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Heel Tough Blog: Walker Kessler Enters Transfer Portal As Uneasy Off-Season Begins

Shortly after the Tar Heels lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, rumors were swirling around the program that a number of players would be looking to leave the program, via the NBA Draft of entering the transfer portal. Walker Kessler became the first Tar Heel to leave Chapel Hill, as he announced on his twitter page that he would indeed be entering the transfer portal. Kessler, who emerged towards the end of the ACC season, averaged 4.4 points, and 3.2 rebounds in less than 10 minutes per contest.

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After his spectacular play against Florida State, Roy Williams made it known that Kessler had two separate quarantines this year, as he was exposed to COVID-19. Those pauses were a big reason why his development was delayed, according to the Hall of Fame head coach. Despite that, Kessler still earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors, while becoming the fourth big man that Carolina could count on, as they won their way into the NCAA Tournament. Nonetheless, after the first round exit of the NCAA Tournament, Williams’ hinted that he believes that Carolina has the foundation to some special things, Kessler though won’t be around to see that come to fruition.

Walker Kessler on leaving UNC:

This is the first of potential many players to exit the program, as Day’Ron Sharpe will have to mull going off to the NBA. It doesn’t stop there as there is potential for both Caleb Love and R.J. Davis to continue their basketball careers elsewhere, leaving the Tar Heels roster influx at the moment. After bringing in the #2 recruiting class last off-season, the Tar Heels currently don’t have a highly rated class in this recruiting cycle. They will be bringing on local product Dontrez Styles, but he's the only post player currently committed in the class. Recruiting regulations are of course different as we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, but expect Williams’ and the staff to be working the avenues to rebuild this roster in the coming weeks. After not having a lot of success with the transfer portal last season, that will have to be a source for Carolina to find talent to add it to its roster.

Furthermore, this is a big knock to Carolina’s frontcourt, which was the strength of the team this season. Garrison Brooks has the option to return for another season, as the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for every athlete, as we navigate playing sports during the pandemic. Brooks’ hinted at his press availability that he’s given some thought to returning to Chapel Hill, while potentially going elsewhere for another season of college basketball. With Sharpe having a life decision to make, Armando Bacot who led the team in scoring and rebounding, very well could be the only post player to be on the roster at the start of 2021-22, that played this season.

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