EVANVILLE, Indiana — It’s mid-May and the merry-go-round of national college basketball coaches has all but stopped while the NCAA transfer portal is closed. This should be a quiet time of year.
Except for the University of Evansville.
Coach Todd Lickliter and the entire team were unexpectedly sacked on May 5, leaving the EU and South Carolina as the only vacancies. The timing is strange because the previous team has already signed at least four players. It is also unknown if anyone else will seek an NCAA exemption to transfer after five others have left since March.
Meanwhile, the EU and search firm TurnkeyZRG have begun interviewing candidates to take on the Purple Aces. Maybe that announcement will come later this week. Little information about the survey was otherwise leaked.
So for now, let’s take a look at where the roster stands for the next team.
Purple Aces of Evansville:Here is a list of possible replacements for the head coach
Of the nearly 1,700 Division I players on the NCAA transfer portal, six left the Aces.
Shamar Givance → UTEP: He announced days after Lickliter was fired that he is committed to the University of Texas at El Paso and will spend the next season at Conference USA as a graduate transfer. Givance scored 1,000 points in four years with the Aces and led them in points, assists and steals last year.
Jawaun Newton → Southern Illinois: There was some belief that Newton and Givance would join UTEP, considering Newton is a native of El Paso. However, surprisingly, Newton announced that he was transferred to EU rivals Southern Illinois. He was the second leading scorer and the best rebounder last season.
Blake Sisley → Wright State: It took less than a week for Sisley to unexpectedly switch from the Aces to the Raiders, who made the NCAA tournament last season. The Heritage Hills graduate was the only Aces player to earn All-MVC honors, on the All-Freshman team.
Iyen Enaruna → Fort Hays State: He spent two years at a college, two years at the EU, and now he’s going to Division II. Enaruna, who is 6-9, made five starts last November before essentially dropping out of the rotation at the end of the season.
Troy Boynton → South Carolina: Boynton never officially dressed before transferring midway through his rookie season as he was recovering from a fractured wrist. Now, he’s heading to the Southeast Conference, joining the Gamecocks as a walk-on with the possibility of winning a scholarship.
Emmette page → To be defined: He only appeared in 16 games in two seasons, scoring 30 points in total, despite surpassing the 1,000 mark in two years at the junior level.
The EU also trained fifth-year veterans Noah Frederking and Evan Kuhlman, so eight scholarship players from last season are gone. The EU lost seven in 2020 and five in 2021 – eight of those 12 being transfers.
Five fellows remain and all appear committed to the program’s long-term future, embracing the opportunity to be the core that transforms the EU.
- Trey Salon: The 6-9 big redshirt last year after playing 19 games as a freshman. He has four years of eligibility remaining.
- Preston Phillips: The EU’s other big at 6-8 started 15 games as a rookie, averaging 2.3 points and four rebounds. He’s still three years old.
- Antonie Smith Jr.: While his playing time declined during the conference game, Smith Jr. started nine games and led the aces in 3-point percentage at 44%. He will be a veteran.
- Blaise Beauchamp: The nimble 6-3 shooter thrived down the stretch when he started nine of his final 10 games. He made the team’s best 44 3-pointers. He must have three years left.
- Gage Bobe: He allegedly received a scholarship last week, after spending three years as a walk-on. The 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 14 minutes off the bench in 23 games last season and will be a veteran.
- Grant Tichenor also remains on the roster, but has not played as a rookie.
The EU needs to replace five of its six top scorers from a team that had a 6-24 record and averaged the fifth lowest points in Division I. Announced returners for just 33% of total minutes played.
Todd Lickliter:3 conclusions from the EU’s decision to fire its men’s basketball coach
The EU announced four players who signed National Letters of Intent while another publicly committed. If everyone stays aboard the new trainer, the Aces should still have three bags open.
In recent years, they’ve also left one open and it’s proven to be beneficial, such as when Nebraska transfer Samari Curtis joined the show mid-season.
Evansville Men’s Basketball:Men’s basketball signs three as roster rebuild continues
Here’s an update on those who have committed to Lickliter:
Sekou Kalle, striker 6-10: The transfer from Akron was the latest to announce his commitment, though the EU never confirmed whether it received the paperwork before the coach change. It is unknown if he signed an NLI. Kalle was a 2021 Kentucky All-Star at DeSales High School. He has already received offers from Rutgers and UCLA, but played just 13 minutes in six appearances with the Zips, who made the NCAA tournament.
Matthew Ragsdale, guard 6-4: He averaged 21.5 points on 45% shooting in the D-II Western Colorado last season, earning second-team honors in all regions and first-team honors in all conferences. ragsdale allegedly reopened its recruitment after changing coach. EU announced its signing the day before the team’s dismissal.
Christopher Moncrief, guard 6-6: He averaged 19 points and 7.2 rebounds last season at The Kiski School, a Pennsylvania prep school in the Pittsburgh area. His father wrote the following to the Courier & Press: “WE ARE STILL COMMITTED!! Christopher is still motivated to help bring a championship to the EU! Hope the new coach and team will accept us!”
Zaveion Chism-Okoh, guard 6-3: He spent last season at Link Year Prep in Missouri, where EU forward Trey Hall participated. Chism-Okoh hails from Mount Pleasant, Texas, where he averaged 13.6 points and 2.6 steals as a veteran, earning all state honors and leading his team to a 27-1 record.
Logan McIntire, guard 6-4: The first recruiting class member of 2022 committed last August and signed in November. The 6-foot-3 rookie in the state averaged 21.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals for North Harrison High School, where he won a sectional title.
Chad Lindskog is the sports editor for Courier & Press. You can contact him by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @chadlindskog.