One of my favorite things about men’s college basketball is that it is usually pretty easy to keep track of the roster. With only 13 scholarship spots, it’s not too hard to keep track of who is on the team, who is leaving, who is coming in, and things like that. But this offseason, it is much more difficult for a couple of reasons. First, the NCAA has given all student-athletes who competed in this past 2020-21 basketball season an extra season of eligibility. This allows players who were seniors this past season a chance to return for an extra year. And all of the other players who were on the roster will have that opportunity after their senior seasons as well. The NCAA is also now allowing all players who transfer from their original school to be immediately eligible at their new school (without having to sit out a year). When you combine these new policies, you have a situation where there are a ton of players now in the transfer portal, and it is very confusing to keep up with which seniors are opting to play again, which players are transferring, and which players may still need to sit out a year at their new school. Winthrop’s situation is also complicated by a coaching change, which has caused some recruits to decommit. So I’m going to attempt to give a snapshot of where the roster stands as of today (Friday, April 16), two weeks into the Mark Prosser era.
Players that are likely on the 2021-22 WU roster:
These are either players that were on the team last year (excluding seniors), or players that have committed to the program since Prosser’s hiring. There’s always a chance that any of the returning players could still opt to transfer after this point, but now that we are nearly a month after the season ended and two weeks after a new coach was named, I feel like the chances of that happening are decreasing as each day goes by. And I’m listing these guys somewhat by height/positional order to get an idea of where there may still be some need on the roster.
G Russell Jones, 5’8″, junior (+1 additional year of eligibility)
G Sin’Cere McMahon, 6’1″, sophomore (+1) – McMahon is transferring in from WCU.
G Josh Corbin, 6’3″, sophomore (+1) – Corbin entered the transfer portal, but has since announced that he’s running it back.
G Toneari Lane, 6’5″, sophomore (+1)
G Michael Anumba, 6’4″, senior (+1)
G Cameron Whiteside, 6’5″, senior (+1) – Whiteside is transferring in from UVA-Wise (D2).
G Jamal King, 6’5″, junior (+1)
F Cory Hightower, 6’7″, senior (+1) – Hightower is transferring in from WCU. Since he has transferred once before in his career (from Presbyterian to WCU), and isn’t a grad transfer, I’m not sure of his eligibility status for next season.
F Chase Claxton, 6’7″, junior (+1)
F Kelton Talford, 6’7″, sophomore (+1)
F DJ Burns, 6’9″, junior (+1)
G Nate Buss, 5’11”, senior (+1) – Walk-on
That’s 11 scholarship players (plus one walk-on) that appear to be likely on next year’s team. Of the transfers, McMahon and Whiteside should be immediately eligible. Hightower may need a waiver to be able to play next season, and I have no clue if that’s possible/likely. So if we assume these players are in place, that leaves two scholarship spots available.
Players that have committed elsewhere:
These players/recruits have committed to other schools since Coach Kelsey left and Coach Prosser arrived, so it is safe to say they will not be returning to WU.
G Charles Falden, 6’3″, senior – He entered the transfer portal, and then committed to James Madison.
G Reyne Smith, 6’2″, freshman – After signing with WU in the fall, he has followed Coach Kelsey to CofC.
F Ben Burnham, 6’7″, freshman – After signing with WU in the fall, he has followed Coach Kelsey to CofC.
Players that are not likely to come to/return to WU:
These players/recruits are not likely going to be on the roster next season, but because I haven’t seen anything definitive about where they may be going (or the window still exists that they could return), I’m not ruling out their return, no matter how unlikely. But that being said, as of now, I don’t have any expectation of any of these guys on the roster next year.
C Tom Pupavac, 6’10”, senior – I doubt he would be back on the WU roster (purely my guess, I have no info either way).
G Adonis Arms, 6’6″, senior – His name is in the transfer portal for his extra-eligibility season, and there seems to be no indication that he plans to return to WU (though I hope I’m wrong about that).
G Chandler Vaudrin, 6’7″, senior – He’s declared for the NBA draft, but that doesn’t stop him from returning if he wants (though I don’t expect him to).
G Kyle Zunic, 6’2″, senior – Some online videos that WU has released in recent weeks show Zunic working out with the team, but based on this Australian article, it sounds like he is returning home next month to pursue a pro career.
G Keyshawn Hunter, 6’3″, senior – A walk-on with the WU program the last few years, his name is in the transfer portal.
G Ben Knostman, 6’5″, freshman – Knostman signed with WU in the fall. The Herald has reported that he has been released from his letter of intent, but since I haven’t seen him land anywhere else yet. I’ll leave him in this category for now.
All of this is based on what I have been able to pull together from publicly available information…I don’t have any inside sourcing on any of this, so some of this could be way off if there are things going on behind the scenes that I don’t know about.