With the college basketball season over much earlier than usual as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, activity in the transfer portal has ramped up.
Two more important names -- University of Arkansas at Little Rock junior guard Jaizec Lottie and University of Central Arkansas junior center Hayden Koval -- are in the transfer portal, according to Stadium college basketball insider Jeff Goodman.
A team spokesman for each school confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Wednesday that the players are in the transfer portal, although UCA's spokesman indicated that it's unclear if Koval will decide to transfer.
Lottie, however, had seemed to indicate in a cryptic social media post on Sunday night that he was transferring, tweeting a video of him making a full-court shot inside an empty, dimly-lit Jack Stephens Center with the caption "11out" accompanied by a peace-sign emoji. "Appreciate all y'all for the support," Lottie said at the beginning of the video.
Lottie, a 6-1, 180-pound combo guard, was a key role player for the Trojans during their 21-10 campaign and Sun Belt regular-season championship run this past season.
The Aurora, Colo., native played in 29 of 31 games, averaging 6.4 points, 3.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals, while shooting 52.1% from the field.
But for the second consecutive season, Lottie saw his starts dramatically reduced. After starting 31 of 32 games as a freshman and 17 of 23 as a sophomore in UALR Coach Darrell Walker's first season, Lottie started only five games this past season.
Lottie's minutes also dipped from 2018-19. He averaged 30.8 minutes per game as a sophomore, but this season it was 24.6. Much of that can be attributed to the Trojans working with a deeper roster this season, especially with the guard additions of junior transfer Ben Coupet Jr. and freshmen Jovan Stulic, Marko Lukic and Isaiah Palermo. Coupet and Stulic combined for 60 starts.
Walker declined to comment Wednesday on Lottie's decision, per a team spokesman. Sophomore forward Horace Wyatt Jr., who did not play this season, has also recently announced that he's transferring from UALR.
So, too, has Arkansas State University sophomore guard Kobe Wilson.
Koval's decision to enter the portal perhaps comes as the biggest surprise considering the 7-0, 220-pound center has been a three-year starter for UCA. He started all 31 games this season, averaging 12.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 32.7 minutes per game, while shooting 45.9%.
Koval, a native of Prosper, Texas, was an all-defensive team selection by the Southland Conference, leading the league in blocked shots with 95 total and ranking sixth in rebounding with 235 total boards.
Along with Koval, the Bears were expected to return every member of their starting five for next season, but now that appears in doubt.
UCA Coach Anthony Boone declined to comment Wednesday, per a team spokesman.
Sports on 03/19/2020
Print Headline: UALR guard, UCA center enter transfer portal