s are denied. In spite of her lack of shooting from outside she’s able to create her own shot comfortably with a strong handle, downhill guile, and deft touch in the paint and around the rim. Her playmaking and court vision pop in the halfcourt, particularly on drives, but her ability to create in early offense and transition is excellent.
Any team/school that wants to get out and run, that’s seeking a creative, efficient, and versatile offensive player should be (and likely is) in on Davis.