CBB Transfer Success Study

by Max Brandt


Exploring the Impact of School Transfers on Men's College Basketball Players

In the ever-evolving landscape of men's college basketball, the decision to transfer schools can be a pivotal moment for players seeking new challenges or opportunities. Delving into this dynamic, I embarked on a comprehensive study to understand how these transitions affect players' statistical performance, particularly in relation to the caliber of programs they move between.

For the 2023-24 season, I meticulously analyzed the trajectories of the top 500 players who transferred to new institutions, focusing on the alterations in their statistical outputs. To contextualize these shifts, I categorized the schools involved into three distinct tiers: Low Majors, Mid Majors, and High Majors. The essence of these classifications encapsulates the spectrum of collegiate basketball, from the storied powerhouses of High Majors to the underdog narratives of Low Majors.

Unsurprisingly, the findings echoed the sentiments of seasoned basketball enthusiasts. Players transitioning from larger programs to smaller ones experienced notable upswings in fundamental statistics such as assists, rebounds, and points. Conversely, those ascending from lower-tier programs to higher-tier ones faced discernible declines in these foundational metrics. Meanwhile, transfers occurring within the same echelon tended to yield marginal fluctuations in statistical performance.

Insights from the Data:

Transferring from Low Majors:

- Players moving from Low Majors to other Low Majors exhibited decreases of 0.18 assists, 0.21 rebounds, and 0.48 points per game.

- Transitioning to Mid Majors resulted in sharper declines: 0.30 assists, 0.92 rebounds, and a substantial 3.87 points per game.

- Stepping up to High Majors led to significant reductions: 0.51 assists, 1.46 rebounds, and a staggering 5.45 points per game.

Transferring from Mid Majors:

- Joining Low Majors sparked improvements: 0.40 assists, 0.93 rebounds, and an impressive 6.50 points per game.

- Staying within Mid Majors showed minimal changes: 0.08 assists, 0.28 rebounds, but a slight dip of 1.08 points per game.

- Advancing to High Majors resulted in decreases: 0.29 assists, 1.47 rebounds, and 4.12 points per game.

Transferring from High Majors:

- Transitioning to Low Majors yielded increases: 1.23 assists, 1.72 rebounds, and an outstanding 6.50 points per game.

- Moving to Mid Majors showcased improvements: 0.40 assists, 0.68 rebounds, and 1.98 points per game.

- Remaining in High Majors demonstrated minor upticks: 0.04 assists, 0.17 rebounds, and 0.19 points per game.

In summary, the data underscores the conventional wisdom surrounding transfers in college basketball. Players often experience statistical boosts when shifting to lower-tier programs while encountering declines when ascending to higher tiers. Notably, transfers within the same tier generally result in comparably stable performances.

This study not only validates prevailing hypotheses but also unravels nuanced insights into the dynamics of school transfers across different levels of collegiate basketball. It offers a compelling narrative that enriches our understanding of player trajectories and the broader landscape of men's college basketball.



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