Early Tuesday morning it was reported by multiple outlets that UNLV forward Demetris Morant, who played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2013-14, has decided to transfer. According to the reports Morant aims to transfer to a school closer to his father, who suffered a stroke, in Florida.
And according to Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, there’s apparently a leader in the race for Morant’s commitment.
Morant will seek a waiver from the NCAA in hopes of being granted eligibility for the 2014-15 basketball season. He is most likely transferring to Florida Gulf Coast.
“Demetris has been granted his release and he will be transferring,” coach Dave Rice said. “His dad has been very ill. We will support a hardship waiver 100 percent. He’s a great kid, and he’s done a great job for us academically.”
Morant (0.6 ppg, 0.5 rpg) played an average of 3.8 minutes per game last season, with starters Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith and reserve Christian Wood being the leaders in minutes amongst UNLV’s front court players. UNLV did lose Birch, Smith and Carlos Lopez-Sosa at the end of the season, but with talented players such as Goodluck Okonoboh and Dwayne Morgan joining the program significant playing time would have been tough for Morant to earn.
However minutes weren’t the reason for Morant’s decision to transfer, but rather the health of his father.
For UNLV the departure means that they’ll be without another body in the front court, placing more pressure on the players who will be a part of the rotation in 2014-15. UNLV has depth on the perimeter, even if they were to lose another player at some point in the near future, but that isn’t the case inside. The question now is whether or not Rice and his staff can address the issue with a late recruit, be it a freshman or a transfer.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.