Skip to content

Roster shuffling, portal moves prevalent throughout Pac-12 men’s basketball

Jan. 20, 2022- University of Colorado ...
The return to USC by guard Boogie Ellis, seen here battling former Colorado player Nique Clifford in a 2022 game in Boulder, helps make the Trojans the too-early favorite in the Pac-12 for 2023-24. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Bronny is coming to the Pac-12 Conference.

The son of NBA legend LeBron James, Bronny James’ commitment earlier this week to USC might have made the biggest Pac-12 headlines so far in two months since the 2023 league tournament wrapped up. Combined with one of the top incoming recruits in the nation, Isaiah Collier, plus the return of high-scoring guard Boogie Ellis, USC should help keep Los Angeles in the basketball spotlight during the final year in the Pac-12 for the Trojans and UCLA.

As usual, however, James’ commitment was just one of many aspects of wide-ranging array of roster shuffles, mostly through the transfer portal, already certain to make a major impact on the 2023-24 season.

The shuffling certainly isn’t done. Players who have entered the NBA draft pool have until May 31 to withdraw and retain their eligibility, and roster spots still have to be filled. Colorado, for instance, has question marks in both categories, with a roster spot still available and the final word still pending about Tristan da Silva’s likely but not-yet certain return to the Buffaloes.

And so, with the constant caveat that each team’s outlook remains in flux, here are the most notable offseason roster moves so far for each of the Buffaloes’ men’s basketball rivals in the Pac-12.

Arizona Wildcats

Point guard Kerr Kriisa has moved on to West Virginia. The door hasn’t shut on a possible return to Tucson by forward Azuolas Tubelis, who remains in the NBA draft and was invited to next week’s combine in Chicago, but he might have lucrative overseas options on the table as well. Pelle Larsson is in a similar boat amid the NBA draft waters with a much more likely chance of a return to the Wildcats. Arizona has added Alabama transfer Jaden Daniels but nothing else thus far via the portal.

Arizona State Sun Devils

DJ Horne left for North Carolina State. Devan Cambridge changed Pac-12 allegiances by moving to Oregon. Big man Warren Washington is in the portal and soon will find a new power conference home, perhaps as Hunter Dickinson’s replacement at Michigan. Coach Bobby Hurley has reinforcements on the way in a pair of LSU transfers (guard Adam Miller, who started all 33 games for the Tigers, and 7-footer Shawn Phillips), plus Louisville transfer Kamari Lands.

California Golden Bears

The Golden Bears’ biggest offseason acquisition was new coach Mark Madsen, last seen locally when his now-former Utah Valley club eliminated CU from the second round of the NIT at the Events Center on March 19. Not surprisingly, a roster overhaul is underway, with a handful of rotation players from this season’s 3-29 team exiting via the transfer portal — Joel Brown (Iona), Lars Thiemann (Loyola Marymount) and Kuany Kuany (undecided). On the way in are transfers from Texas Tech (Jaylon Tyson and Fardaws Aimaq), Northern Arizona (Jalen Cone), Portland (Mike Meadows) and Memphis (Keonte Kennedy). Aimaq thrived under Madsen in two seasons at Utah Valley, sweeping the WAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2021 and repeating as the Defensive Player of the Year in 2022.

Oregon Ducks

Coach Dana Altman and CU’s Tad Boyle are the Pac-12’s elder statesmen, headed toward their 14th seasons leading their respective programs. Yet while the Buffs have reason for optimism behind a solid returning core and one of the top incoming recruits in the nation in Cody Williams, Altman is trying to stave off a program downturn. Two of Oregon’s most talented players last year will play in the Big Ten next season, with Quincy Guerrier transferring to Illinois and Kel’el Ware moving to Indiana. The Ducks have added ASU’s Devan Cambridge and Kario Oquendo, this season’s second-leading scorer at Georgia, along with junior college All-American Jadrian Tracey. Yet Altman will lean heavily on an incoming recruiting class ranked 10th in the nation (per 247Sports) to keep the Ducks in their customary place among Pac-12 contenders.

Oregon State Beavers

Jordan Pope, a Pac-12 All-Freshman selection and a legitimate bright spot for the Beavers this past season, so far has opted to remain in Corvallis. Glenn Taylor Jr. won’t and instead will play for Rick Pitino at St. John’s. The Beavers’ only addition so far has been junior college guard Nate Meithof.

Stanford Cardinal

Somehow head coach Jerod Haase still has a job. He’ll try to keep it that way with a revamped rotation. Harrison Ingram suffered through a sophomore slump this past season, but he remains an NBA prospect who took his talents to North Carolina. Starting guard Michael O’Connell (undecided) and bench guard Isa Silva (Long Beach State) have hit the portal, although the Cardinal has added Providence transfer Jared Bynum.

UCLA Bruins

All four UCLA players invited to the draft combine — Jaime Jaquez Jr., Adem Bona, Amari Bailey and Jaylen Clark — all still have eligibility remaining, although Jaquez, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, already announced he will not return.  Point guard Tyger Campbell still has a year of eligibility but has indicated he doesn’t intend to return, although that was prior to not receiving an invite to the combine. Backup center Mac Etienne also entered the transfer portal this week and the Bruins have added Utah transfer Lazar Stefanovic.

USC Trojans

The Trojans took a hit with the transfer portal losses of promising freshman Reese Dixon-Waters (San Diego State) and Tre White (Louisville), but USC expects to reload behind a top-10 recruiting class that includes James, whose presence might finally bring a buzz to the Galen Center, and point guard Collier, ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class by 247Sports. The Trojans likely won’t have to lean too heavily on the youngsters thanks to the return of guard Boogie Ellis, a first team All-Pac-12 selection, and the addition of Washington State transfer DJ Rodman.

Utah Utes

The Utes are awaiting the decision of 7-foot center Branden Carlson, who entered the draft pool yet retained his eligibility. Carlson was not invited to next week’s draft combine. Stefanovic transferred to UCLA, yet the Utes so far have used the transfer portal to add height (former CU 7-footer Lawson Lovering) and an outside shooter (former Washington forward Cole Bajema).

Washington Huskies

The Huskies received a huge boost when Keion Brooks Jr. announced his intent to return, yet UW still is dealing with the portal losses of Bajema, promising freshman Keyon Menifield (Arkansas), PJ Fuller (undecided) and Noah Williams (undecided). Via the portal, the Huskies have added Anthony Holland (Fresno State), Moses Wood (Portland) and Sahvir Wheeler (Kentucky), the latter of whom is expected to take over at point guard. Wheeler and Brooks were teammates at Kentucky.

Washington State Cougars

The loss of Rodman to USC was just the latest blow to a Cougars team looking at a rotation rebuild. TJ Bamba moved to Villanova and Dishon Jackson transferred to Charlotte. Big man Mouhamed Gueye reversed back to WSU last year after testing the draft waters, but he is expected to remain in the draft pool this year. The Cougars have added Division II All-American Jaylen Wells out of Sonoma State University and Joseph Yesufu, who spent the past two seasons at Kansas and the two seasons before that at Drake, where he was the Sixth Man of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference for the 2020-21 season.