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Transfer Portal Report: Butler

Updated: Apr 14

Ahhh the offseason. Always a weird time tracking far too many transfers, while trying to get as much information as you can from absolutely nothing. There’s nothing like it. But everyone wants to know who their favorite teams are looking at, and what those guys could potentially bring to the table. Thankfully, I have no life so the rest of you can, so here is what the Butler Bulldogs seem to be up to.


Who Left:

Graduated: Jalen Thomas, John Michael-Mulloy

Transferred: DJ Davis, Connor Turnbull, Finley Bizjack


We knew about the graduating seniors since… well, senior night. Thomas used his fifth year of eligibility, and leaves a hole in the starting five that the Bulldogs must fill. Mulloy, or “Red Lightning” as my roommate affectionately refers to him, leaves a hole in said roommate's heart. Mulloy was a leader on this team, someone who could show the young guys the ropes, even if he wasn’t the most talented player.


Transferred Out:


DJ Davis is the biggest name here. Davis was a microwave scorer, he was really hot and cold. On his good days, Butler could compete, or beat, just about anyone. Davis had 28 in Butler’s thrilling double OT win over Villanova, 25 in Butler’s huge home win over Texas Tech, 22 in a loss at Providence and at home to UConn (who’s pretty good), and 22 in Butler’s win at Creighton. Davis provided much-needed floor spacing for this offense, which allowed players like Pierre Brooks, Posh Alexander and Jahmyl Telfort to get offense going downhill. 


It doesn’t take a genius to watch Butler play to realize they were much better with Davis on the floor. Davis averaged 13.5PPG this season (14.1 in BE play), shooting 42% from the field and 35% from three-point range. Davis also led the country in free-throw shooting at 95%, only missing one free-throw in Big East play (57/58). 

Connor Turnbull showed flashes in his brief time at Butler. The redshirt freshman showed flashes of athletic dunks and a smooth jumper, to go with some timely blocks. His highlights in the exhibition games gave fans something to cheer about. That said, in Big East play, or games against more physical teams, he felt overmatched.


This move feels best for both parties, as it gives Turnbull some time to refine his skills and get muscle at the lower level. He should receive a medical redshirt for this season and have three years of eligibility remaining. I heard he was receiving some interest from MAC and Summit League programs, but that doesn't mean he's going there. We have not heard much about Turnbull’s recruitment publicly.

I Stand by this. His skillset is perfect for the Summit League. I will be rooting for him at his next school, wherever that is.


Finley Bizjack is the most recent addition to the transfer portal from Butler. The freshman G showed some promise in his time in Hinkle, including a 19-point performance against Marquette. Bizjack was a Top-100 freshman when he committed to the Bulldogs from Trophy Club, Texas. Bizjack finished the season averaging 4.2PPG, with his numbers steadily increasing in conference play.


Regarding him transferring, I had heard a rumor that other schools in Texas were after him trying to get him to enter the portal, but I had thought Butler was in the clear. With Andy Enfield just taking the job at SMU, combined with crazy rumored NIL (partially due to their move to the ACC) and proximity to Finley’s hometown, I would be very surprised if they aren’t really involved.


Players Declaring for the Draft (maintaining eligibility): Jahmyl Telfort, Posh Alexander


I’ve gotten some questions privately about this, so I think it’s best to also explain that here. This means that the players are going through the process of talking to and getting feedback from NBA teams while keeping the door open to return to college. They will get workouts, information from scouts on what their role could be in the NBA and where they currently stand on draft boards.


This usually is a win-win for everyone, as the athlete gets to see how ready they are for the next level, and leave the door open to getting their degree. There have been a handful of cases where an athlete clearly got bad advice, but don't think that will be (and hope it isn't) the case with these Bulldogs.


Personally, I’d expect both of them to be back next season, but it will be telling to see the guys the staff recruits in the transfer portal if they need to replace either one of them. Of the two, I would say it is more likely that Telfort goes pro than Posh, but they both can return to Butler for their final seasons.


Positions/Skills Of Need:


Note: I am operating under the assumption that Alexander and Telfort return because, as I mentioned above, it’s what I think happens. I have no inside information.


Center:


Jalen Thomas leaves, leaving Butler with a hole at their starting center spot. Boden Kapke and Andre Screen both return, but I still think the Bulldogs will be looking for a starting center. Screen is more of a catch-and-dunk center, while Kapke showed some promise in his freshman season and should see an expanded role as he develops, but for now I would expect him to come off the bench, as he looks to add more muscle to compete down low in the Big East.


With both guys coming off the bench, Butler needs a starting five for next season. I think there are multiple ways they can go with this. Do they want a stretch five to keep the lane wide open, or do they look to find a five-man who is focused defensively, and can mitigate/solve some of the defensive problems we saw last season? 


I go either way on this one (personally think I lean defense), and note that the staff has reached out to both. It is really tough to find a center in the portal since so many teams are always looking for a center and there aren’t a ton of options. Will be interesting to see what Butler does here.


Shooting Guard:


This one is pretty simple. DJ Davis leaves; Butler needs a two-guard. This team will need to replace Davis’ shooting from the outside, which opened up a ton of space for Butler’s drivers. One place Butler was taken advantage of was defensively, specifically at the two and three positions. Davis is quick, but was an undersized two-guard, and someone teams looked to bully inside or take advantage of on strength to fight through screens and get good looks. Pierre Brooks, for all his offensive skills, still has a ways to go defensively, with closing out, lateral foot speed and at times, effort.


With Finley Bizjack also entering the transfer portal, the Bulldogs have to fill multiple holes at the SG spot, both starting and off the bench. The Bulldogs will have to look to equal, or upgrade their production at this position on both ends, if they want to see themselves in the dance next year. 


But how does Butler look to address this hole in the transfer portal? Does Butler look for more offense at this position, or do they look for size and defense? Or both, can Butler find a 3nD guard/wing who fills both areas of need?


Bench Scoring:


Butler ranked 319th in the country in bench minutes last year. Butler’s top two players, in terms of minutes, off the bench were a freshman G and a sophomore G. Butler ranked 259th in the country in bench scoring last season, at 16.03PPG off the bench. There were too many times when Butler would go to the bench and a game would flip, or you could tell the starters were gassed, particularly toward the end of the season. The drop-off between the starters and the bench was supremely drastic, which cannot be the case next season.


Butler needs more off the bench next season. This would include a backup wing/forward, which would help Pierre Brooks and Jahmyl Telfort get some time on the bench if needed.


 

Those would be my personal three positions/roles of need entering next season. Now, let’s take a look at some guys who Butler is looking at to fill those holes.


Butler has 5 scholarship spots to work with as of today. You do not have to fill every scholarship spot, as Butler didn’t last year. 


Myron “MJ” Amey:


Amey is the player who is furthest along in his recruitment. Amey recently released his Top Four, which is: Butler, Creighton, California and LMU. He has one year of eligibility left.


MJ is a G from San Jose State who averaged 15.7PPG, 5.7Reb and 3.1AST, shooting 42.5% from the field and 36.2% from three. He’s an excellent player off the catch, and really thrives when he’s in spot-up situations. Amey also stepped up against the best teams in the Mountain West, which is a statement to show his game can translate to this level. 

Amey would more or less fill the exact role that DJ Davis did this year. I’m unsure if he’s the slasher Davis is, but he's a better passer. He doesn't have the deep range, but good luck finding many guys who are better in catch-and-shoot situations than Amey. 


Jaime Kaiser:


Kaiser is a former Top-70 recruit in the class of 2023. Kaiser went to Maryland and struggled in his freshman season, averaging 4.4PPG on some tough shooting splits. However, you are getting some HM experience, as Kaiser averaged over 20MPG in Big Ten play.


Kaiser is a big-bodied 6’6” 205lb wing, he’s ready defensively. He’s not the most fleet of foot, but he’s really physically strong. He’s able to guard multiple positions because of his strength, and it makes sense that he played football in HS. He’s someone who is physically ready for Big East ball.


His jump shot did not fall at UMD like expected (26.5% from deep on the season), but he is a good shooter. He has a really high release point on his jumper, and it’s a high-arching shot, making up for the fact that it’s on the slower side. He was touted for his 3nD ability in high school, and I think his jumper is much better than he showed at UMD. He has three years of eligibility left, and as a result, has a ton of untapped potential.

Matt Allocco: 


Matt Allocco enters the transfer portal from Princeton, as a graduate transfer. The Ivy League does not let graduate students play in the league, so Allocco had no choice but to transfer to continue his collegiate career. Butler was listed by his dad as a school prioritizing Allocco.

The 6’4” Ohio Native averaged 12.7PPG, on 50/40/90 splits this season (50.8% from the field, 42.7% from three, 90.9% from three). Allocco was also 50th in the country in assist to turnover ratio.


Allocco is an incredibly efficient scorer and fit perfectly at Princeton. He’s quick, he’s able to take someone off the dribble and get to the bucket. He has a ridiculously high basketball IQ and does not force shots. He has an odd-looking jump shot, it’s over his right shoulder and a little slower, but it goes in. He can get high elevation on his jumper and is lethal from three-point range.  


Allocco has all the tools. The question is how does it all translate to the next level. Defenses won’t pay him the same level of attention, but he will also be going up against bigger, stronger and faster defenders. There are some defensive questions too, but the numbers speak for themselves. Allocco has commanded a ton of HM attention, and if he can recreate the same efficiency offensively at the next level, he will be a huge acquisition for any team.


Pharrel Payne:


Payne might be a familiar name to some Bulldog fans because he was the starting center at Minnesota, who knocked Butler out of the NIT. Payne averaged 9.8PPG and 6.1REB, blocking 1.4 shots per game.


Payne is a physically imposing center who knows his strengths. He’s going to be at the rim, looking to either block a shot or look for an easy finish, depending on what end of the floor he’s playing. He’s a good shot blocker, and a solid finisher around the rim. He’s a 6’9” 225lb big man, who does have some turnover problems, but has a bright ceiling if his next school can help him reach his potential.


Payne has two years of eligibility left. 


Maximus Edwards:


Edwards is a sophomore, 6’5” G from Stratford, CT. He was the leading rebounder at George Washington this season, averaging 6.6REB to go with his 12.4PPG, shooting 42.7% from the field and 35.8% from three.


The lefty has a high release point, and really high elevation on his jump shot. He’s another player who is best in spot-up situations. Edwards has been playing big minutes since he stepped foot on campus at GW, starting 50/63 games in his two seasons. 

He’s a tough guard with a nice jump shot, who can also get to the rim. He’s coming from a GW team that has not been good at all defensively in his two years there and had offensive stud James Bishop IV leading the way, creating for just about everyone.


Mike James:


Mike James is a 6’5” 200lb wing from Orlando Florida. He’s transferring after two years at Louisville, where he started in all 64 games. He leaves after averaging 12.6PPG and 5.0 rebounds per game last season.

Louisville has been on a tough run, and it’s not James’ fault. James is a really athletic G, who excels in transition. His jump shot is good, but he’s at his best when he can get to the rim and put his athleticism on display. He is a slash-first player, shooting nearly half of his shots at the rim. He’s a threat to score from three too, shooting 35.7% from three. 


He has two years of eligibility left.


Kolby King:


King originally committed to St. John’s and spent a season there before transferring to Tulane. He’s a 6’2” G from Florida, who averaged 10.4PPG shooting 47.6% from the field and 37.9% from three. 


King is a score-first guard. He’s very athletic, he’s really quick and elevates well off of two feet. He gets to the rim and can finish in multiple different ways when he gets there. He excels in the open court, he can really make defenders look silly in transition.


He’s a good shooter too, particularly from the corners. He is absolutely excellent off the catch too, rivaling MJ Amey in catch-and-shoot situations. Good elevation on his jumper, quick release and can get it off over taller defenders. He takes some pretty crazy shots (struggles in creating for himself in the half-court) and there are some defensive questions, but King is a scorer through and through.


Nick Boyd:


Nick Boyd is another name that Bulldog fans might be familiar with. The 6’3” Boyd started 37/38 games for the Florida Atlantic Owls in his redshirt sophomore season when the Owls made the Final Four. He started about half of the games this season, but did miss their game against Butler this season due to an injury.


Boyd averaged 9.3PPG this season for the Owls, shooting 40% from the field and 34.1% from deep. He scored more points this season than last, but his efficiency numbers took a dip, which could (potentially) be partially due to an injury he suffered that kept him out of play for about a month.


Boyd’s a well-rounded scorer, good both on and off the ball. Good off the catch, and good in ball screen action, finding the open guy or knocking down a shot himself. He’s a good secondary ball-handler, and knows his role. He was on a team loaded with elite guards and rarely forced a shot that wasn’t there.


Boyd has been in school for four years, including a redshirt in the 2021-22 season. With 2020-21 being the COVID season, he could have two years of eligibility left.


Jalen Blackmon:


Won’t spend too much time here, Blackmon is a stud. He’s from Marion, IN which puts him on this list. Blackmon willed his Stetson Hatters to the NCAA Tournament, averaging 21.3PPG, including a 43-point performance against Austin Peay in the A-Sun title game. Schools like Kansas and Kentucky are on his list as a result, which likely makes this an uphill battle for the Bulldogs.


Terrance Williams II:


Williams is a stretch four who played four seasons at Michigan. He started all 31 games he played in this season, averaging 12.4PPG and 4.5 rebounds, shooting 43% from the field and 39.7% from three, taking a huge jump in production from his junior year.


Williams was on the same High School team as former Bulldog Chuck Harris, Gonzaga College HS, which ended up winning the WCAC Title in 2019.


Connor Essegian:


Essegian has had a really private recruitment. He left Wisconsin after his sophomore season. Essegian had a really promising freshman season, where he averaged 11.7PPG. He was on the Big-Ten all-freshman team, shooting 40% from the field and 35.9% from three.


His numbers drastically dropped in his sophomore season, he never found a rhythm on this new-look Wisconsin team. Essegian is a really talented player from Fort Wayne, Ind. with the exact skillset that Butler needs. Butler has not been publicly linked with Essegian (nobody has), but I’d be really surprised if Butler isn’t looking at a local two-guard who was one of the best freshmen in the Big 10 just a season ago.


 

There are likely some other players that Butler has reached out to who aren’t on this list, who are keeping their recruitments private (which are usually the recruitments Butler excels in), but those are some names to look out for.


Butler should have some punch at the G/F position considering the players they have reached out to. It is much harder to find a good big man in the portal, as there just aren’t many effective bigs transferring, so I am interested to see how Butler looks to fill the starting five spot. 



 

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