DJ Horne, Arizona State Sun Devils, NC State Wolfpack transfer, ACC basketball

With the transfer portal starting to wind down, these ACC basketball teams hit the jackpot.

While not a lot of the top transfers have picked ACC basketball schools, it’s been a good mix of proven power conference players and under-the-radar mid-major talent.

Cutting this list down to 10 players wasn’t easy. Andrew Rohde (Virginia), Jake Heidbreder (Clemson), Jack Clark (Clemson), Hunter Sallis (Wake Forest), Kevin Miller (Wake Forest), Jamir Watkins (Florida State), Josh Nickelberry (Florida State), MJ Rice (NC State), Amaree Abram (Georgia Tech), and Jae’lyn Withers (North Carolina) are not included but will be very key players for their new teams next season. Think of them as the honorable mention to the top 10.

It’s also important to note that this list was created on May 5. The transfer portal is always evolving and some ACC teams are bound to pick up other top players as the offseason moves on.

10. Dante Harris, Virginia

Virginia didn’t hold back in the transfer portal, securing three of the best ACC basketball newcomers. Dante Harris is an interesting get, because he put up good numbers, but also did so for a dismal Georgetown team.

Will that translate? In fairness, it probably should and Harris shouldn’t be to blame for (all) of the Hoyas’ struggles. Despite some shooting woes from three, he’s a very capable point guard and was a huge part in Georgetown’s Big East Tournament upset over Villanova in 2021. He also committed to UVA back On Dec. 18, 2022, so his familiarity with Tony Bennett and Virginia basketball should already be very high.

9. Ishmael Leggett, Pittsburgh

Leggett joins a Pittsburgh Panthers squad on the rise after winning their first NCAA Tournament game in nine years. The URI transfer sprung onto the scene last season, doubling his points per game average and ripping down nearly 6 RPG as a 6-foot-2 guard. His style of play should fit well into Jeff Capel’s hard-nosed system.

Pitt will also be in dire need of a scorer. Leading scorer Blake Hinson is testing the NBA Draft waters, but a handful of their top players from last season, including Jamarius Burton and Nelly Cummings, are gone. Leggett should step right into the role as the go-to guy, something he was pretty darn good at with Rhode Island.

8. Skyy Clark, Louisville

One of the most interesting transfer pickups, Skyy Clark’s short-lived time at Illinois was met with disappointment, frustration, and room for more. His potential is undeniable, but it needs to be the right system.

I won’t sit here and say that Louisville is the perfect fit, but after a dreadful last season, the Cardinals can use every ounce of talent they can get. It seems like a spot where Clark can be free to score and make plays, which should in turn build his confidence and help him reach his potential sooner rather than later.

7. Kowacie Reeves, Georgia Tech

New head coach Damon Stoudamire was able to land Florida transfer Kowacie Reeves. The experienced SEC guard is a capable spot-up shooter and always seems to play with a burst of energy when attacking the rim.

Reeves also isn’t afraid to let it fly, averaging 8 attempts per game in less than 20 minutes per game last season. In what should be a bigger role with the Yellow Jackets, Reeves will need to be more efficient from the field. He has all the potential in the world to be a surprise player in ACC basketball next season.

6. Cormac Ryan, North Carolina

If you want to talk about proven players that will have no problem adjusting to their new team, look right at Cormac Ryan. He’s played in 116 career games between time at Stanford, and most recently at Notre Dame. Ryan was a deadeye three-point shooter with the Fighting Irish, hitting over 40% of his attempts from deep in the 2021-22 season.

He’s also an in-conference transfer, something that’s becoming more common in today’s age. UNC lost Tyler Nickel, who struggled to cash in from three, despite it being a healthy part of his game. Ryan is an experienced upgrade and should help the Heels right away from that department, as well as in the backcourt where he averaged 2.5 APG last season.

5. DJ Horne, NC State

Terquavion Smith is off to the NBA, so the NC State Wolfpack needed to find someone to step up and become a scorer. In comes DJ Horne.

The Arizona State transfer averaged 12.5 PPG in two seasons with the Sun Devils. He’s an above-average three-point shooter, connecting on close to 38% of threes in his career. But Horne isn’t just a spot-up shooter. He can create his own shot off the dribble and will give you buckets at all three levels.

4. Jordan Minor, Virginia

Another UVA transfer, Jordan Minor is by far the best big man to enter the ACC basketball fraternity. At 6-8, 220, Minor has enough strength to contend against the bigger centers in the conference. He also runs the floor well and never lets a missed shot get away, averaging 3.3 offensive boards per game last season. Plus, Minor is the reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year. And we know how much Virginia values defensive.

Coming from Merrimack to Virginia could take a slight adjustment period, but Minor’s dominance of the NEC leaves little room to doubt that he will be a very quality power conference player.

3. Harrison Ingram, North Carolina

UNC struck gold this offseason, landing two of the best transfers in ACC basketball. Ingram put up all-around great numbers at Stanford, averaging 10.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 3.4 APG in two seasons.

With Caleb Love gone, you can expect Ingram to be a playmaker. He would complement RJ Davis well if he decides to come back, but could also do it himself when asked. He’s the type of player that can’t be left alone anywhere on the court. Efficiency from the field has been an issue, but having better players around him should help the Stanford transfer to improve that part of his game.

2. Primo Spears, Florida State

Primo Spears has to be one of the most underrated transfers not just in ACC basketball, but in college basketball. He’s an accomplished scorer and playmaker and consistently did so against the best teams in the Big East.

Florida State also needs someone like Spears to come in and get the offensive going. FSU didn’t have that last year, and Spears could absolutely help get it back. He can also speed things up to create more possessions, another part of the game the Seminoles struggled with last season.

1. JJ Starling, Syracuse

Syracuse got a literal star in JJ Starling. The Notre Dame transfer lived up to his 5-star rating, putting up 11.2 PPG as a freshman. Now, he’ll either get to share the backcourt with Judah Mintz or have it all to himself.

Letting a talented transfer like Starling get a fresh start with a program also looking for a fresh start is what the transfer portal is all about.

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