The transfer portal has given hope to those teams looking to fill roster holes and turn a rebuild into a reload. But for new LSU coach Matt McMahon, the transfer portal is the single biggest reason the Tigers could start over with an entirely new roster next season.
LSU forwards Alex Fudge and Mwani Wilkinson entered the transfer portal Friday, becoming the 10th and 11th Tiger players to do so over the three-week period since LSU fired previous coach Will Wade. Two other Tigers, Tari Eason and Darius Days, declared for the NBA Draft. That leaves McMahon without a single scholarship player from this past season's team as he enters Year 1.
When McMahon was hired, he said he wanted to keep the current roster intact.
"That's the most important thing here and we've hit the ground running," McMahon said. "We're gonna invest a lot of time with our players. I want people who want to be here, want people who want to be a part of something special because that's what we're gonna build here."
But keeping the roster even somewhat intact seems unlikely with 11 players currently in the portal: Brandon Murray, Xavier Pinson, Adam Miller, Eric Gaines, Efton Reid, Justice Williams, Bradley Ezewiro, Jerrell Colbert, Shareef O'Neal, and now Fudge and Wilkinson. Of course, players who have entered the transfer portal can return to their original school.
High school recruits Julian Phillips, Yohan Traore and Devin Ree all decommitted from LSU's 2022 class, while Marvel Allen decommitted from the Tigers' 2023 crop.
McMahon does have four players lined up for next year's team, including two from his previous stop at Murray State: guards Justice Hill and Trae Hannibal. Northwestern State transfer Kendal Coleman has also pledged to join the Tigers. McMahon's first high school recruit committed Thursday: 6-foot-10 center Corneilous Williams, ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.
It wouldn't be a shock to see McMahon bring in other Murray State players to help fill out his roster needs, as nine Racers have entered the portal. The top remaining Murray State prize is KJ Williams, a 6-foot-10 forward who averaged 18.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on his way to winning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year honors.
LSU could face severe sanctions after receiving a notice of allegations from the NCAA that included seven Level I violations. The school quickly cut ties with Wade after receiving the NOA.