This has been a crazy offseason in college basketball.
Because of the NCAA’s decision to ease restrictions on eligibility, the transfer portal has become more popular with college kids than free pizza, with more than 2,500 players seeing if there’s a better opportunity elsewhere.
But Minnesota State coach Matt Margenthaler said his program hasn’t had to deal with as many transfer issues as other universities, and he’s been able to be patient when it comes to adding talent to next season’s roster.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Margenthaler said. “We’ve added some really nice pieces. We needed some athleticism and toughness, and we’re always going to recruit kids that can shoot the basketball.”
The Mavericks lost three players from last season’s roster. Jamal Nixon graduated, and Zach McDermott and Landon Wolfe both transferred.
The Mavericks signed point guard Harrison Braudis from Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and wing Kyreese Willingham of Waseca during the season.
Last week, Shawn Hopkins, a 6-foot-4 wing from Butler Community College in Kansas, signed with Minnesota State.
“I took my visit, and I like everything,” Hopkins said. “The facilities, the campus, the town. I met a few of the players, and they were cool. The hospitality spoke volumes to me. It was the perfect fit. I felt this is where I need to be.”
Hopkins averaged 15.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He shot 48.3% from the field, including 32.7% from 3-point range, and 60.4% on free throws.
Margenthaler said Hopkins was recommended by Butler coach Kyle Fisher.
“(Hopkins) was an all-conference player in one of the best junior-college leagues in the country,” Margenthaler said. “He has a lot of experience, and he’s versatile. He could play the wing, or he could be a small (power forward). He’s explosive offensively, which is something we need.”
Hopkins, who is from Benton Harbor, Michigan, still has three seasons of eligibility. He considered Eastern New Mexico before deciding on Minnesota State.
“I think I play hard,” Hopkins said. “I’m a do-it-all, energy guy. I’m not that big on scoring, but if it’s my night, it’s my night.”
Braudis averaged 10.0 points, 3.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game during his junior season at Bishop Miege High School He shot 50.0% from the field and 40.3% from three point range.
Willingham, who will be attending Minnesota State next season, averaged 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists, while shooting 56.3% to help Waseca win a state championship.
Margenthaler said he can still add one more player to the roster, but he’s looking for the right fit. With the season just a few months away, many players are still looking for a place to play this winter.
“We’re going to wait and see what happens,” Margenthaler said. “If someone becomes available that we like, we’ll take a look, but if not, I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.