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Heel Tough Blog: Heels a Finalist for Stanford Transfer

BVM Sports

Earlier this week, Carolina found out that Seth Trimble was withdrawing from the transfer portal, and returning to UNC for the 2024-25 season. On the same day, CBS Sports reported that RJ Davis had committed to return for his super senior season, although we're awaiting an official announcement from him, to confirm his status for 2024-25. Those decisions came after Harrison Ingram declared for the NBA Draft, leaving a massive hole to fill for next season. Even leading up to the Ingram news, Carolina was busy in the transfer portal recruiting the wing position, in the form of Cade Tyson from Belmont, and Adou Thiero from Kentucky.

Not only are they recruiting those players, but they also got involved with Stanford transfer Andrej Stojakovic, the son of former NBA All-Star, Peja Stojakovic. Stojakovic averaged 7.8 points per game last season, on 41% shooting from the field, and 33% shooting from behind the arc. Stanford is where Harrison Ingram arrived from last season, and it’s no surprise that Carolina used Harrison Ingram as a contact during their recruitment of Stojakovic, as Ingram is the best person qualified to tell Stanford what to expect and give a personal account of how different the college experience is on the West Coast, as compared to Chapel Hill. 

Here’s how Adam Finklestein, accesses Stojakovic as a transfer, according to 247Sports: The former McDonald’s All-American didn’t make quite the immediate impact that many expected as a freshman at Stanford, and put his name in the portal following the dismissal of head coach Jerod Haase. Known as a skilled shot-maker and versatile scoring threat in high school, Stojakovic knocked down less than 33% of his attempted threes this year while averaging 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game. More concerning though was his inefficiency inside the arc, as he finished just 39% of his attempts at the rim per Pivot Analysis, and on the defensive end of the floor, where he rated in the bottom 10% according to Synergy Sports. Both of those struggles are, at least partially, attributed to the physical transition to the college level. While Stojakovic was older than most college freshmen, having turned 19 in August, his frame was still not fully mature and he didn’t have quite as much game experience against top competition. Given time to catch up in both areas, there are still lots of reasons for long-term optimism as his positional size, skill, and offensive versatility remain as intriguing as they were in high school.

It's been a week since the Stojakovic news became known, and earlier today he narrowed down his recruitment to three schools, including UNC, along with Kentucky, and California. Kentucky is figured to be the toughest program for Carolina to beat out, given the momentum that new head coach Mark Pope has already established in Lexington, but the desire to stay on the West Coast might make Cal an attractive destination as well.

The ironic thing is that Carolina could very well go back to the same school they got Harrison Ingram from, to find his replacement for 2024-25. His shooting numbers leave a lot to be desired, but he was a freshman, that wasn’t surrounded with the requisite talent that he’d be surrounded by in Chapel Hill. Stojakovic’s size would be a nice addition to Carolina on the perimeter, where they were a little undersized last season, starting with the backcourt. 

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