Breaking Down the CBB Transfer Portal

Over 17% of NCAA Division I College Basketball players have entered the Transfer Portal. I'm going to say that again. OVER 17% OF NCAA DIVISION I COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYERS HAVE ENTERED THE TRANSFER PORTAL! This staggering stat requires a deeper dive into why so many players are looking for a new home. What are these players' on-court impact, how good are they, and how long have they rode it out at their current program. I have consulted Barttorvik's transfer portal function to start peeling back the portal's mysterious layers.

Breaking down the transfer portal (As of April 7th, 2022):

Metrics Used:

PRPG! - "Points Over Replacement Per Adjusted Game." is an advanced metric to show the offensive impact of a player relative to his level of competition. PRPG! gives us our best evaluation of talent in the portal. No statistic is perfect, but this allows us to have some objective cut lines to draw from.

Minutes Played % - For all games a player was listed as healthy, what percentage of minutes did he play per game. This statistic approximates usage percentage and a player's role in the lineup by proxy. I have used 40% of minutes played to be a cutoff for players to be deemed significant contributors and/or partial starters on a team.

Total Division I Players in the 2021-2022 season: 5,510

Total Players in the Portal: 954 (17% of league)


Total High Major Players in the Portal: 181 (19% of portal)

By Class:

Freshman: 41 players (23%)

Sophomore: 60 players (33%)

Junior: 54 players (30%)

Senior: 26 players (14%)

By Ability - *PRPG!:

Scrub - PRPG! below 0: 38 players (21%)

Bench Player - PRPG! 0-1: 91 players (50%)

Good Starter – PRPG! 1-3: 47 players (26%)

Impact Player – PRPG! over 3: 5 players (3%)

By Usage/Production:

Players on the floor for at least 40% of minutes: 62 players (34%)

Players with at least a replacement level (1) PRPG!: 58 players (32%)

Above replacement level PRPG! & at least 40% minutes: 45 players (25%)


Total Mid-Major Players: 773 (81% of portal)

By Class:

Freshman: 157 players (20%)

Sophomore: 202 players (26%)

Junior: 237 players (31%)

Senior: 177 players (23%)

By Ability - *PRPG!:

Scrub (PRPG! below 0): 246 players (32%)

Bench Player (PRPG! 0-1): 325 players (42%)

Good Starter (PRPG! 1-3): 170 players (22%)

Impact Player (PRPG! over 3): 32 players (4%)

By Usage/Production:

Players on the floor for at least 40% of minutes: 295 players (38%)

Players with at least a replacement level (1) PRPG!: 217 players (28%)

Above replacement level PRPG! & at least 40% minutes: 179 players (23%)

Take Aways:

1) 81% of players in the transfer portal come from Mid-Major Conferences

Mid Major players make up roughly 75% of total roster spots in NCAA D1... this seems roughly proportionate to the transfer numbers; nothing crazy here.

2) Most Players in the Transfer Portal are not receiving quality minutes on the floor

More than 60% of players in the portal play less than 40% of total minutes.

3) Most Players in the Portal are below replacement level PRPG!

Less than a quarter of both Mid-Major and High Major player entering the transfer portal are both replacement value talent and play significant minutes on their current team.

4) Sophomores and Juniors are the most likely to enter the portal, while Freshman are likely to ride it out

Senior numbers are tough to gauge, as some graduate or time out of eligibility, lowering the total pool of athletes looking to play another season.

What more would you like to know about those in the portal?

*PRPG! formula

o_adj = avg_eff / opp_de

uFactor = Usage * -.144 + 13.023
altZscore = (ORtg - avg_eff) / uFactor
xORtg = avg_eff + altZscore * 10.143
if Usage > 20: adjoe = (xORtg + ((Usage - 20) * 1.25)) * o_adj
otherwise: adjoe = (xORtg +((Usage - 20) * 1.5)) * o_adj
porpag = (adjoe + (104.9 - avg_eff) - (88)) * actual_Min_per * 69.4 / 500

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