Saint Peter’s and other NJ college basketball players have reached the transfer portal

A month after Saint Peter’s basketball team’s Cinderella ride to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament, the car breaks into multiple parts.

Hours after starting point guard Matt Lee announced he was transferring to Missouri State on Tuesday, elite forward KC Ndefo entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Ndefo could be the first and only Peacock to reunite with his former coach, Shaheen Holloway, at Seton Hall. The 6-foot-7 eldest, who is just a year away from eligibility, has been among the nation’s top shot blockers the past two seasons. Last winter, he averaged 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.8 blocks in 25 minutes per game. He shot 47% from the field and always provided a stifling defense around the edge.

During his transition from Saint Peter’s to Seton Hall, Holloway made it clear privately and publicly that he didn’t want to raid his old roster for a group of players. But with the program’s top three guards already transferring elsewhere and three more rotational players in the portal and looking at other schools, Ndefo looks set to leave one way or another. He is graduating this spring and is already exploring the NBA draft process – he could choose to turn pro and earn money overseas or possibly hang on to a G League team looking an athletic and versatile defender and a willing passer.

Seton Hall is in desperate need of help up front and in particular tenacity up front. If he lands at South Orange, Ndefo would instantly become the team’s best defender and second best passer, after Kadary Richmond.

It will be interesting to see just how much loyalty plays into Ndefo’s decision. Unlike last year, when he entered the portal and found no major takers, only for Holloway to accept him back at the start of the school year, the competition for him is expected to be fierce this time.

As the free portion of the college basketball schedule moves forward, Saint Peter’s looks set for a makeover under new coach Bashir Mason.

Saint Peter's Fousseyni Drame (10) and Matthew Lee try to get on track in a timeout during the first half of the Peacocks' Elite Eight appearance against UNC in the NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

Ndefo is the seventh member of Saint Peter’s 10-man rotation to enter the portal. The Peacocks are far from the only team affected. As the dust settles, some 2,000 college basketball players are expected to enter the NCAA’s transfer portal, after more than 1,700 did so a year ago.

After:Jersey City Proudly Comes Together To Celebrate Saint Peter’s March Madness Race

The increased mobility is impacting programs and leagues from coast to coast, including New Jersey. Here are some of the top college players in the state who have transferred, are currently on the transfer portal, or are entering Jersey programs from elsewhere through the portal:

March 19, 2022;  Indianapolis, IN, USA;  St. Peter's Peacocks guard Daryl Banks III (5) and guard Doug Edert (25) celebrate a play in the second half against the Murray State Racers in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin - USA TODAY Sports

New Destination

Matthew Lee, from Saint Peter’s in Missouri State: The 6-0 point guard led the show for the Peacocks, averaging 6.8 points and 2.9 assists. He was a fierce defender on the ball and was exceptionally savvy in the playoffs. Lee still has two years of eligibility left.

Daryl Banks, from Saint-Pierre to Saint-Bonaventure: The 6-3 guard through Patrick School, with two years of eligibility remaining, averaged 11.3 points for the Peacocks, including a 27-point outburst against Kentucky. He scored 14 points in their Sweet 16 against Purdue and was one of their best defensemen.

Ryan Conway, from Seton Hall to Towson: The 6-1 guard, who is eligible for a redshirt after not playing at all last season, was a former three-star recruit who chose Hall over Rutgers, Marquette, Providence, Vanderbilt and Stanford. The Maryland native returns to his old neighborhood.

Drew Friberg, from Princeton to Belmont: The 6-7 forward, with a year of eligibility remaining, averaged 9.3 points and 3.6 rebounds as the Tigers won the Ivy League regular season title and played in the NIT . He scored 17 points in a win at Oregon State in November.

Ethan Wright, from Princeton, Colorado: The 6-4 sharpshooter, with one year of eligibility remaining, averaged 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Tigers. Shot 50% from the field and 39.5% from 3-point range. He made seven three-pointers in a game twice last season. Was a primary target transfer portal for Rutgers.

Doug Edert, from Saint Peter’s to Bryant: The 6-2 Bergen Catholic product, with two years of eligibility remaining, landed some huge shots during the Peacock’s March Madness magic run, producing three straight double-digit games, including a 20-point performance against the Peacock. Kentucky.

Dylan O’Hearn, of the NJIT in Jacksonville: The 6-4 guard, who still has a year of eligibility left, averaged 11.8 points and 3.2 boards last season. He shot 37.2% from 3 points.

In the portal

KC Ndefo, Saint-Pierre: The Rhe Peacocks star forward averaged 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.8 blocks in 25 minutes per game. He shot 47% from the field and always provided a stifling defense around the edge. He could help just about any team in the country. He also declared for the NBA draft.

Jaelin Llewellyn, Princeton: The 6-2 guard, with a year of eligibility remaining, had to move on as the Tigers did not allow graduating players. He committed to Clemson then decommissioned, and is now visiting Michigan. Llewellyn averaged 15.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists for Princeton last season. With an ability to shoot 3-pointers and beat defenders from the dribble, he will be an impact player at the major level.

Hassan Drama, Saint-Pierre: The 6-foot-7 Mali junior forward (twin with Fousseyni) averaged 6.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21 minutes per game. He shot 50% from the field. Like his brother, he is an excellent student. The brothers are visiting Monmouth this week.

Fousseyni Drama, Saint-Pierre: The 6-foot-7 Mali junior forward (twin with Hassan) averaged 7.0 points and 6.4 boards in 22 minutes per game. He shot 55% from the field. Like his brother, he is an excellent student. The brothers are visiting Monmouth this week.

Clarence Rupert, St. Pierre: The 6-foot-8, 245-pound Philadelphia freshman forward averaged 4.4 points and 2.6 boards. He had 11 points and 4 rebounds in the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament victory over Purdue.

Nikkei Rutty, Monmouth: The 6-8 forward, with a year of eligibility remaining, is a warrior in the paint, averaging 7.4 rebounds, grabbing a career-high 19 rebounds in a win over Siena. Rutty had 10 rebounds at St. John’s in December.

Samuel Chaput, Monmouth: The 6-1 point guard with one year remaining, played 113 games for the Hawks, making 40 starts. He is averaging 3.8 points for his career, with 255 assists.

Brandon Rush, Fairleigh Dickinson: The 6-3 junior guard was FDU’s best player, averaging 14.2 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 83% from the free throw line. He scored 36 in a season-ending knockdown of Wagner.

Devon Dunn, Fairleigh Dickinson: The 6-1 junior guard averaged 9.8 points and 2.0 assists while shooting 35% from the field and 77% from the free throw line. He withdrew from the 2020-21 season.

James Lee, NJIT: The 6-3 junior guard averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19 games. He shot 48% from the field.

Jeremiah Pope, Rider: The 6-4 senior guard averaged 3.1 points in 11.7 minutes and shot 31% from deep.

Arrivals

Cam Spencer, Rutgers: The 6-4 Loyola (Md.) fullback has two more years of eligibility. He averaged 18.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a junior last season. He shoots .388 from the arc and .851 from the free throw line as a colliegian.

Allen Bertrand, rider: The 6-5 guard averaged 4.7 points as a junior at Rhode Island after averaging 13.6 points in 2019-20. The Philadelphia native has two years left in eligibility.

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