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Report: Former FIU guard Eric Lockett headed to NC State

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One week after guard Lavar Batts Jr. announced his intention to transfer, NC State has reportedly filled that available scholarship. According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, former FIU guard Eric Lockett has committed to NC State.

As a grad transfer Lockett will be eligible to compete immediately for the Wolfpack, and he is the second such player to join the program this offseason with former Samford forward Wyatt Walker being the first.

Lockett, who began his collegiate career at George Mason before transferring to FIU, appeared in 32 games (31 starts) for the Panthers last season and averaged 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 37.0 minutes per game. The 6-foot-5 Lockett shot 46.6 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from three and 71.7 percent from the foul line.

Lockett’s second season at FIU was a significant improvement on his first, as he started 13 of the 31 games he appeared in during the 2016-17 season and averaged 5.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest.

The addition of Lockett gives NC State additional depth on the perimeter, which will be key with the loss of leading scorer Allerik Freeman (16.1 ppg). In total NC State has to replace three of the top six scorers from a team that reached the NCAA tournament in Kevin Keatts’ first season at the helm, with Freeman and Lennard Freeman having exhausted their eligibility and Omer Yurtseven having transferred to Georgetown.

In total NC State will have eight newcomers on the roster next season, a number that does not include transfers Devon Daniels (Utah) and C.J. Bryce (UNCW). Both players will be eligible to play after sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules.

Matt Mooney’s commitment is a big deal for Texas Tech

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With five of the top six scorers from last season’s team that won 27 games and reached the Elite Eight having moved on, Texas Tech was in need of additions who can have an immediate impact on the offensive end of the floor. Monday afternoon Chris Beard’s program received a much-needed boost, as former South Dakota guard Matt Mooney announced that he will join the Red Raiders as a graduate transfer.

Mooney, who played his freshman season at Air Force before transferring to South Dakota after the 2014-15 season, was one of the top guards in the Summit League last season. A first team all-conference selection, Mooney averaged 18.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in leading the Coyotes to 26 wins and second-place finish in the Summit League.

Mooney shot 44.5 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from three and 82.9 percent from the foul line, finishing the season with an effective field goal percentage of 51.8 percent.

South Dakota participated in a postseason tournament in each of Mooney’s two seasons on the court, playing in the Postseason NIT in 2017 and the CBI this past season.

As noted above Mooney will join a Texas Tech lineup that lost a lot from last season, beginning with one of the nation’s best guards in Keenan Evans. Evans and Niem Stevenson both exhausted their eligibility, and the Red Raiders took another hit when projected first-round pick Zhaire Smith announced that he would forego his final three seasons of eligibility and remain in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Add in the losses of Zach Smith, Justin Gray and Tommy Hamilton IV, and Texas Tech will need additions such as Mooney to hit the ground running next season.

Mooney is the second grad transfer to have committed to Texas Tech this spring, the first being former St. John’s power forward Tariq Owens. In total the Red Raiders will have six new additions to the rotation, with junior college transfer Deshawn Corprew, freshmen Khavon Moore and Kyler Edwards and Missouri transfer C.J. Roberts being the others. Roberts, who joined the program in January, will be eligible at the end of the fall semester.

Texas Tech’s quest to build on a highly-successful 2017-18 won’t be easy, but returnees such as Jarrett Culver and Brandone Francis will help as will the newcomers.

The focus will likely be on who Texas Tech lost when forecasting 2018-19, which is fair given the contributions of players such as Evans. But as last year’s group showed, it’s a risky proposition to underestimate Chris Beard’s team.

Wake Forest lands grad transfer guard Torry Johnson

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Given the number of departures from the program this spring, and the fact that Bryant Crawford is going through the NBA draft process (without an agent), Wake Forest is in a position where it needs to add players capable of contributing immediately.

On Wednesday Danny Manning’s program landed a commitment from an immediately eligible transfer, as former Northern Arizona guard Torry Johnson announced that he will play his final season of college basketball at Wake Forest. Johnson took his official visit to Wake Forest on Tuesday and is the second grad transfer to join the program this spring, with the first being former Buffalo forward Ikenna Smart.

Johnson started 22 of the 31 games he played for NAU last season, averaging 11.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 26.9 minutes per game. The 6-foot-3 guard shot 37.7 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from three and 77.4 percent from the foul line.

A native of Chicago, Johnson redshirted as a freshman before making 26 starts and averaging 9.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game during the 2015-16 season. Johnson missed the entire 2016-17 season due to a torn ACL. As a result of the two seasons missed, it’s likely that Johnson will have two seasons of eligibility remaining (a petition would need to be filed for a sixth year of eligibility).

With Doral Moore turning pro, Keyshawn Woods transferring and Mitchell Wilbekin out of eligibility, Wake Forest could be in a position where it needs to account for the loss of four of its top six scorers if the aforementioned Crawford were to remain in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Crawford led the Demon Deacons in both scoring and assists last season, and if he were to leave rising junior Brandon Childress (9.1 ppg, 3.6 apg) would be the leading returnee in both of those statistical categories.

h/t Les Johns, Demon Deacon Digest

NC State lands key grad transfer Wyatt Walker

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With Omer Yurtseven transferring to Georgetown and Lennard Freeman and Abdul-Malik Abu both out of eligibility, NC State had a need of additional front court depth. Head coach Kevin Keatts and his staff managed to add an experienced player to the mix Friday, as former Samford power forward Wyatt Walker announced that he will be joining the NC State program as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Walker, who played in just two games last season due to a leg injury, will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

As a sophomore Walker was a third team All-SoCon selection, as he averaged 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Walker started all 34 games for the Bulldogs that season, tallying 17 double-doubles and shooting 58.6 percent from the field and 76.1 percent from the foul line. Walker, also visited Wisconsin and Oklahoma State, was a preseason All-SoCon selection ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Walker immediately becomes NC State’s most experienced interior option with regards to the Division I level. Derek Funderburk, who was originally an Ohio State commit (along with current NC State guard Braxton Beverly), will join the NC State program after playing last season at Northwest Florida State, and talented freshmen Ian Steere and Immanuel Bates are on board as well.

Samford grad transfer Justin Coleman picks Arizona

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With the entire starting five from a team that won 27 games and the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles having moved on, Arizona entered the offseason in need of players who can be immediate contributors. Friday afternoon Sean Miller’s program added a graduate transfer to the ranks, as former Samford point guard Justin Coleman announced that he will complete his collegiate eligibility at Arizona.

Coleman, who played his first two college seasons at Alabama, averaged 13.5 points, 6.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game at Samford this past season. Starting 27 of the 32 games he played in last season, the 5-foot-10 Coleman averaged 32.5 minutes per game and shot 43.5 percent from the field, 37.0 percent from three and 80.6 percent from the foul line.

Prior to joining the Samford program Coleman played in 67 games over the course of two seasons at Alabama, averaging 6.1 points and 2.4 assists in 22.1 minutes per game. With Parker Jackson-Cartwright out of eligibility, Coleman figures prominently in Arizona’s plans at the point guard position in 2018-19. Rising sophomore Alex Barcello will also compete for minutes at that spot.

The spring has been a busy time for Arizona recruiting-wise, as the team’s efforts during the fall were impacted by the FBI investigation in which former assistant Emanuel Richardson was one of ten individuals indicted. But after losing a talented class led by point guard Jahvon Quinerly, Arizona managed to add a total of four newcomers during the spring.

Coleman is the second grad transfer to join the program, with the first being former Pitt forward Ryan Luther. Arizona has also received commitments from guard Devonaire Doutrive and wing Omar Thielemans, and Duke transfer Chase Jeter will be eligible to compete after sitting out the 2017-18 campaign.

Ohio State lands grad transfer Keyshawn Woods

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With three of the team’s top five scorers from this season, led by Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, moving on Ohio State entered the offseason in need of players who could potentially have an immediate impact in 2018-19.

Tuesday evening the Buckeyes picked up a commitment from a grad transfer, as former Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods announced that he will play his final season at Ohio State.

Woods appeared in 28 games for the Demon Deacons in 2017-18, averaging 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. The 6-foot-3 guard was used primarily as a reserve this past season, making just five starts for Wake Forest. Woods began his collegiate career at Charlotte, playing the 2014-15 season there before transferring to Wake Forest.

During the 2016-17 season, the first in which he was eligible to play at Wake Forest, Woods started 22 of the 33 games he played in and averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Woods shot 49.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three during that campaign, and the hope in Columbus is that he can get back to that level in his lone season as a Buckeye.

Ohio State’s best returnee on the perimeter next season will be rising junior C.J. Jackson, who averaged 12.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as a sophomore. Ohio State also adds a talented freshman class that includes guards Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad. Florida State transfer C.J. Walker will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming campaign per NCAA transfer rules.