Special to Sports News Highlights

(SNH) — Although the men’s college basketball season wrapped up in early April, the hype for next season is alive and well with plenty of action in the transfer portal.

These six programs have been the most active thus far, with many adjusting to new head coaches along with the departures of key pieces.

St. John’s University

Although St. John’s narrowly missed the NCAA tournament last season, head coach Rick Pitino has kept that positive momentum working by securing two huge transfers from the portal. In back-to-back days in early May, the team got point guard Deivon Smith (previously of Utah) and Kadaray Richmond (from Seton Hall).

Smith averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 boards, 7.1 assists and shot 40.8% from 3-point range against Pac-12 competition last season, while Richmond averaged 15.7 points, 7 rebounds and 5.1 assists in the Big East. The senior guard from Seton Hall was largely regarded as the No. 1 transfer remaining in the portal and was selected as first-team All-Big East.

The Red Storm went 20-13 last season including victories over Utah, West Virginia and Creighton.

Baylor University

The Bears were bounced by Clemson in the third round of the NCAA tournament but are already off to a strong start this offseason. Head coach Scott Drew recently locked up commits from former Florida big man Norchad Omier – a two-time All-ACC selection – and Duke transfer point guard Jeremy Roach.

Omier averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds for the gators last season and has averaged a double-double in each of his four previous college seasons. Roach started 108 games over four years for the Blue Devils and was selected as third-team All-ACC after averaging 14 points, 3.3 assists and shooting 42.9% from 3 as a senior.

Baylor went 24-11 overall last season and 11-7 in the Big-12.

University of Arkansas

Head coach John Calipari’s new conquest is beginning to take shape as he’s added several key transfers despite losing Khalif Battle to Gonzaga.

Florida Atlantic star Johnell Davis committed to join Calipari recently, although he is still going through the NBA draft process and has the option to join the NBA or head back to school. The AAC player of the year averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 boards while shooting 41.4% from 3 last season.

Tennessee’s Jona Aidoo also agreed to play for Calipari, remaining in the SEC after spending last season with the Volunteers. In 36 games, the 6-foot-11 Aidoo had 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game as a junior.

University of Kentucky

Nine-year head coaching veteran Mark Pope has big shoes to fill taking over for Calipari but is off to a great start with a new slew of transfers.

Pope secured commits from Dayton transfer Koby Brea and West Virginia transfer Kerr Kriss at the start of May, adding to a roster that already included Oklahoma’s Otega Owek, Drexel’s Amari Williams, Wake Forest’s Andrew Carr, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Garrison and San Diego State’s Lamont Butler.

Brea and Krissa add some much-needed perimeter shooting, with Brea going 49.8% on 3s last season and Krissa at 42.4% from 3 with 11 points and 4.7 assists during his campaign with West Virginia.

The Kentucky Wildcats went 23-10 overall last season and 13-5 in conference but were bounced in the first round of the NCAA tourney by Oakland.

University of Connecticut

Coming off back-to-back NCAA titles, the Huskies have not been dormant in the portal. With Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle heading to the NBA draft and Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer out of eligibility, head coach Dan Hurley has not wasted time.

Michigan Wolverines transfer Tarris Reed Jr. agreed to join the Huskies this offseason along with St. Mary’s guard Aidan Mahaney.

Reed averaged 9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks with Michigan last season, while Mahaney – a two-time first-team All-WCC selection – averaged 13.9 points and shot 37.5% from 3 over two seasons with the Gaels.

The Huskies also secured a commitment from five-star recruit Liam McNeeley shortly before Mahaney opted to transfer to UConn.

Indiana University

After narrowly missing the NCAA tournament last season, the Indiana Hoosiers are looking to build off their 19-14 season by securing two key transfers from the Pac-12.

Former Stanford freshman Kanaan Carlyle agreed to join Indiana in late April, shortly after Arizona’s big man Oumar Ballo agreed to play for Indiana head coach Mike Woodson.

Carlyle was a top-50 recruit in 2023 and averaged 11.5 points as a freshman. Ballo averaged 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds last season for the Wildcats.

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