Jayden Gardner

Junior forward Jayden Gardner drives through contact to get the layup against Cincinnati. 

The East Carolina University men’s basketball team has had six of its key players enter the transfer portal, within the time frame of March 22 to March 31, for the 2021-2022 season.

The players consist of freshman guard Noah Farrakhan, sophomore center/forward Charles Coleman, junior forward Jayden Gardner, junior guard Miles James, senior guard Bitumba Baruti and senior center Edra Luster. Head basketball coach Joe Dooley said he wishes the players who entered the transfer portal well.

“We’re very appreciative of the contributions of each individual to our program and wish them well in their endeavors,” Dooley said in a statement. “We’re excited about the future of Pirate basketball with those who will be returning along with the addition of several newcomers.”

Out of the 2020-21 starting lineup, junior guard Tremont Robinson-White, sophomore guard Tristen Newton and redshirt junior Ludgy Debaut are the only starters from the 2020-21 season that will remain on the team for the 2021-22 season as of now.

Gardner received all American Athletic Conference first team honors for the 2020-21 season. Prior to the start of the season, Gardner was named to the Erving Award Watch List in 2020 for the 2020-21 season. According to NCAA.com, the award is given to the best small forward in the nation. For the 2019-2020 season, Gardner was named to the all American Athletic Conference second team.

“We’re certainly disappointed,” head basketball coach Joe Dooley said. “We understand that guys certainly want to do what they feel is in the best interest of their careers. They have that choice to do it and we respect their decision.”

This past season, Gardner had a season high in points against North Carolina Wesleyan University (11-6, 8-2 USA South Atlantic Conference) with 27 on Dec. 21, 2020. Meanwhile, Gardner had a season high in assists and rebounds with four and 15 respectively against the University of Houston Cougars (28-4, 14-3 American Athletic Conference) on Feb. 3.

According to ACCSports.com, Gardner has received interest from North Carolina State University, the University of Virginia, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Miami.

In the category of non-ACC schools, the University of Tennessee and the University of Mississippi additionally showed interest in Gardner.

According to ECUPirates.com, in his freshman season, Farrakhan averaged three points a game, one assist and 0.9 rebounds. Coleman averaged 0.8 points, 0.0 assists and 1.1 rebounds. Coleman’s career averages are 2.5 points a game, 0.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds.

In the 2020-21 season, Gardner averaged 18.3 points a game, 1.4 assists and 8.3 rebounds a game. Gardner’s career averages at ECU are 18.0 points, 1.6 assists and 8.7 rebounds a game.

James averaged 0.9 points a game, 0.7 assists and 0.7 rebounds for the 2020-21 season. In his career at ECU, James averaged 1.2 points a game, 0.4 assists and 0.9 rebounds. Baruti in 2020-21 averaged 6.8 points, 0.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Baruti’s career averages with the Pirates are 5.2 points a game, 0.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

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