Baylor stole top transfer portal star without big NIL payment in men’s basketball

The Baylor Bears made one of the biggest moves of offseason in men’s college basketball just by keeping their head coach. The Kentucky Wildcats made Scott Drew their apparent top option after John Calipari left the program for Arkansas, but after a short-lived flirtation, Drew decided to stay at Baylor, where he won the 2021 national championship.

The Bears needed reload in the transfer portal after keeping Drew with two likely first round picks out the door in Ja’Kobe Walter and Yves Missi, as well as a couple key rotation pieces graduating. Baylor’s response has been swift, and their portal haul got even better on late Sunday night.

Baylor added arguably best remaining player in the transfer portal by securing a commitment from Norchad Omier. The former Miami Hurricanes big man is a skilled interior scorer, a fantastic rebounder, a great screen setter, and even stretched out his shooting range past the three-point line last season with the Hurricanes.

Even better, Omier picked Baylor despite having more lucrative NIL offers from other programs. He picked the Bears over Louisville, Arkansas, Clemson, and St. John’s, among others. Baylor landed him without throwing him the biggest bag possible.

Omier declared for the 2024 NBA Draft, but didn’t earn an invite to the combine. Chances are he will be playing for Baylor next season, and his addition makes the Bears one of the top teams in the country.

Omier is Baylor’s second major addition in the transfer portal after landing Duke’s Jeremy Roach last month. Like Omier, Roach’s NIL payment was also a big point of speculation. There was an online report that Roach left Duke for a $1.5 million NIL deal with Baylor. Roach immediately shot it down.

Omier was ranked as the No. 5 overall player to hit the transfer portal this offseason in men’s college basketball by 247 Sports. Roach and Omier have a case as the best 1-2 punch in the portal this offseason.

The biggest NIL payments in the transfer portal publicly reported so far were Oumar Ballo’s $1.2 million deal to join Indiana, and Johnell Davis’ agreement with Arkansas for “north of $1 million.” It’s possible Omier could have gotten that kind of money elsewhere after averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game for Miami last season, but apparently it didn’t happen with Baylor.

After Omier’s commitment, college basketball insider Jeff Goodman listed Baylor along with UConn and Alabama as programs that can get players without breaking the bank in NIL. If that’s true, Baylor has put together a hell of an incoming class without paying top dollar.

Baylor has a potential top-5 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft coming in with New York-bred shooting guard VJ Edgecombe. Edgecombe is an elite athlete who can lock down defense and finish plays above the rim on offense. We ranked him as one of the best NBA prospects in high school basketball last summer. He’s joining a veteran team that should put him in position to succeed.

Baylor did just land Roach and Omier in the transfer porta — it also retained some of its best players from last season. Jayden Nunn is a deadly shooter at 6’4 who will be a big help on the wing. Langston Love is a talented scoring guard who was slowed by injuries last season but could emerge as this team’s leader in points per game this season.

Add in incoming freshman guard Robert Wright III and the return of rising junior center Josh Ojianwuna, and Baylor looks like one of the best teams in America. The Bears are a bit thin inside, but Omier gives them a small ball center option to spread the floor and let their athletes like Edgecomb attack the basket.

Drew decided to stay at Baylor because he already knows he can win a national championship there. He put the Bears in position to compete for another one with his expert work in the transfer portal.

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