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NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Washington State, Tennessee, and Gonzaga Bring In Veteran Guards, Among Other News

There was massive movement in the NCAA basketball portal on Friday, with several schools picking up key transfers. Here is a look at some NCAA basketball recruiting news from May 24 involving the Tennessee Volunteers, Washington State Cougars, and Gonzaga Bulldogs.

NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Washington State, Tennessee, and Gonzaga Bring In Veteran Guards, Among Other News

Tennessee Secures Commitment of Chaz Lanier

As expected, North Florida guard Chaz Lanier will finish his collegiate career in his home state, and he committed to the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday afternoon, according to Joe Tipton of On3.

Lanier, one of the top guards still on the market, chose Tennessee over Kentucky and BYU. However, it was always thought that the competition for Lanier’s services was really between the Volunteers and Wildcats. He visited all three schools last week.

Lanier made a huge jump last year in year No. 4 with North Florida. He went from averaging fewer than four points in his first three seasons to nearly 20 points a game this past season. He also knocked down 3.3 treys a game while shooting .510/.440/.880.

Lanier is expected to start for the Vols immediately. According to Ben McGee of Go Vols247, Lanier will likely start at shooting guard alongside point guard Zakai Zeigler and wing Jahmai Maschak.

Lanier is Rick Barnes’ fourth transfer this year. Darlinstone Dubar, Igor Milicic Jr., and Feliz Okpara are the other Vols transfers.

With Tennessee’s five transfers and incoming freshman Bishop Boswell, the Vols have just one scholarship. It was previously reported that Barnes would keep the last scholarship for later this summer.

McKee seemingly echoed that sentiment as he believes the Vols will add a young guard with the scholarship.

Braedon Smith Joins Gonzaga

Gonzaga landed their point guard of the future by adding Colgate transfer Braedon Smith. Smith, a native of Seattle, has been a starter the past two seasons and was selected the 2023-24 Patriot League Player of the Year and the 2023-24 Patriot League Tournament MVP. He produced 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.9 steals this past season while shooting .393/.311/.786.

Smith committed to Gonzaga after recently taking an official visit. The 6-foot lead guard is a two-way point guard who improved as a distributor and defender last year. He also cut down his turnovers but struggled to shoot the ball.

Smith will redshirt this year and have two years of eligibility remaining starting next season. Smith is redshirting as the Bulldogs return 10 players from last year’s squad and have already brought in three transfers, per Cole Forsman of Gonzaga Nation.

Plus, the Bulldogs’ backcourt is full next season, with Ryan Nembhard taking over the point guard position last season and Nolan Hickman finally emerging after struggling his first two seasons. Coach Mark Few also landed Khalif Battle and Michael Ayaji from the transfer portal.

Smith chose Gonzaga over offers from Davidson, Washington, and Cal.

Gonzaga potentially has one scholarship available, but there is no indication whether Few will use it. However, the Bulldogs could use another big.

Nate Calmase Moves From Washington To Washington State

Washington State Cougars head coach David Riley added depth at the point guard on Friday with the commitment of Washington transfer Nate Calmase. Calmase transferred to Washington last season after a splendid freshman season at Lamar. But the 6-2 Gilbert (Arizona) native didn’t play much at UW, averaging 11 minutes a game in 16 appearances.

Despite seeing limited action, Calmase showed off some of his scoring potential with the Huskies. Calmase scored in double figures three times, putting up 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting against Arizona on February 24, his final appearance with Washington.

According to Greg Woods of The Spokane Review, Calmese is expected to compete for the starting point guard job, which is up for grabs after former guard Myles Rice’s departure. Isaiah Watts and Parker Gerrit are the other two point guards on the Cougars roster.

With the commitment of Calmase, Washington State still has two scholarships available.

Other News:

Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Ace Baldwin officially returned to Penn State yesterday. Baldwin averaged 14.2 points, 6.0 assists, and 2.7 assists. He finished fifth in the nation in steals and 20th in assists.

Jake Lieberman of JAlhoops reported that San Jose State offered 2025 6-8 prospect Lonnie Bass a scholarship on Friday. Bass is a strong rebounder and tenacious defender who also holds offers from St. John’s, Nevada, UT Arlington, Portland, and New Mexico. Grand Canyon, Southern Utah, and UNLV have reportedly shown interest.

Indiana State offered 2025 6-6 prospect Mason Abittan on Friday.

Southern Illinois has offered 2025 Bishop State Community College Kevin Kogbara. Since attending JA48 in Wichita, Kogbara has also heard from Jacksonville, Eastern Washington, UCSD, SIU, UIC, Central Michigan, and Texas A&M Texarkana, per Lieberman.

Odessa College transfer Willie Lightfoot committed to Alcorn State on Friday. The 6-0 guard averaged 13.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 34.0% from the 3-point line. He started his career at Bowling Green and will have two years of eligibility.

More News

A.J. Staton-McCrary has withdrawn from the 2024 NBA draft and will transfer to Florida Atlantic, according to CBS Sports Jon Rothstein. Staton-McCrary has at least one year of eligibility left and is coming off a career season at Samford, averaging 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals while shooting .442/.413/.835.

Division II transfer Steven Key II is hearing from Maryland Eastern Shore, Fresno State, and several DII programs, per ThePortalReport. Last season, Key averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 43% from the field for Central State.

Will Richard is withdrawing from the 2024 NBA draft and returning to Florida, reports Jeff Goodman of The Field of 68. The 6-5 guard is coming off a career season averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 41.1% from the field and 34.5% from beyond the arc.





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