By Marty Gordon
The words “recruiting” and the “transfer portal” have become interchangeable.
Both Virginia Tech and Radford University are benefitting from players who like the idea of a change of scenery. The schools announced major transfers this past week who provide some depth and experience to squads depleted by graduation.
The NCAA transfer portal is a compliance system created in October 2018 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to manage and facilitate the process for student athletes seeking to transfer between member institutions.
Many schools like Virginia Tech and Radford University have devoted an assistant coach who watches the database of those players wishing to transfer.
Tech managed to grab two players, Justin Mutts and Keve Aluma, who were instant starters in Blacksburg. The Hokies are hoping the same will be true with two players who announced this past week.
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team has added depth to its frontcourt with the addition of Rice transfer Mylyjael Poteat who has three years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward comes to Blacksburg after competing for two seasons with the Owls.
The Reidsville, N.C., native averaged 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season at Rice. He shot 62.0% from the floor, which was the seventh-highest mark in school history.
The Hokies also gained some experienced front court help in Wright State forward Grant Basile, a two-time All-Horizon League second-team pick.
More than 50 schools had contacted him before he picked the Hokies over the likes of Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Iowa State.
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Basile averaged 18.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 32.6 minutes as a fourth-year junior this year. He started every game for Wright State, which won 22 games and the Horizon League tournament title.
John Camden, a transfer from Memphis, has signed with Virginia Tech and will be immediately eligible to compete beginning with the 2022-23 men’s basketball season.
A former 4-star recruit, Camden battled injuries throughout his freshman campaign at Memphis. Camden and the Tigers finished the 2021-22 season at 22-11 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Across the river, Radford has added junior college transfer D’Auntray Pierce from Western Wyoming Community College, DaQuan Smith from Murray State University, junior college transfer Justin Archer from Florida Southwestern State College, and Madiaw Niang from Florida Atlantic University.
D’Auntray is a 6-9 center hailing from Denver. Pierce will add immediate size and strength to the Highlanders’ roster. In 25 games this season, he averaged 11.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.2 assists per game.
Those numbers came with an impressive efficiency to them, as Pierce shot 60.1% from the field, 33.3% from 3-point range, and 69.0% from the free-throw line. He posted season-highs of 23 points, 12 rebounds, eight blocks, and three steals over the course of the year as well.
After redshirting the 2018-19 season, Smith appeared in 90 games during the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, including 30 starts in 2020. He finished his Murray State career with 13 games in double-figure scoring while providing strong numbers in both steals and assists.
In his lone season with Florida Southwestern, Archer appeared in 17 games, starting six, providing 6.3 points on 65.6-percent shooting and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Niang has made 97 appearances and 19 starts thus far in his collegiate career, collecting 242 points, 278 rebounds, 34 steals, and 30 blocks. His best season while playing for the Owls came in 2019-20 when he made 10 starts out of 31 games played and averaged career highs of 2.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Virginia Tech women’s team also gained an important transfer from Boston College as All-ACC standout Taylor Soule is headed to Blacksburg. A 5’11” guard, Soule is a former winner of the ACC’s Most Improved Player award. She is the second player from BC to join the Hokies. Soule will reunite with center Clara Ford, who announced her destination in April.
Soule was one of the most consistent players for Boston College during her time in Chestnut Hill. In the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season, she averaged 14.5 points and seven rebounds per game for the Eagles. She continued her strong play in 2020-21, averaging more than 14 points and seven rebounds per game. She averaged 16 points per game this last season.
“I am very excited to add Taylor to our team,” Virginia Tech Coach Kenny Brooks said. “Her versatility on both sides of the floor along with her leadership abilities will be a huge benefit. Her energy, defensive prowess and athleticism add dimensions that can make us better. We are thrilled to have her.”
Ford is a graduate transfer who played for four years at Boston College and will utilize her fifth year of eligibility in Blacksburg.
“We are extremely excited to add Clara and her family to our team,” Brooks said. “She will add much needed depth to our front court, and her maturity and leadership qualities will be an asset for our group.”
In 2021-22 Ford played in 30 games, starting once. She averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds and shot 59% from the field.
For her Boston College career, she played in 91 games tallying a career-high 19 points in 2020 against Syracuse and secured 16 rebounds vs. UMass, also in 2020.
They will join Maryland transfer, 6-0 guard Ashley Owusu. With the Terrapins for the last three seasons, she was a 1,000-point scorer and a two-time AP All-America and was honored as the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner in 2021.
“I am thrilled to add Ashley to our already talented and experienced squad,” Brooks said. “Ashley’s experience and abilities will tie directly to the philosophies we desire. Her versatility will give us the ability to play multiple people in multiple positions. She adds an element that we haven’t had here before. Her desire to win and willingness to do what’s best for the team will elevate our program.”
This past season, Owusu averaged 14.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 42% from the field. She scored in double figures in 20 of 27 games and registered eight 20-point games, scoring a season-high 30 points vs. Stanford in November.
In 2022, Owusu was named to the Big Ten’s Second Team.