OT: The madness beyond the bracket

Junior Chuck Harris is one of five players that have entered the transfer portal. Photo by Grace Hensley.

Overtime, or “OT,” is an opinion column series where the Collegian takes national sports headlines and gives them a Butler-centric angle.

OWEN O’KEEFE | SPORTS REPORTER | ookeefe@butler.edu

The NCAA men’s basketball transfer portal opened up Monday, March 13, and names of athletes have been flying in left and right. According to the Twitter page @VerbalCommits, over 600 Division I collegiate men’s basketball players entered the transfer portal in just the first week.

Due to rule changes implemented just a few years ago, the transfer portal gets more electric every year since first-time transfer players are now immediately eligible to play at their new school. In Bulldogs’ head coach Thad Matta’s first full offseason since returning in 2022, Butler will be active in the transfer portal once again. Senior sports media major and men’s basketball team manager JP Lindsey has seen this happen firsthand.

“In the last two years, since more players are eligible, it has obviously opened up the opportunity to leave since they don’t have to sit out,” Lindsey said. “It also allows teams to flip their rosters a lot year to year, compared to the past when teams would either bring in grad transfers or have a transfer sit for a year.” 

Butler basketball has already seen redshirt freshman Pierce Thomas, sophomore Jayden Taylor and juniors Chuck Harris, Myles Wilmoth and Myles Tate all enter the transfer portal seeking those greener pastures available to them from other schools and coaches. Sophomore political science major Kate Rashevich explained that it was disappointing to see these players enter the transfer portal.

“Watching each player enter the transfer portal was truly saddening,” Rashevich said. “If they do transfer, as we’ve seen players back out of the portal, then their presence and skill will be dearly missed. Furthermore, I think everyone was disheartened to watch Jayden Taylor enter the transfer portal.” 

Like any players that are looking to find somewhere new, there are multiple reasons that may explain why these Bulldogs decided to enter the portal. 

Senior entrepreneurship and innovation major Yuli Bernstein mentioned why he believed that two of the bench players have decided to potentially leave the program.

“Myles Wilmoth did not play enough to want to remain with the program,” Bernstein said. “I could see this coming from afar. He wants to go have a bigger role somewhere else. Pierce  needed a bigger role as well. He was on the bench a lot and was far too athletic to be there. I believe he will go to Indiana State or Southern Indiana.” 

After entering his name into the portal, Wilmoth has heard from Hofstra, Fairfield, Monmouth and Robert Morris, among others. Schools that have reached out to Thomas include South Carolina, Eastern Carolina, Southern Indiana, and Indiana State. Notable teams that have reached out to Myles Tate are Murray State, Richmond, Appalachian State and Eastern Tennessee State. 

To no surprise, Jayden Taylor is the Butler player that has made the most buzz after entering his name into the portal, following an impressive sophomore season in which he led the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.9 points per game while shooting 40.8% from the field and 32.6% from beyond the arc. A plethora of programs have put their ticket into the Jayden Taylor sweepstakes, with Gonzaga and Xavier being the most noteworthy. Other schools that Taylor has heard from are Iowa State, Clemson, Arkansas, Minnesota and Cincinnati. No news has been broken yet on who Chuck Harris has heard from. 

With the departure of key players at the heart of Butler basketball, a door is now open to put together a new group of talent. 

“We’ll kinda see what the Thad Matta era of Butler basketball will look like,” Lindsey said. “Most of our roster going forward will be guys that he specifically brought in.” 

Players currently on the team that Matta had brought in are senior Jalen Thomas, graduate Manny Bates, senior Ali Ali, and first-year Connor Turnbull. Also, two high school recruits coming in next fall are four-star combo guard Finley Bizjack from Texas and three-star center Boden Kapke from Minnesota.

To fill in the open spots on the roster, Matta and his staff have been busy trying to find players that will fit in their vision for the program. Butler has already been linked to several players in the portal. Some names include graduate guard Nicolas Timberlake, junior guard Jaden House, senior forward B.J. Mack and senior guard Paxson Wojcik. Due to multiple guards departing via the portal, it is expected that the Bulldogs will heavily pursue the guard position in the portal. 

With news on players entering the transfer portal breaking often, Butler men’s basketball fans will continue to follow how the program will rebuild for next season. To stay informed about the latest changes in the transfer portal, you may find it useful to keep an eye on the Twitter accounts @VerbalCommits and @ThePortalReport, as well as the website 247 Sports.


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