ESPN’s Gasaway: ASU, Arizona’s best basketball transfers wins
The transfer portal has become more prominent in college sports, seeing record numbers of athletes leave for new schools each year.
Some of this is due to playing time and opportunity, but name, image and likeness have also played a major role in athlete’s decisions.
ESPN’s John Gasaway took a stab at what he thought to be the best transfers in and out of each basketball program in Pac-12 history.
Both Arizona and Arizona State’s best transfers have come within the last seven years.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Best transfer in: Shannon Evans, 2016-18
Evans followed the example set by his head coach Bobby Hurley and arrived at Arizona State after a two-year stint at Buffalo. In 2018, Evans started all 32 games and drained 95 3-pointers as the Sun Devils reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years.
Most significant transfer out: Remy Martin, 2017-21
Martin was named the preseason Big 12 player of the year for 2021-22 after he transferred from Arizona State to Kansas. His season as a Jayhawk can thus fairly be termed a success from start to finish, one that ended in a national title. In this same category of onetime Sun Devils, note that current UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger had a fine senior year as a player with the Runnin’ Rebels in 2006-07 after three strong seasons at ASU.
Evans came to ASU and was a part of the “Guard U” movement. Evans and guard Tra Holder led ASU to become the last undefeated team in the country during the 2017-1 campaign.
He transferred to ASU from Buffalo with coach Bobby Hurley. In his two seasons in Tempe he averaged 15.7 points on 36.5% shooting from three.
Martin played one season with Evans and was one of the best Sun Devils in program history after four years in Tempe before he exited for Kansas.
He ranks sixth all-time in points for ASU with 1,754 points (43 less than Holder) and second all-time in assists with 466.
Best transfer in: Ryan Anderson, 2015-16
Anderson might seem like an upset pick here over T.J. McConnell and, more recently, James Akinjo. Then again, Anderson, a former Boston College star, had one of the better offensive seasons any Arizona player has recorded when he was the Wildcats’ leading scorer in 2015-16. Like McConnell and Akinjo, Anderson was named first-team All-Pac 12. He just happened to do all of the above during a relatively so-so year by Arizona standards, one in which the Wildcats went 25-9 and earned a No. 6 seed.
Most significant transfer out: James Akinjo, 2020-21
Akinjo has now achieved a rare distinction in this recurring series on transfers, having already been tapped as Georgetown’s most significant player to exit the program. He also holds that title with regard to Arizona. After two seasons with the Hoyas and then one with the Wildcats, Akinjo moved on to Baylor and averaged 13 points for a team that earned a No. 1 seed in the 2022 tournament.
Anderson averaged 15.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in his one season in Tucson. He was named to the 2015-16 First Team All-Pac-12.
Akinjo finished his Wildcat career averaging 15.6 points, 5.4 assists and and two steals in 32 games.