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Biggest impact transfers in college basketball so far this season

The 2023-24 college basketball season is underway. We take a look at transfers who have made an early impact.

Allstate Maui Invitiational - Day Two Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The college basketball season is underway, and the path to March is still wide open. While there are still plenty of games to be played, we’re taking a look at which transfers have made an automatic impact on their new teams.

Hunter Dickinson, Kansas Jayhawks

Dickinson was a major player as the big man at Michigan, and has quickly fit in at Kansas this season. Dickinson leads the team in points per game (20.2), rebounds per game (12.3), and steals per game (1.4). The Jayhawks are 7-1 and the second-ranked team in the nation.

Meanwhile, Michigan is struggling without Dickinson, sitting at 4-4 to start the season. The Wolverines’ field goal percentage has been the deciding factor in all four of their losses. Dickinson may have seen this development coming and hit the road — Michigan failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament last season.

Max Abmas, Texas Longhorns

Abmas played four seasons at Oral Roberts before transferring to Texas, where he is averaging the most points per game (16.7) on the team so far this season. He also ranks second in assists per game (4.0). The Longhorns are 6-1 and rank No. 12 in the AP Poll.

Oral Roberts sits at 3-4 to start the season. Abmas was a two-time Summit League Player of the Year winner during his time there, and a one-time NCAA season scoring leader. To lose that kind of player takes a big hit on a smaller-league team like ORU, and their loss is the Longhorns’ gain.

Kel’El Ware, Indiana Hoosiers

Ware came to Bloomington out of Oregon and has quickly made a statement as a star at IU. Ware leads the team in points (17.7), rebounds (9.6), and blocks (1.6) per game. IU is 6-1 to start the season.

Ware has quickly transformed into a leader for this Hoosiers team, who will have their sights set on the program’s first ever Big Ten Championship Game title a few months from now.

LJ Cryer, Houston Cougars

Cryer came to Houston after three seasons at Baylor and leads the Cougars in points per game by a significant margin. Cryer averages 17.8 points per game, and the next-highest scorer on the team is averaging 11.5 points per game. The Cougars have started the season undefeated and rank third in the nation.

Baylor is faring fine without Cryer, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t making a huge splash for this Cougars team. Houston fell just short of an AAC title game last season, but the jump to the Big XII hasn’t fazed them — they are tied with Baylor at 8-0 atop the conference. Cryer will have a chance to prove his worth against his former teammates in February.

Grant Nelson, Alabama Crimson Tide

Nelson transferred from North Dakota State, and leads the 5-2 Tide in rebounds with 7.0 per game. He averages 14.3 points per game, as well, the third-most on the team through the first seven games of the season. He adds 1.7 blocks per game on average. Nelson was named to the First Team All-Summit League in 2023 as well as the Summit League All-Defensive team.

Jameer Nelson Jr, TCU Horned Frogs

Nelson has been a huge defensive force for the undefeated Horned Frogs this season. He leads the team in steals per game with 3.1 on average, and leads the team in assists with 4.1 per game. Nelson began his career at George Washington before heading to Delaware for two seasons. He replaced Mike Miles Jr. for the Frogs, leaving him with some big shoes to fill.