Last season, the SoCon was one of the country’s top mid-major leagues, but as some coaches and players left, the question was if they’d repeat.
With players like Malachi Smith, Jake Stephens, Jalen Slawson, and Ques Glover entering either the draft or portal, it wasn’t looking strong. Luckily, the latter three returned; since then, more big-time players have joined the league.
Will a team reach the top 25 and will the league get its first NCAA Tournament win since 2019?
Here are the top 12 transfers in the SoCon for the 2022-23 season.
1. Jake Stephens C (VMI -> Chattanooga)
Standing at 6-10, Stephens was not only one of the best players in the SoCon to transfer, but one of the best in the country to do so. Following his head coach to Chattanooga, Stephens will bring nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from three. He did this at VMI, so he knows the SoCon. Stephens should have no problem doing it again.
2. Bubba Parham PG (Georgia Tech -> Samford)
Parham is making the jump back to the SoCon after two amazing seasons at VMI and an ACC Championship at Georgia Tech. During his sophomore season at VMI, Parham averaged 21.4 points per game while shooting 43% from the field and 40% from three. This past season at Georgia Tech he got even better with shot selection, shooting 58% from inside the arc.
3. Jamal Johnson SG (UAB -> Chattanooga)
Johnson played limited minutes this past season at UAB but was a stud the three seasons before at Memphis and Auburn. In 2020-21 he averaged 9.4 points per game at Auburn, scoring 21 points against Arkansas. He is one of four transfer guards for the Mocs on this list.
4. Carter Whitt PG (Wake Forest -> Furman)
Every big school was handing Whitt a scholarship out of high school. Choosing Wake Forest over the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Memphis, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia, and more, he played only 369 minutes this past season after a good finish to his true Freshman season. Bob Richey has landed a kid who can haunt the SoCon for years to come.
5. Keondre Kennedy SG (UMBC -> UNCG)
Kennedy grew every season on the Hilltop in Catonsville, culminating in being named to the America East First Team in 2021-22. He led the Retrievers in scoring with 15.1 points per game on 49.7% from the floor and 40.3% from three and should have no problem doing that for Mike Jones this next season.
6. Jalen Haynes (Virginia Tech -> ETSU)
The former four-star recruit was a walking double-double at the famed Montverde Academy, averaging 20.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. He only played 25 minutes at Virginia Tech but will have a lot of time to prove his worth in Johnson City.
7. Khristion Courseault (Houston Baptist -> Chattanooga)
You might not know the name now, but if you watch enough of SoCon basketball you will know it come conference tournament time. Courseault is not only an excellent scorer (17.2 PPG in the last nine games) but an excellent passer and defender. Khristion just needs to be more selective with his shots to enter the all-league conversation.
8. DeAnthony Tipler (Coastal Carolina -> ETSU)
Tipler transferred to ETSU before the start of last season but saw no playing time. At Coastal in 2020-21 he averaged 13.4 points per game while shooting 40% from both the field and from three. He should be slated in as a good three-guard to complement Jordan King.
9. Honor Huff (VMI -> Chattanooga)
Huff was one of the best freshmen in the SoCon last season, averaging 10 points per game and shooting 44% from the field. An effective shooter, he follows his coach to Chattanooga after four 20+ point performances in SoCon play.
10. Shawn Walker Jr. (Tallahassee Community College -> Mercer)
Walker started six games at George Washington before transferring down to the JUCO ranks. At Tallahassee Community College he showed his real skill, missing only 12 free throws and shooting 48.6% from three. He could be one of the deadliest shooters in the mid-major ranks this next season.
11. Dalvin White (USC Upstate -> Chattanooga)
White was a key reason why USC Upstate was so successful this past season. Shooting 41% from the field and 38% from behind the arc, DW was one of the best passers in the Big South this past season. Yet another great guard for the new hungry Chattanooga staff.
12. Tyzhaun Claude (Morehead State -> Western Carolina)
Injuries have plagued the past couple of seasons for Claude, but before that, he was the double-double star at Morehead State. His only game against a SoCon team, Samford in November of 2019, ended in a double-double. That same season he led the Eagles with a 60% field goal percentage. He is just what Coach Gray needed.