Just In:ECU men’s basketball 3 players enters a transfer portal just now…

East Carolina University’s basketball team finished this past year with a 15 – 18 and will head into the 2024-2025 season with a bit of a different look.

The Pirates were able to nab five players from the transfer portal, announcing signings from senior guard Julien Soumaoro, graduate student forward CJ Walker and junior guard Jordan Riley. ECU also was able to bring in two junior college players, junior guard Jayshayne Woodard and junior forward Trevion LaBeaux. Assa Essamvous, a former St. Bonaventure forward has also committed to ECU.

Soumaoro is coming off a season at Gardner-Webb where he averaged 12.7 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game and 2.6 assists per game while shooting 40% from the field and 36% from three point range. Riley transferred from Temple University after experiencing solid growth going from 4.6 points per game in 2022 to 11.9 in 2023 while averaging 6 rebounds per game.

This would be a boost for an ECU offense that only averaged 69.3 points per game last year.

Coming out of Indiana River State, Woodard averaged 15.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 51% on field goal percentage. This earned him a spot on the NJCAA All-American Third Team. LaBeaux had similar success from Indian Hills Community College, averaging 13.3 points and 9.5 rebounds while making the NJCAA All-American first team and helping Indian Hill win the NJCAA North Central District Championship.

Both Essamvous and Walker have proved to be capable three point shooters. While the percentages have dropped a bit, Walker is only 37% from three in 2021. Essamvous shot 41% in 2022.

The additions to the team are vital in terms of replacing key players such as former ECU forward Brandon Johnson, who transferred to the University of Miami and Ezra Ausar, who ended up transferring to the University of Utah. Johnson and Ausar were both top three in rebounding and points per game scorers last year for the Pirates. Replacing their contributions will be important for the transfer and incoming freshman class.ECU wing Ben Bayela enters transfer portal

The Pirates also are without their leading assist guard Bobby Pettiford Jr., after transferring out of ECU to go to High Point University. Pettiford Jr. averaged 3.4 assists per game in his 26.5 minutes per game.

Former ECU guard Jaden Walker was second behind him with two assists per game, but Walker also entered the transfer portal.

All of these moving pieces are things to keep an eye on as ECU basketball head coach Micheal Schwartz tries to build off of where the Pirates left off last year and expand upon it.

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