top of page

Heel Tough Blog: Reserve Big Man Enters the Transfer Portal

University of North Carolina Athletics

Earlier this week, Carolina concluded end-of-season meetings with the current roster, to discuss what is next, after winning the ACC regular season title, before seeing their season come to an end in the Sweet 16. The most important decision that Carolina is awaiting is the future of R.J. Davis and Harrison Ingram, both of whom are eligible to return for the 2024-25 season. That doesn’t mean that other guys are going to wait to make their decisions about their future at UNC, and the first domino to fall, fell this morning as reserve big man James Okonkwo announced he will enter the transfer portal. Okonkwo arrived in Chapel Hill, after transferring in from West Virginia, after they fired Bob Huggins. Okonkwo wasn’t promised a big role off the bench and ended up being a depth big man for Hubert Davis, playing only in games that were decided with a few minutes remaining. He averaged just 1.0 points and 1.0 rebounds per game this season. Still, he was a big part of Carolina’s win at Boston College, with Armando Bacot and Jalen Washington both playing limited first-half minutes due to foul trouble. 

Even with the departure of Armando Bacot, there was no guarantee that Okonkwo would have an increased role next season. If Jalen Washington and Zayden High stay, they will see more action, with Washington potentially starting in 2024-25. Add in the arrival of four-star prospect James Brown, and Carolina’s frontcourt is already getting crowded, and that’s without them getting involved in a potential transfer, which everyone expects them to do. 

This move makes sense for a player who most likely wasn’t going to have a role next year, and this is the reality of college athletics in the transfer portal era. 

The Four Corners Podcast:


bottom of page