basketball-men-d1 flag

Anthony Chiusano | | January 18, 2017

Top 7 transfers so far in the 2016-17 season

  Nigel Williams-Goss came over from Washington to Gonzaga to lead the last undefeated team in the nation.

Sometimes a change in scenery is needed to take your game to the next level. That's the goal for the hundreds of college basketball players who transfer each year.

Not all of these moving parts work out nicely for players or their new teams. But for a select few, there's the possibility of gaining a new star or important piece to the roster. 

Here are the top transfers who have shined with their new programs so far in 2016-17:

Nigel Williams-Goss | Gonzaga

Previous program: Washington

2016-17 statline: 15.2 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals

Williams-Goss, a 6-foot-3 guard, has been a huge part of the reason why Gonzaga is the last undefeated team standing in Division I men's basketball. He leads the Bulldogs in points per game and assists — the latter by a wide margin of 26 — and is just two rebounds behind the leader in that category. The former Husky has brought much-welcomed versatility and leadership to Spokane.

RELATED: 20 things to know about undefeated Gonzaga

Williams-Goss' point production has been right around par to his first two seasons in Washington where he averaged 13.4 and 15.6 points per game respectively. But the major improvement has been in his efficiency. He's shooting nearly 50 percent from the field this year and 41.1 percent from 3-point range — a 15.5 percentage-point improvement from last season. These numbers have partly risen thanks to having a deeper corps around him, which allows for smarter shot selection.

Williams-Goss is only a junior too, which means if he decides to stay for his senior season, Gonzaga will hit the gold mine in the transfer pool.

Marcus Foster | Creighton

Previous program: Kansas State

2016-17 statline: 18.1 points per game, 2.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Creighton has been one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season out of a resurgent Big East conference. The addition of Foster to the Bluejays' talented backcourt has certainly helped in their 18-1 start and rise to No. 7 in the AP Top 25.

Foster has natural scoring ability, top-notch athleticism and hops for a 6-foot-3 guard:

It's been a smooth transition from Kansas State to Creighton, as the Bluejays' leading scorer has unearthed the potential seen during his freshman season in Manhattan when he averaged 15.5 points per game. 

Foster's load just got a lot heavier, however, as backcourt mate and national leader in assists Maurice Watson Jr. was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, as announced Tuesday.

Canyon Barry | Florida

Previous program: College of Charleston

2016-17 statline: 12.8 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 0.4 blocks per game

It took a bit of a while for Barry to adjust to moving from the CAA to SEC, but it appears the senior guard has found his stride since the beginning of conference play.

Barry hit a midseason rut against ACC powers Duke, Florida State and Miami when he scored just 12 points combined and the Gators dropped two of those contests. But since then, the son of NBA legend Rick Barry has recovered with four straight double-digit outputs against SEC foes. 

RANKINGS: AP Top 25 | Poll reactions

Barry was 7-of-13 from the field for a season-high 27 points and seven rebounds in UF's latest overtime win over Georgia on Saturday. He also did a good job of getting to the free-throw line, finishing 8-of-8 from the charity stripe while shooting underhand like his father:

Barry's hot streak has corresponded with the Gators' seven-game winning streak and a rise to No. 19 in the latest poll.

Jordan Mathews | Gonzaga

Previous program: California

2016-17 statline: 11.1 points per game, 3.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Williams-Goss isn't the only newcomer to help Gonzaga along to a 17-0 start. Mathews was also added to the backcourt as a graduate transfer from Cal.

While Williams-Goss can do a little bit of everything, Mathews' biggest threat comes from deep range where he's an astounding 44-of-103 so far this year. Over his four-year career, Mathews has shot 41.7 percent from deep.

MORE: How important is it to pick correct Final Four teams in your bracket?

It didn't take long for Gonzaga's new and improved backcourt to mold into one of the most formidable — and experienced — in the nation. It's also worth mentioning that Gonzaga has a third valuable transfer in its starting lineup with forward Johnathan Williams, who adds 9.5 points per game. The Bulldogs have made a trio of valuable finds the past two offseasons.

Rodney Pryor | Georgetown

Previous program: Robert Morris

2016-17 statline: 17.7 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals

  Rodney Pryor put together a double-double against Oregon in a Nov. 21 upset.
It hasn't been the type of season the Hoyas (10-9) had hoped for, but they've got more than they could ask for in Pryor, their leading scorer.

Pryor's been a workhorse, averaging 32 minutes per game as a top scoring option and respectable rebounder. He exploded for 32 points in his Hoyas debut against USC Upstate and led Georgetown to an upset over then-No. 13 Oregon on Nov. 21 with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Georgetown has played tough against three of its four ranked opponents this season and could be a tough out in the Big East tournament if Pryor catches fire and puts together similar performances down the stretch.

Semi Ojeleye | SMU

Previous program: Duke

2016-17 statline: 17.7 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.5 blocks

Ojeleye never got much playing time for the Blue Devils, averaging just 10.5 minutes and three points per game during his sophomore year in Durham. But he's seized an opportunity at SMU and the talent has shown.

At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, Ojeleye is a force in the paint while also showing range from outside. Averaging 32 minutes of action per game, Ojeleye has three double-doubles this season and has failed to reach double digits in points just once — in a game against CSU Bakersfield, when he had nine points and eight rebounds. 

Ojeleye has quickly developed in his junior year, and the Mustangs are benefitting nicely from his arrival. SMU is 15-4 this season and picked up eight votes in the latest AP poll.

Andrew White III | Syracuse

Previous program: Nebraska, Kansas

2016-17 statline: 15.8 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game

  Syracuse is Andrew White III's third destination in his four years of college ball.
Syracuse has been one of the most inconsistent teams this year coming off a 2016 Final Four run, but newcomer Andrew White III has been as consistent as can be for the Orange.

Playing for his third school in four years, the graduate transfer has reached 15 points in five of his past six games. He's scored in double figures in all but one game, when he was held to just two points in a blowout loss to St. John's.

White's offense has been as good as advertised for the Orange while his defense has been an added gain. The senior has nine multi-steal games this year.

It may be too late for Syracuse to dig itself out of an 11-8 start to the year. But White has been an important piece in Syracuse's wins this year and could further emerge as a leader in the second half of the season.

College basketball: What is the Jimmy V Classic?

Here's what you need to know about the Jimmy V Classic, which is inspired by former North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator Jim Valvano and his fight against cancer.

The top 25 returning men's basketball players for the 2022-2023 season

After the NBA draft withdrawal deadline, Gonzaga has two of the top 25 returning players in the sport, according to Andy Katz.

College basketball rankings: Drew Timme's return sees Gonzaga rise in Andy Katz's Power 36

Drew Timme's return rockets Gonzaga from from 22nd to second in Andy Katz's college basketball rankings, made after the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners