The transfer portal has changed college basketball forever. It's become like a free agency of sorts for the NCAA. There’s been tons of think pieces on whether the portal is good or bad for college basketball, but there's no question that one thing it’s done is allow players more control over their future. Following the retirement of longtime Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, Kiki Iriafen has decided to enter the transfer portal, as per Talia Goodman of The Next.

It’s not surprising that Iriafen entered the transfer portal. Since the explosion of the portal’s popularity, many players have used it when their current coach is either fired, leaves for another school or in Stanford’s case, retires.

When it comes to the Pac-12, it’s possible that conference realignment and the dissolution of the Pac-12 also will play a role in certain players deciding to enter the transfer portal. Just this week, the vast majority of Oregon State’s women’s basketball team entered the portal. Oregon State will be shifting to the West Coast Conference for basketball play next season while Stanford will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Iriafen’s decision means that Stanford will be losing their top two post players from the 2023-24 season. Cameron Brink has declared for the WNBA Draft and is expected to be a lottery pick. Brink had one more season of college basketball eligibility remaining due to her COVID year.

Kiki Iriafen becomes top name in the transfer portal

Kiki Iriafen’s decision to enter the transfer portal means that she is now the top available player. A developing young big with offensive versatility and defensive impact does not grow on trees. As per Goodman, Iriafen entered the portal with a “do not contact” tag.

Stanford Cardinal forward Kiki Iriafen (44) shoots a jump shot during the second half against NC State Wolfpack forward Mimi Collins (2) in the semifinals of the Portland Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center at the Moda Center.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

That tag often means one of two things. It could mean that Iriafen has already chosen where her next destination will be and does not want other schools to waste their time. But the more likely explanation is that she has narrowed down a list of schools she would be interested in and wants to reach out on her own terms.

Whatever the case may be, she can potentially tip the balance of power in college basketball depending on her choice. As mentioned before, she’s one of the best bigs in the country. This past season, she won the final Pac-12 Most Improved Player Award.

This past season, Iriafen moved into a full-time starting position alongside Cameron Brink. She appeared in 36 games for the Cardinal at a little over 27 minutes per game. She saw a huge leap in scoring up from her 6.7 points per game last season to 19.4 this year.

She also averaged 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists with splits of 54.6 percent shooting from the field, 33.3 percent shooting from the three point line and 77.3 percent shooting from the free throw line. It was breakout season for Iriafen who averaged only 9.3 minutes per game across her first two seasons at Stanford.

Iriafen will be entering her senior year of college basketball and has no doubt put herself on the radar of WNBA teams.