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Hodges doesn't rule out return to Bucs

Joe Avento • May 18, 2020 at 10:00 PM

JOHNSON CITY — Bo Hodges hasn’t ruled out returning for his senior year with the East Tennessee State men’s basketball team.

After receiving interest from several schools, Hodges tweeted his top five choices on Sunday night. Saying they were in no particular order, he listed the logos of ETSU, Minnesota, Butler, Tennessee State and Arkansas.

The 6-foot-5 guard put his name into the NCAA transfer portal soon after Jason Shay was promoted to ETSU’s head coach.

Tennessee State’s appearance on the list shouldn’t be a surprise. The school is in Nashville, Hodges’ hometown, and Tigers coach Penny Collins was the assistant at ETSU who recruited him out of high school.

Tennessee State went 18-15 last season, including a 9-9 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. Arkansas (Southeastern Conference), Minnesota (Big Ten) and Butler (Big East) have the lure of big-time conferences.

Hodges would be ETSU’s top returning player after averaging 12.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a junior. He was also the only guard on the team to shoot better than 50% from the field and went over the 1,000-point mark for his career during the Bucs’ run to the Southern Conference tournament championship.

Daivien Williamson, the ETSU point guard who also entered the transfer portal, reportedly has heard from Wake Forest and other schools.

Former ETSU coach Steve Forbes took over as coach of the Demon Deacons last month, and Wake Forest is in Williamson’s hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He led Winston-Salem Prep to a state championship.

Playing a part in the decisions of both players might be the NCAA proposal that could grant all players a one-time free transfer waiver. A final vote on that rule by the NCAA Division I Council could be held Wednesday.

Before he left for Wake Forest, Forbes had said he heard from insiders that the rule would likely be passed beginning immediately. Subsequently, however, that proposal was not recommended by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.

That’s a rule that could help and hurt ETSU at the same time. Hodges and Williamson could ultimately decide to leave if granted immediately eligibility elsewhere. But at the same time, the Bucs would be gaining the services of two talented transfers, point guard David Sloan from Kansas State and forward Ty Brewer from Southeastern Louisiana.

Without the rule change, Sloan and Brewer would have to sit out a year, although Brewer could still apply for a waiver because his brother Ledarrius plays for ETSU. Hodges and Williamson would have to sit out a year if they transfer with no one-time waiver allowance.

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