Men's Basketball: Cajuns not immune from NCAA transfer portal movement
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 15, 2020
The revolving door that college basketball rosters have become spins and spins, and no program, it seems, is immune.
That includes UL, where a couple Ragin’ Cajuns are headed out, and others in the Sun Belt Conference, which with Wednesday’s opening of the NCAA signing period is losing some of its biggest names from the 2019-20 season, including UL Monroe’s Michael Ertel.
As of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday the Cajuns had not announced any new signings.
But earlier this week UL freshman guard Calvin Temple entered the NCAA transfer portal.
“I Will take this time and talk over with my family about what my future holds and making the right choice for me and my family,” Temple tweeted Monday.
UL freshman guard Calvin Temple (left, 22) has entered the NCAA transfer portal, but big man Dou Gueye (right) is expected to return for the Ragin' Cajuns for 2020-21. (Photo: James Mays/Special to the Advertiser)
He also thanked UL for “a great first year” and Cajun staff members and teammates “who I made a bond with.”
Temple appeared in 24 games as a freshman, starting six – primarily due to injuries among usual Cajun starters – and while averaging 3.2 points and shooting just 32.9 percent from the field over 12.9 minutes per game.
His playing time dwindled late in the season after injured Cajun guards Mylik Wilson and Trajan Wesley returned to the lineup.
Temple is joined in the transfer portal by sophomore big man Kristian Lafayette, who entered earlier this month.
The sporadically used Lafayette averaged 9.2 off-the-bench minutes, 2.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 22 games for the Cajuns this season.
He averaged 2.0 points over 34 games in his two-season UL career.
The Cajuns are expected to return their top four scorers the 2019-20 season: LSWA Newcomer of the Jalen Johnson, a transfer forward from St. Louis University who averaged a team-high 15.5 points per game and team-leading 6.6 rebounds per game; guard Cedric Russell (14.4 ppg), the team’s MVP; forward Kobe Julien, who averaged 12.8 ppg in eight games before sustaining a knee injury that cut short his freshman season; and Wilson, the Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.5 ppg.
Among those also expected back for UL are backup point Wesley; frequent starting big man Tirus Smith, who for disciplinary reasons was suspended late in the season; and part-time starting forward Dou Gueye, whose 6.3 boards per game were second only to Johnson's 6.6 among Cajun leaders.
But the Cajuns will proceed without Temple, who played his high school ball in the Mississippi area just south of Memphis, Tennessee, and Lafayette, who is from the Detroit area.
Those two recently joined a long list of Sun Belt and other NCAA players on the move.
Verbalcommits.com, a recruiting website that tracks NCAA Division I transfers, listed more than 700 on its 2020 list heading into Wednesday’s signing period opening.
The two highest-profile Sun Belt names in the portal: Ertel and Georgia Southern’s Quan Jackson, both graduate transfers and both second team all-SBC selections last month.
Ertel – well known in Lafayette for his prolific games against the Cajuns – tweeted last week that is he leaving ULM, and over the weekend he tweeted that he’s joining ex-Cincinnati and Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy at Alabama-Birmingham.
Ertel follows Ryan Cross, a longtime ULM assistant coach who according to The (Monroe) News-Star has joined Kennedy’s new staff at UAB.
The Indianapolis Star reported that after entering the portal Ertel, an Indiana native, also was contacted by programs including Butler, Illinois, Auburn, Creighton and DePaul.
Another notable transfer loss for ULM: guard Jalen Hodge, who tweeted last week that he had committed to James Madison.
James Madison’s new head coach is longtime Georgia Southern coach Mark Byington, whose Eagles beat both UL and Georgia State to advance to the semifinals of the coronavirus-canceled Sun Belt Tournament.
After Byington left, two Georgia Southern starters – Jackson and Calvin Wishart – entered the portal.
Jackson, however, did not immediately rule out the possibility of remaining with the Eagles.
Wishart, meanwhile, committed to Cal-Santa Barbara before the signing period opened.
The list of Sun Belt departures goes on and on.
Melo Eggleston, who began his college career at Wake Forest, has left Arkansas State, where he started 10 games, for Rhode Island-based Northeast Conference-member Bryant.
Eggleston picked up two technical fouls when UL visited Arkansas State back in December, a game in which 10 technicals in all were assessed, including seven on the Cajuns.
Coastal Carolina lost its No. 2 scorer, guard Keishawn Brewton, who entered the portal during the season, in early February.
Georgia State subs Josh Linder and Kavonte Ivory – both of whom averaged double-digit minutes this past season – were in the portal as of early this week, according to 247Sports.com.
Ditto for Little Rock’s Jaizec Lottie, who averaged 24.5 mostly off-the-bench minutes.
Troy had a handful of players in the portal following former Texas-Arlington coach Scott Cross’ first season in charge of the Trojans, including four who started double-digits games in 2019-20: top-two scorers Darian Adams and Ty Gordon along with KJ Simon and Tahj Small.
Adams pledged to sign with Jacksonville State and Simon with Bethune-Cookman while Gordon, who scored 28 against UL when the Cajuns beat the Trojans in mid-February, remained publicly uncommitted as of late Tuesday.
On the receiving end of the many twists and turns is Sun Belt-member South Alabama, which expected to pick up Dachon Burke Jr. – Nebraska’s second-leading scorer when he was suspended late last season – as a graduate transfer.
The Jaguars, who under coach Richie Riley have built their program largely around Division I transfers, also picked up a commitment this week from guard Terrence Lewis, who is leaving Iowa State.