After months of college basketball, the 2022-23 season is officially over. The UConn Huskies took home their fifth title after defeating the San Diego Aztecs in the championship game on Monday. Now, programs are already thinking about the 2023-24 season with their new recruits and transfer additions. One player who could make some noise in the transfer portal is Ace Baldwin from VCU.
Alongside many of his teammates, the point guard entered the NCAA transfer portal after head coach Mike Rhoades left the Rams for a job with the Penn State Nittany Lions.
In 80 total games for VCU, Baldwin averaged 10.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.2 rebounds plus 2.3 steals a night. He made 40.8% of his field goals, 34.7% of his 3-pointers, and 77.4% of his free throws.
This past season, he won the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. The guard was also a member of the First-team All-Atlantic 10 as he led the team to the Big Dance.
Coming off the best season of his career, Baldwin could be an impactful addition to some programs. Because of that, many consider him one of the top players available in the transfer portal for the 2023-24 season.
With that being said, here are the best transfer destinations for VCU's guard Ace Baldwin.
3. St. John's Red Storm
One option for Baldwin is the St. John's Red Storm. Most of the team's backcourt has entered the transfer portal. Most notably, AJ Storr, Posh Alexander, and Andre Curbelo will be in different uniforms in the 2023-24 season.
Without the trio, St. John's should prioritize adding more guards via the transfer portal. Baldwin could be its main ball-handler to run the offense. His playmaking and scoring plus his elite defense could be enough to put the Red Storm back into the college basketball talks.
Baldwin could be one of the team's veterans in this rebuilding process. He could be a leader among the younger guards and should be a starter right away.
Most importantly, by joining St. John's, Baldwin would play under Hall-of-Famer Rick Pitino. The head coach signed with the Red Storm after three years with the Iona Gaels. Pitino has two NCAA Tournament titles (one vacated) under his belt and could be a good leader for Baldwin's new chapter in college.
With Pitino's mentorship, Baldwin could take the next step in his career and improve on all sides of the floor. He would also have the chance to compete in the Big East against Marquette and the reigning champion UConn, which could give him more national attention ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Another path that Baldwin could choose is going to Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are coming off an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament but could use some help in the backcourt.
Starting point guard Nolan Hickman failed to score on the team's last two games in the Big Dance. His tournament-best mark was just six points against Grand Canyon in the first round.
Rasir Bolton and Malachi Smith have already played four collegiate seasons and could be leaving the program ahead of the 2023-24 season.
Potentially without Bolton and Smith plus Hickman's struggles on the big stage, Gonzaga could be after new guards. Baldwin could be part of a two-guard system with Hickman and would compensate for the returnee's offensive limitations.
Additionally, Baldwin's defense could be an X-factor for the Bulldogs. This past season, they allowed 73.4 points per contest, which placed them at No. 276 in the country.
Baldwin could help Gonzaga stay competitive with his contributions on both sides of the floor. Should he join the Bulldogs, they could be a national threat once again.
1. Penn State Nittany Lions
Finally, one interesting possible path that Baldwin could choose is following his former head coach. Since he succeeded under Rhoades, the point guard should consider signing with the Penn State Nittany Lions.
The team is losing consensus second-team All-American Jalen Pickett, who was one the main players on the squad for the past two years. Also, senior Seth Lundy declared for the draft and will forego his extra year of eligibility.
Without two of their most impactful players, the Nittany Lions could add some experienced players via the portal. Baldwin would bring his leadership and his defensive skills to Penn State in this transitional period.
He would likely be one of Rhoades' most trusted players and, with two years left of eligibility, could gain more exposure in the Big Ten. Additionally, Baldwin could take a larger role on offense, then making him more of a two-way threat, which could help his draft stock in the future.
All things considered, especially a reunion with Rhoades, Penn State is likely the best destination for Ace Baldwin in the transfer portal.