With Northwestern’s dream basketball season in the rearview mirror, the Wildcats must start to look forward toward next season fast. Many teams have already made several high-profile moves in the transfer portal to plug holes, while Northwestern is staring at a team stripped of Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Robbie Beran and Julian Roper II. The number of players that Chris Collins recruited in high school and had connections with that are currently in the portal is diminishing by the day, meaning the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year will have to act quickly if he wants to keep NU’s success rolling.
With regard to transfers, it’s important to note that Northwestern University has a policy it must uphold for transferring students. In order to get an undergraduate degree at Northwestern, students must be enrolled for what amounts to three years. This is not an athletics-related rule: it is a Northwestern Admissions one that has not changed despite the drastically changing transfer portal. Essentially, it means that the only athletes who can transfer to NU regardless of sport are either rising sophomores, who can still complete the three-year requirement, or graduate transfers, who would enroll in graduate courses. For this article, only sophomores and graduate students will be included, leaving out a massive chunk of potential targets, but also keeping it relatively realistic.
Justin Mullins, G, Denver
Measurables: Sophomore, 6-foot-6, 190 lbs, Oak Park, Illinois
Stats: 32 games played, 9.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 47 Stl, 12 Blk, 51.8% FG, 36.5% 3P, 69.2% FT
Starting 27 games as a first-year, Mullins inserted himself into the primary Pioneer lineup early, largely due to his defensive tenacity. If Collins is looking to replace the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year with a young wing with a knack for the ball, he’ll look no further than Mullins, whose 47 steals ranked third in the entire Summit League. Mullins excels at reading and jumping passing lanes, and is athletic enough that he should only improve as he gains experience.
Denver ran an incredibly balanced offense, with five athletes breaking double-digit averages for scoring and the difference between the second-most points (10.9 per game) and the sixth-most (Mullins with 9.8 per game) being incredibly miniscule. Mullins put up the third-most shots and three-point attempts on the team, and managed to shoot well from both. Even as his scoring role shrank in the middle of the season and he mainly relied on defense, he still managed to shoot efficiently from the floor.
Mullins’ speed and stealing ability make him a massive threat in transition every time he’s on the court. According to CBB Analytics, the first-year guard ranked in the 95th percentile in fastbreak points per game and in the 82nd percentile in steal percentage (comparatively, Audige was in the 98th) among Division I players. As of right now, Mullins has spoken with Northwestern and is setting up a visit to Evanston.
Kadin Shedrick, C, Virginia
Measurables: Graduate transfer, 6-foot-11, 231 lbs, Holly Springs, North Carolina
Stats: 30 games played, 6.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 65% FG, 43 Blk, 25 Stl
Shedrick, the 68th-ranked recruit in 2019, was offered by Collins as a high schooler and started 34 games for the Cavaliers over the last two years. The center found himself in and out of the starting lineup, but had his biggest moments in the team’s biggest games. He notched a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds in Virginia’s first-round tournament game against Furman, and scored a career-high 17 points on 100% shooting in an early-season win over Baylor.
A dominant force inside, 84% of Shedrick’s field goal attempts are at the rim, where he shoots 73%. He’s just as strong on defense, where his 10.6% block rate is in the 98th percentile, and his 3.1% steal rate is in the 97th percentile among Division I players, per CBB Analytics. Shedrick would be a perfect complement to Matthew Nicholson at the center spot as a graduate transfer, and would be a great fit for the Wildcats.
Joseph Girard III, PG, Syracuse
Measurables: Graduate transfer, 6-foot-1, 190 lbs, Glens Falls, New York
Stats: 32 games played, 16.4 PPG, 95 Ast, 40.3% FG, 38.1% 3P, 85.7% FT
The fourth-ranked point guard transfer available, Girard would fit in seamlessly to replace a Buie-sized hole in the Wildcats’ offense. Girard started 123 of 125 games in his Syracuse career, helping lead the Orange to a winning record in three of his four years, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2021.
Girard is strong both as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and shooter, and his prominence of shooting off a ball screen mirrors the likes of Buie. A transfer like Girard could play 95% of the potential point guard minutes, while Ty Berry, Brooks Barnhizer and Nicholson could fill out three of the other starting spots off-ball.
Cyril Martynov, C, Georgia Tech
Measurables: Sophomore, 7-foot-0, 229 lbs, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Stats: Seven games played, 2.6 Minutes per game, 0.7 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 29% FG
This target is potentially more within reach than the prior two mentioned, mostly due to his lack of experience or playing time. Martynov is a player that Collins recruited and offered out of high school, joining the likes of colleges like Wisconsin, Missouri, NC State and Arizona State. The seven-foot center chose instead to play for the Yellow Jackets, and now finds himself in the transfer portal after just a year in Atlanta.
Playing sparingly in blowout games for Georgia Tech, Martynov didn’t truly get the chance to show off much of what he had. He’s just 229 pounds at seven feet tall, so Martynov would likely be used as a stretch five who can quickly space the floor and aid on fastbreaks. With only Nicholson and Luke Hunger in the frontcourt, there would be a very feasible path to playing time.