Houston's LJ Cryer bids to win title at 2nd school as one of college basketball's top transfers

Mon, Oct 30, 2023
NCAAB News (AP)

Houston's LJ Cryer bids to win title at 2nd school as one of college basketball's top transfers

Houston's LJ Cryer has a chance to do something no college basketball player has ever accomplished before.

Cryer was a reserve guard on Baylor's 2021 national championship team before developing into one of the Bears' key players the last two seasons. The 6-foot-1 Cryer now will finish his college career with one of Baylor's conference rivals after transferring to Big 12 newcomer Houston, which lost to the Bears in a 2021 NCAA semifinal.

This move gives Cryer at least a reasonable shot to win a national championship at two different schools. Houston was a No. 1 seed in last season's NCAA Tournament and is seventh in the preseason Top 25.

According to the NCAA, no men's or women's player ever has won a national title at two different basketball programs. Bob Bender came close; he played for Indiana's 1976 national championship team and was on a Duke squad that lost to Kentucky in the 1978 NCAA final.

Houston's chances of getting back to a Final Four and competing for a national title in its first year in the Big 12 depend in part on whether Cryer can perform as well as he did at Baylor.

Cryer is a preseason all-Big 12 selection who scored 15 points per game and shot 41.5% from 3-point range last season. He set a Baylor NCAA Tournament single-game record by scoring 30 points in a second-round loss to Creighton. Cryer should team up with Jamal Shead to give Houston one of the nation's top backcourts.

Cryer is one of many notable players who switched schools over the offseason. Ssome other transfers who should make a major impact during the upcoming season:

TEXAS G MAX ABMAS (Oral Roberts)

This 6-foot guard leads all active Division I college players in career points (2,562) and scoring average (20.8). Abmas was the D-I scoring leader in 2020-21, when he helped Oral Roberts reach the Sweet 16 and was the first player since Stephen Curry to score at least 25 points in each of his first three NCAA Tournament games. He has received honorable mention in the Associated Press All-America balloting each of the last three seasons.

KANSAS C HUNTER DICKINSON (Michigan)

The 7-foot-3 Dickinson is one of the highest-profile players to move from one school to another since the transfer portal's arrival. He has averaged at least 18 .5 points and 8 .5 rebounds each of the last two seasons. He's an AP All-America preseason selection after receiving honorable mention last year. His arrival helped make Kansas the No. 1 team in the preseason AP Top 25.

ALABAMA G AARON ESTRADA (Hofstra) and F GRANT NELSON (North Dakota State)

Estrada and Nelson both are heading to the Southeastern Conference after shining on smaller stages last season. Estrada, who is 6-3, is on his fourth school after previously playing at Saint Peter's (2019-20), Oregon (2020-21) and Hofstra (2021-23). He was a two-time Colonial Athletic Association player of the year at Hofstra. The 6-11 Nelson led North Dakota State in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals per game last season. Estrada averaged 20.2 points and Nelson 19.9 points last season.

NORTH CAROLINA F HARRISON INGRAM (Stanford)

Ingram averaged 10.5 points at Stanford each of the last two seasons. He was named the Pac-12 freshman of the year in 2021-22, and his 6.7 rebounds per game that season represented the second-highest average for any Stanford freshman ever. He's one of two impact transfers for North Carolina along with guard Cormac Ryan, who also began his college career at Stanford before playing the last three seasons at Notre Dame.

ARIZONA G CALEB LOVE (North Carolina)

Love scored 16.7 points per game for the Tar Heels last season to rank fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The 6-4 guard made 200 3-pointers at North Carolina to rank eighth in school history. He has averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games and played a big role in helping the Tar Heels reach the championship game in 2022. Love scored 30 points in a regional semifinal win over UCLA and had 28 in a Final Four victory over Duke that season.

GONZAGA G RYAN NEMBHARD (Creighton)

Nembhard was the Big East freshman of the year in 2021-22 and followed that up by averaging 12.1 points, 4.8 assists and 4 rebounds last season while helping Creighton reach an NCAA regional final. He scored 30 points in an NCAA Tournament second-round victory over Baylor. He's the younger brother of former Florida and Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard, who now plays for the Indiana Pacers.

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