Potential Transfer Options to Watch for FSU Basketball

As players declare for the NBA draft and enter the transfer portal, roster spots open up across college basketball. Florida State has 2-3 open roster spots as we currently sit with the NBA declarations of Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell, Trent Forrest and Dominik Olejniczak graduating, and depending on the situation of Naheem McLeod, who was deemed ineligible before the season (I’m not expecting back for now, but things can always change).

Florida State has filled two of those spots with signees Scottie Barnes and Sardaar Calhoun, but will now likely be looking for another player who can run at the 5, another ball-handler with size, and another wing option.

There are a couple of ways the staff can fill out the roster: scour through the uncommitted prospects seeing if there’s anyone they potentially overlooked, look and see which players reclassify from 2021 to 2020, and the transfer portal. Let’s take a look at players who have entered the transfer portal that Florida State should have their eyes on (this is in no means the entire list. There are a lot of great transfers on the market, these are just players I would deem a good fit).

Players Florida State Has Contacted

There have been a couple of players that Florida State has reached out to already, so I will note those here and update the list as more players come out saying they’ve heard from FSU.

Trey Wertz – Santa Clara

Wertz, a 6’4″ guard from Charlotte, NC, will have two years of eligibility but will likely have to sit out for a year. As a two year starter for Santa Clara, he averaged 12.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 0.9 SPG. Last season he improved his 3-point shooting to 40.0% on 4.0 attempts per game, and is a solid free-throw shooter at 75.7% for his career.

Wertz would be a phenomenal fit with the ‘Noles as a point guard given his size, length, and shooting ability, but I imagine he’ll go closer to Charlotte and play for NC State or UNC, who he has been offered by.

4/3 Update- Wertz has released his final 7: UNC, Arizona, Ohio State, Butler, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Virginia

Jordan Bruner – Yale

Bruner is exactly the type of player Florida State is looking for as a small-ball 5: he stands at 6’9″, 205 pounds, averaged 10.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.7 BPG while shooting 48.4% from the floor, 32.3% from 3, and 76.6% from the free throw line. He is a graduate transfer and will be immediately eligible.

This is another player who would be a phenomenal fit for Florida State given the success they had with Malik Osborne at center this past season. Watch this highlight tape of this past season, he looks like a Florida State type of player. In an interview he did with the Hartford Courant, Bruner said the schools that are going after him the hardest are Maryland, Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, and Georgetown and has had 50+ schools contact him. If he ended in Tallahassee, it would be a massive success for Leonard Hamilton and his staff. (3/27 Update- Bruner has released his top 6 schools: Baylor, Alabama, Maryland, Gonzaga, Arkansas, Louisville) (4/3 Update- Bruner is down to his final 3: Maryland, Alabama, Baylor)

Graduate Transfers

Bryce Aiken – Harvard

Aiken doesn’t quite have the size Florida State would normally look for, standing at 6’0″ and 175 pounds, but neither did David Nichols. Aiken and Nichols have some similarities in their games, being fearless shot-creators that can score from any level on the floor. In his junior season (Aiken missed most of last season with what was reported as a sprained foot), he averaged 22.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, and 1.2 SPG while shooting 43.4% from the floor and 39.8% from 3.

As of a week ago, a lot of top programs had reached out to him: Kansas, Gonzaga, Michigan, Seton Hall… and that list has only grown by now. I’d consider this one a pipe dream.

4/3 Update- Aiken is down to 4 teams: Iowa State, Maryland, Seton Hall, Michigan

Darian Adams – Troy

A 6’3″ combo guard, Adams could play point guard at Florida State, since the ‘Noles have ball handlers like Scottie Barnes, RayQuan Evans, and RaiQuan Gray on the roster already. It’s not like Adams is a bad ball-handler by any stretch either, averaging 12.1 PPG and 3.3 APG on a 22.1% assist rate. His turnover rate is a little too high though, given his 2.6 TOPG and 17.3% turnover rate. He wouldn’t be relied on as the primary ball-handler, which is likely the best option and he can shoot the ball well enough at 33.3% from 3.

He’s heard from Arkansas and a few other high major programs.

Mattias Markusson – Loyola Marymount

If Florida State wants to go back to playing with a traditional center, this wouldn’t be a bad way to look. Standing at 7’3″, Markusson averaged 10.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG in his junior season. He scored 1.07 points per possession in the post in 2018-19 (his last season on the floor), which was in the 91st percentile. While he isn’t a particularly great shot blocker, it’s hard to score on anyone of his size.

He’s garnered a ton of interest, but Minnesota and Arkansas seem to be the two driving forces behind him.

Players Required to Sit a Year

Trey McGowens – Pittsburgh

People will likely connect Trey McGowens to Florida State as his younger brother Bryce is committed to FSU and will be on campus by the time Trey is eligible. McGowens doesn’t have quite the shooting touch Leonard Hamilton and his staff usually look for, as he shot 31.7% from 3 and 72.2% from the free-throw line, but he certainly has the size and length (6’4″, 190 pounds), play-making ability (3.6 APG, but 2.8 turnovers per game), and defensive skill (1.9 SPG) that FSU could utilize.

Xavier, Seton Hall, Arkansas, DePaul, and Ole Miss are listed among his favorites, and FSU seems like a long shot in this case.

4/3 Update- McGowens has cut his list to Nebraska, TCU, Seton Hall, Auburn, Alabama, Xavier, Ole Miss, Arkansas

Landers Nolley II – Virginia Tech

The best transfer in the market, it would make sense for Florida State to at least give Nolley a call. As a freshman, Nolley averaged 15.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG while shooting 37% from the floor and 31% from 3. He won’t have the freedom he did at Virginia Tech no matter where he goes, so his decision to transfer is certainly interesting. I honestly don’t think he’d fit FSU’s scheme.

Name a program, Nolley has probably been contacted by them: Louisville, Oregon, UCONN, Memphis, Texas Tech… the list goes on and on.

4/3 Update- Nolley has cut his list to Seton Hall, Alabama, UCONN, Texas Tech, Memphis, Ole Miss, TCU, NC State, Georgetown, Oregon, Maryland

Joshua Morgan – Long Beach State

Morgan is an interesting case, and a player I could see having a high impact once he redshirts. Last season, the 6’11” and 190-pound freshman averaged 8.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 2.5 BPG on 62.2% shooting from the floor. He can shoot out to 18-feet from the basket, but would have to improve his energy and hustle if he were to play at Florida State. He’s athletic enough to switch out onto the perimeter, but in transition, he seems to just jog up the floor instead of running straight to the rim like he’d have to do at FSU.

Given the benefit of a redshirt season where he can fix his form, add some strength, improve his conditioning while learning the system… he can absolutely become a great player. He already has the shot-blocking Florida State loves.

He’s been contacted by many schools including Arizona, Syracuse, and UCLA.

Jamarius Burton – Wichita State

Wichita State is seeing an exodus of players this offseason, in which 6 players have entered the transfer portal including two of their top three scorers. Among those top scorers is Burton, who averaged 10.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 0.8 SPG while shooting 44% from the floor and 38.1% from 3. He led the Shockers in assists, and would operate as another ball handler with good size that Florida State could roll onto the floor, given his 6’4″ and 200-pound frame.

He’s heard from a lot of schools since entering the transfer portal, among them being Xavier, NC State, and West Virginia.

4/3 Update- Burton has cut his list to Ohio State, Marquette, Xavier, Seton Hall, Texas Tech

Dontrell Shuler – Charleston Southern

I wasn’t planning on including Shuler, but Jeff Goodman of Stadium listed the ‘Noles as a potential suitor. Shuler left the program mid-January after four straight DNP-Coach’s Decisions, but he’s an extremely talented scorer. In the 15 games before leaving the program, Shuler was averaging 17.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.2 SPG while shooting 46.2% from the floor and 30.8% from 3. He would be the shortest scholarship player for Florida State at 6’2″ (which is ridiculous), but could still work as an off-the-bench scorer and play-maker. I agree with Goodman on him being a potential fit in the ‘Noles program.

He recently announced he’s heard from Maryland, Arkansas, Ole Miss (where his brother Devontae plays), San Diego State, Colorado State, and Nebraska.

As more players are added to the transfer portal and prospects start saying they’ve heard from Florida State, this article will be updated, although it’s entirely possible, given this staff, that they tell prospects to stay hush about FSU contacting. Last season saw more than 900 players transfer across college basketball, there will be plenty of player movement in the coming weeks, even if it will be hard with no personal contact and just phone calls.

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