Men’s basketball looks to rebuild voided roster after six players enter the transfer portal


Mia Hennen/ The Sunflower

During the second half of the game against the SMU Mustangs on Feb. 5, the five on the court pause to discuss strategy.

For the third straight offseason, the Shocker men’s basketball program has undergone a roster overhaul, with over half of the roster departing this spring. 

WSU has six players — Chaunce Jenkins, Clarence Jackson, Joe Pleasant, Qua Grant, Dexter Dennis and Morris Udeze — in the transfer portal for the second straight offseason. The six transfers are one short of 2020, when seven players did so, which was followed by the departure of Gregg Marshall. Only 15% of Division-I programs have six transfers this offseason.

The impact in those six departures will be significant as WSU will need to replace 64.8% of the minutes and 61.7% of the scoring from last year’s team. Last season, WSU returned 63% of the minutes from last year along with 70% of the scoring. 

Those numbers could increase further if Ricky Council IV, who declared for the NBA Draft last month while maintaining his college eligibility, decides to not return. Council averaged 12.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this past season.

Sophomore Tyson Etienne is also expected to depart from the program, despite a lack of announcement so far. Etienne declared for the NBA Draft last season on April 18 and has emphasized that the 2021-22 season was his last season in Wichita.

“I do intend for this to be my last year in college so just the motivation to continue to get better, be able to provide for my family but also leave Wichita as a winner,” Etienne said before the 2021-22 season. “We won the conference title but we didn’t win the conference tournament, we didn’t win the national championship and those are things I want to win.”

With Etienne’s expected departure, the only scholarship players left are Craig Porter, Jalen Ricks, Isaac Abidde and Kenny Pohto from last year’s team. Steele Gaston-Chapman is expected to return as a walk-on next year.

The Shockers have already made two additions this offseason with a pair of Wichita natives, Xavier Bell and Henry Thengvall. Bell is a transfer from Drexel and averaged 11.0 points per game on 49.2% shooting, both career-highs. Bell also shot 35.7% on three-pointers during the 2021-22 season and has three years of eligibility remaining.

“It’ll be fun,” Bell said. “I think this summer is a big summer for us as far as taking the right steps into having the right attitude coming in toward the season and the right momentum.”

Thengvall will join WSU as a walk-on for next season, after recently wrapping up his high school career at nearby Kapaun-Mount Carmel. Thengvall averaged 20.2 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 44% from the floor and 86% from the foul line during a breakout senior season.

The Shockers will have at least seven scholarships to fill this offseason, which could increase to eight if Council departs. Florida State transfer Quincy Ballard is expected to commit in the near future after visiting WSU last month and Elon transfer Hunter McIntosh will visit the campus from April 22-24.