They are rarely household names on the national scale, but graduate transfers have been key cogs on some of college basketball's top teams in recent years, and the 2020 recruiting cycle brought another wave of coveted veterans to the market.
As the dust begins to settle on the graduate transfer wire, here are 15 players headed to new spots in college basketball projected to make a significant impact on their new teams.
1. Matt Haarms
Old school: Purdue | New school: BYU
His productivity dipped a bit this past season as a junior at Purdue, but the 7-foot-3 center will clearly be an impact player at BYU after choosing the Cougars over Texas Tech and Kentucky. There was no better rim protector on the graduate transfer market this season. Haarms still needs to improve on a career rebounding average of 4.4 per game. But it's a safe bet that he'll develop under BYU coach Mark Pope, a rising star in the profession who was a quality college big man at Washington and Kentucky before playing in the NBA.
2. Carlik Jones
Jones will likely be an immediate starter for a Louisville team set to lose several key contributors. He was named Big South Player of the Year after averaging 20 points, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals while hitting 40.9% of his 3-pointers as a junior this season. And he did it for a winning team, too, as Radford captured a share of the Big South title as it continued to rise under coach Mike Jones.
3. Bryce Aiken
Following three standout seasons under Tommy Amaker at one of the Ivy League's top programs, Aiken is taking his game to one of the sport's top conferences after missing most of the 2019-20 season with an injury. The 6-foot guard won't be able to fill the shoes of graduated All-American Myles Powell on his own, but as a smart veteran guard with great shooting range, he should able to help keep the Pirates relevant in the Big East amid the graduation of three starters.
4. Seth Towns
Old school: Harvard | New school: Ohio State
Like Aiken, Towns' time at Harvard was derailed by injury. But if he can regain the form he showed in the 2017-18 season, he'll make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes as a floor-stretching forward with defensive versatility. Towns is expected to have two seasons of eligibility in what amounts to a homecoming for the Columbus, Ohio native.
5. Romello White
Old school: Arizona State | New school: Ole Miss
At 6-8 and with no history as a 3-point shooter, White made the right move by opting to stay in college basketball after initially declaring for the draft following his junior season at Arizona State. He may not be a serious NBA prospect, but he's a solid college player who will have a chance to be a leader for an Ole Miss roster undergoing a makeover. White averaged 10.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for the Sun Devils last season.
6. Justin Smith
Old school: Indiana | New school: TBA
The 6-7 forward will provide instant leadership and production wherever he lands after leading the Hoosiers in minutes during his junior season. Smith averaged 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game over a three-year span at Indiana in which he steadily grew his role and his production.
Old school: Cal State-Northridge | New school: San Diego State
Buckle up, because this could be a fun partnership to watch. Gomez is a career 43.6% 3-point shooter, and he likes to take a lot of them. Now he's joining a program with a place in the national spotlight after it racked up 30 wins this season relying heavily on transfers Malachi Flynn, Yanni Wetzel and KJ Feagin. The Aztecs will be replacing all three if Flynn remains in the NBA Draft, which opens the door for the 5-8 Gomez to light it up on a national stage in the same way Flynn did this season.
Old school: Rider | New school: Ole Miss
An Ole Miss program that struggled to a 15-17 record this season after winning 20 games and making the NCAA Tournament in coach Kermit Davis' first year will be looking to White and Vaughn to help get it back on track. With leading scorer Breein Tyree graduating, Vaughn is likely to step in and play a key role after he averaged 14.8 points on 39.3% 3-point shooting for a good Rider team last season. At 6-5 and 220 pounds, Vaughn's defensive versatility and knack for steals should make him an impact player even if his offense is slow to translate.
Jackson could make an immediate impact in the ACC as a stretch four with a 38.6% career 3-point mark. He should have an opportunity to start with center Nik Popovic graduating and forward Jairus Hamilton transferring out of BC. As a sixth-year senior (he started his career at DePaul), look for Scott to provide quality leadership after spending three seasons in a successful program at Rider.
10. Vance Jackson
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman has a quality track record with transfers from his time at Nevada and is already building on that reputation as he enters year two at Arkansas. A small-ball big like Jackson should be a great fit for his undersized attack. He's no rim protector, but Jackson can grab rebounds and stretch the floor as he demonstrated at UConn in 2016-17 and in the past two seasons as a major producer at New Mexico.
Vance Jackson filled the stat sheet again— Brandon Ortega (@Brandega) January 20, 2019
13 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast
4th double-double of the season
9th straight game scoring in double figures@UNMLoboMBB beat Wyoming 83-53
Highlights on @KOB4 @LoboInsider @VanceJackson1 @NMGameDay #NewMexico pic.twitter.com/QVvNYt9Z3U
11. Justin Kier
Old school: George Mason | New school: Georgia
The door is open for someone to shine at Georgia as the Bulldogs reboot following the departures of Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds for the draft and the graduation of a group of contributing seniors. Kier is a versatile guard who should be able to help on offense and defense after averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals for George Mason as a junior in the 2018-19 season. An injury cut his 2019-20 season short.
12. Jalen Tate
Old school: Northern Kentucky | New school: Arkansas
Predicting how Musselman will fuse four freshmen and two transfers with the returning roster is a challenge. But his history suggests he'll have a plan, and Tate figures to be big part of it. The lanky wing is a potential All-SEC defender who can distribute, rebound and, if necessary, score. He'll have a chance to do it all for the Hogs after three great seasons with one of the Horizon League's top programs.
13. Mike Smith
Old school: Columbia | New school: Michigan
It's hard to gauge exactly how good Smith is considering the load he had to carry for a Columbia team that finished 6-24 overall and last place in the Ivy League. But even though he'll come nowhere close to replicating the 22.8 points per game he averaged last season, he should still be a key player for the Wolverines. His role will be even bigger if traditional transfers Chaundee Brown and Nojel Eastern do not receive waivers for immediate eligibility.
14. Cartier Diarra
Old school: Kansas State | New school: Virginia Tech
There should be ample opportunity at Virginia Tech for Diarra to build on his breakout junior season at Kansas State. The 6-4 guard averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 assists and 1.8 steals for the Wildcats. Second-year Hokies coach Mike Young likes to play several guards, and Diarra figures to be one of his primary options.
15. E.J. Anosike
Old school: Sacred Heart | New school: Tennessee
Anosike led a 20-win Sacred Heart team in scoring and rebounding last season, and at 6 foot 6 and 245 pounds, his physique and playing style conjure memories of Grant Williams' time at Tennessee. He won't be a star for the Vols like Williams. But he should be a force in the paint for a team that will have plenty of other scoring options.