Four of the six University of Washington basketball players who entered the transfer portal after the Huskies’ disastrous 5-21 season are projected as instant starters at their new schools.
Chief among them is guard Erik Stevenson, who is touted as a badass essential to bringing South Carolina back to a more physical style of play after suffering an equally dismal 6-15 season.
Other former Huskies in line to be starters after moving are guard Marcus Tsohonis at Virginia Commonwealth, point guard Nate Pryor at New Mexico State and guard RaeQuan Battle at Montana State.
Stevenson, a 6-foot-3 junior from Lacey, Wash., who spent last season at UW after two at Wichita State, now responds to no-nonsense coach Frank Martin, who suffered a major drop in the program after taking the Gamecocks to the Final Four in 2017.
The coach and Stevenson opened up about how they built mutual respect while going head-to-head when the latter played at Wichita State. The former Husky is one of three longest-serving transfers for South Carolina, joined by Murray State’s Chico Martin Jr. and Georgia Mason’s AJ Wilson.
“I lost last year and felt like we lacked leadership,” Stevenson told the Big Spur. “When a team or an organization lacks leadership, it won’t be a good thing; it’s hard to win without leadership. I’ve always been a leader and I’m not afraid of it.
Again, Stevenson didn’t explain to reporters in his new frame why he didn’t feel compelled to step in and give direction to the UW.
Martin said it was imperative that the Gamecocks link immediately take advantage of Stevenson, who still has one season left of eligibility, as well as the other newcomers.
“Erik Stevenson has a chance to make money playing this game and he’s going to graduate around this time next spring,” Martin said. “AJ Wilson also doesn’t have a second year. We owe it to these guys to find a way to hit the fast forward button in our relationship process, and they did.
Tsohonis, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Portland, is expected to start immediately after injuries to two veteran guards on VCU’s NCAA Tournament returning squad.
After just one disappointing season at UW, Pryor will be asked to be the starting point guard for his WAC team. It will soon be back in the state. The Seattle native will play against Washington State in Pullman on December 15 and return to his hometown to face Seattle University on December 30.
Battle goes to a Big Sky team where he hopes to become a top scorer, something he’s only shown sporadically at UW. In his opener, he shot 8 of 11 and scored 20 points for the Bobcats, so he’s probably in good shape now.
Among other Husky transfers, it’s unclear where forwards Hameir Wright and J’Raan Brooks stand as possible starters with their new teams in North Texas and San Diego, respectively, but they should play a lot.
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