Grading Iowa's 2024 spring transfer portal activity

Did the Iowa football and basketball teams do enough in the Transfer Portal this offseason?
Iowa v Minnesota
Iowa v Minnesota / David Berding/GettyImages

On Thursday, several Transfer Portal additions became official for the Iowa Hawkeyes. It's unlikely that the football or basketball teams make any further additions, so now is as good a time as any to hand out some simple grades for their efforts.

Despite the Transfer Portal being such a huge aspect of collegiate sports these days, the Hawkeyes were fairly quiet across the board. Some additions were certainly welcome, as were some of the departures.

Still, it's fair to say each team did its best to improve the roster they carry over into 2024. Just how well is the bigger question.

Women's Basketball: A

Additions: Villanova PG Lucy Olsen

Departures: None

The none next to departures can read deceptively. The Iowa women's basketball team is experiencing unprecedented turnover heading into next season.

Legendary head coach Lisa Bluder, all-world player Caitlin Clark and her sensational teammates Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and Molly Davis are all gone from the program. Without any one of them it would be difficult to replicate the recent successes of Iowa women's basketball.

However, it was important the Hawkeyes landed at least one big name to ease the losses and they did just that with Lucy Olsen.

Olsen's commitment to stay with the program after Bluder's retirement was one of the biggest offseason wins in all of Iowa athletics. Olsen averaged 23.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game in 2023, her points ranking only behind Clark and USC's JuJu Watkins.

Olsen can't do it alone, but she certainly gives the Hawkeyes the best chance of making some postseason noise in the 2024-25 season.

Men's Basketball: B

Additions: Manhattan F Seydou Traore, Morehead State PG Drew Thelwell

Departures: PG Tony Perkins to Missouri, SF Pat McCaffrey to Butler, PG Dasonte Bowen to St. Bonaventure

The loss of Tony Perkins stings a bit. He's not the most prolific player, but he was a strong asset and a veteran presence. Still, his value is somewhat underlined in the fact he transferred to a program that failed to win a conference game last year.

Morehead State's Drew Thelwell will cusion that loss rather well. He averaged 10.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game over 68 career games, so he won't be the focal point of the starting five, but he will pair nicely with Josh Dix and Payton Sandfort (should he choose to return).

The losses of McCaffrey and Bowen are more about depth, but how head coach Fran McCaffrey filled his final scholarship roster spot certainly makes up for it.

Manhattan rising sophomore Seydou Traore is a figure of excitment for Iowa basketball next year. The 6-foot-7, 215lb wing can rack up points and boards if his skills translate to the Big Ten. In his freshman campaign he averaged 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Traore may not make an immediate impact and Thelwell may be nothing more than aservicable starter, but McCaffrey did at the very least ensure his roster did not get worse.

Still, it's hard to say that the roster has improved enough to be more than an NCAA Tournament bubble team again in 2024-25, though that may have more to do with Standfort than the Transfer Portal musical chairs.

Football: C-

Additions: Northwestern QB Brendan Sullivan, North Dakota IOL Cade Borud, Northwestern WR Jacob Gill

Departures: OT Kadyn Proctor to Alabama, QB Deacon Hill to Utah Tech, WR Jake Bostic to Texas A&M, QB Spencer Petras to Utah State, CB Brenden Deasfernandes to Central Michigan, DL Anterio Thompson to Western Michigan, QB Joey Labas to Central Michigan, WR Diante Vines to Old Dominion, LS Liam Reardon, TE Cael Vanderbush, CB AJ Lawson

It's true, Kirk Ferentz didn't need to make many moves. However, there are a few factors that warrent such a low grade for the Hawkeyes Transfer Portal movement.

First is the loss of Kadyn Proctor. I understand most Iowa fans are over him and incredibly frustrated by the whole situation surrounding him. But Proctor was an Iowa-grown talent who was back in the building and still decided to leave before Iowa could see any benefit.

Iowa's offensive line will be good without Proctor, but he'd have been the best trench player on the roster without question and that counts for something.

The next factor is simply the number of losses, particularly at quarterback. While Iowa fans likely won't miss Ptras, Labas or Hill very much, their collective departure put Iowa in a tough situation as Tim Lester installs a new offense with his starter yet to be cleared to practice.

Credit where it's due, Brendan Sullivan was a solid addition to round out the quarterback room, and if he's the starter in 2025 it'll be an even bigger win. Lester and Cade McNamara couldn't ask for a better backup, given the circumstances.

Iowa is going to be a good team in 2024. It's not like their lack of movement or ratio of losses to additions will make them a sub-7-win team or anything. But this was a team that was shutout in three of its four losses, so an impact player regardless of Proctor would have been welcome. It's not like Iowa needs to scrape the barrel either after a strong portal class last year.

It may be a poor grade here, but it's certainly not indicative of what the team can achieve, either on the field or in the portal on a yearly basis.

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