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JMU Basketball 2023 Transfer Portal Tracker

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

Transfer portal tracker season isn’t just for football, folks!

Let’s track JMU men’s and women’s basketball transfers in one spot, to keep ourselves sane during the busy offseason. We’ll also have a more detailed overview of each team’s roster in the summer/fall.

Note: Justin Amadi initially entered the transfer portal before quickly announcing a return to JMU. Keeping him is a really nice boost for JMU at forward. Amadi is a good athlete and efficient finisher near the rim.

Men’s team

Additions: Michael Green III (PG, Bryant/Robert Morris), T.J. Bickerstaff (F, Drexel/Boston College), Quincy Allen (SF, Colorado), Raekwon Horton (SF, College of Charleston), and Bryant Randleman (SG, High Point)

I love the addition of Green, a graduate transfer. He’s capable of sharing the ball (4.2 assists per game last year) and scoring (he averages 10.7 points per game across four college seasons). He helps fill the holes left by Morse, Strickland, and Ihenacho. He’s also a solid free-throw shooter (83.3% last season), and JMU was inconsistent at the line a season ago. He should contribute immediately.

Bickerstaff is a big-time get for Mark Byington. A grad transfer, Bickerstaff averaged 10.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game in his final season at Drexel in 2020-21. At Boston College, Bickerstaff averaged 7.2 rebounds per game in 2021-22 and over five boards a game in 2022-23. He can rebound!

While not the 7-foot center that we’ve asked for at times, Bickerstaff (6’9″ and 210 lbs) should improve the team’s interior defense. He blocked 18 shots a season ago, which would’ve ranked second for JMU behind Alonzo Sule’s 19 last season. Playing lesser competition (we love the Sun Belt, but it’s not the ACC) could lead to a 20+ block season for Bickerstaff in 2023-24.

I really like the addition, as Bickerstaff helps fill the void left by Mezie Offurum and Alonzo Sule. Bickerstaff’s athleticism and experience makes him a likely starter.

Allen is a stellar addition, in our eyes. He’s a former top-100 recruit from the DMV with big-time length (6’8″, 190 lbs). He didn’t play much at Colorado (redshirted in 2021-22 and only played 46 minutes in 2022-23), but he’s an athletic wing with three seasons of eligibility left.

In 46 minutes last season, Allen blocked six shots, including four in 17 minutes against USC. When given time to play he can contribute, and the Dukes desperately need shot-blocking threats. While not built like a center or power forward, Allen can swat some shots and improve the Dukes’ defensive presence. He’s also a capable scorer on the wing, who the Dukes can mold as a player in coming seasons.

Raekwon Horton brings quality depth to the wing position for the Dukes. Horton, who played two seasons with the College of Charleston, has good size (6’6″ and 200 lbs) and athleticism at the wing position. He primarily came off the bench for the Cougars, but he earned minutes for one of the best mid-major teams in the country in 2022-23. He can play.

Horton’s addition makes JMU’s roster fascinating. The Dukes are extremely deep, and it’s going to be highly competitive within the team to earn minutes. JMU can legitimately go 10 players deep in 2023-24, if that’s what Mark Byington wants.

Bringing in Horton makes the Dukes the deepest and most talented they’ve been in years. The roster is loaded with experienced contributors across all positions.

Randleman is a fascinating addition.

The fifth-year guard started 99 games at High Point, giving him valuable experience. He only took 40 shots from 3-point range over four seasons, though, making just six. Barring an incredible offseason development, he won’t add 3-point shooting, but the guard can pass (3+ assists per game in each of the last two seasons), defend, and score from inside the arc. He’s a capable contributor.

Departures: Terell Strickland (PG) to LIU, Tyree Ihenacho (G) to North Dakota

Strickland’s departure makes some sense, as he struggled with health during his JMU career and the Dukes have other talented guards. Still, he likely could have contributed in 2023-24.

Strickland will play for his father at LIU next season.

Ihenacho is notable loss as well, as he offered strong upside as a pass-first guard with good size. He is rejoining North Dakota.

My wish list: Please, please give me a shot-blocking big man! The Dukes ranked in the bottom 100 in block percentage in 2022-23, and they’ve struggled with 2-point defense each of the last couple seasons. A true rim protector would give JMU the opportunity to be a top-50 defense nationally next season.

Post-portal analysis: Barring any last-minute changes, JMU’s 2023-24 roster is set. I like the group. Bickerstaff isn’t a bad addition for the big-man wish! He’ll make JMU better in the post, although he’ll need a non-transfer returner or incoming freshman to help him down low. I worry about the lack of a true shot blocker.

I love what Byington and company added at guard and on the wing. JMU should take better care of the basketball in 2023-24, a huge issue last season. Green III and Randleman are solid ball handlers who look to get teammates involved.

If the Dukes can limit turnovers, the offense should take a noticeable leap forward. JMU is built to play fast, which should stress defenses. An up-tempo attack with improved efficiency could make JMU a dangerous mid-major team, especially if the defense improves its 2-point defense.

Women’s team

Additions: Ashanti Barnes (F, ODU/Trinity Valley CC), Olivia Mullins (PG, St. Joe’s), Carole Miller (G, Virginia), and Hevynne Bristow (G, Providence/Ohio State)

Barnes adds some depth to JMU’s front court, and she should have multiple seasons of eligibility remaining.

The addition of Mullins is a big deal. She started 31 games for St. Joe’s in 2022-23, her junior season, and averaged 8.4 points and three assists per game. With Caroline Germond graduating, JMU needed to add a primary ball handler in the portal to work with rising sophomore Chloe Sterling.

Mullins played meaningful minutes at point guard for a St. Joe’s team that won 20 games and qualified for the WNIT last season. She’s likely to start at point guard for the Dukes in 2023-24, making her a key addition via the portal.

I like bringing in Miller. She’s an experienced guard used to competing against Power Conference competition. She’s not a lock to play a ton given JMU’s returning talent at guard (Peyton McDaniel, Jamia Hazell, Kobe King-Hawea, etc.), but adding Miller gives JMU valuable depth at guard.

Like Miller, Bristow is an experienced guard from a Power Conference program. Ohio State defeated JMU in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago and made its way to the Elite Eight. While Bristow only played about 10 minutes per game for the Buckeyes last season, she’s a capable contributor for JMU at the mid-major level.

Departures: Kiki Jefferson (SF, leaving for Louisville), The DNR reported that Mya Kone is also in the portal (F), Kadidia Toure (F) is reportedly in the portal, and Cheyenne Rowe (F) is also reportedly in the portal. Kobe King-Hawea (G/F) is a late transfer portal addition, per the DNR.

Jefferson leaving hurts. She’s a star. Jefferson played four years in Harrisonburg and will go down as one of the best players in program history. She joins a top-tier ACC team, and she will have NIL opportunities and a great shot to play in the WNBA if she has a strong 2023-24 season.

The other three players outside of King-Hawea were talented freshmen with the ability to develop into key contributors/starters. Perhaps they’re looking elsewhere for increased playing time.

King-Hawea was a talented scorer and fun player to watch. She’s a tough player to lose late in the portal season.

My wish list: If the Dukes keep the rest of their roster together, they’ll still be good in 2023 without Jefferson. A veteran point guard stands out as the biggest need via the transfer portal with Caroline Germond graduating, but if a starting-caliber wing is interested in JMU, the Dukes would be crazy not to try to find a “replacement” for Jefferson.

Portal analysis: I like the additions. Losing Jefferson is a huge loss, but Mullins fills the need of a veteran point guard, so I’m largely content with JMU’s transfer portal haul. Add in a talented forward in Barnes and a pair of P5 guards who can work together to make up for the loss of Jefferson’s production, and it’s easy to be excited about what JMU added. The Dukes enter next season as a Sun Belt contender again.

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