FARGO — The North Dakota State men's backcourt will really look different next season. Senior guard Cameron Hunter entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal on Monday, the result of what head coach Dave Richman said was a mutual decision between the two.
It leaves the Bison without experience at either the point or shooting guard spots for next season.
"Through conversations with him and ultimately myself, we thought it would be better for a fresh start," Richman said.
The Bison won the Summit League title and qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament in March with seniors Vinnie Shahid and Jared Samuelson at the guards. NDSU signed junior college guard Donald Carter III last November and most recently high school senior Desmond McKinney from Kansas City, both of whom will be counted on to man the point.
"It will be a lot like how we started two years ago," Richman said. "More than likely it will be a newcomer and we're excited about that."
Shahid joined the Bison two years ago out of Western Nebraska Community College. Carter III comes from Scottsdale Community College (Ariz.), with both players going the JC route out of high school in Minneapolis. At Samuelson's spot, Richman is high on sophomore Jarius Cook, who redshirted last season after playing as a true freshman and incoming recruit Boden Skunberg from Jamestown, N.D.
"I think he has a chance to come in here and compete and have an impact early in his career," Richman said.
Where Hunter fit in that mix would have been debatable. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 rebounds playing in all 33 games and starting 12. He played primarily the off guard spot, but spelled Shahid at the point. He was particularly valuable down the stretch holding leads with his 81% free throw shooting and ball handling skills.
"I want to make it loud and clear, it was nothing insubordinate," Richman said. "I absolutely love Cameron. He's an honest guy and we want to make sure as we go back and evaluate everything we do in the classroom and on the court that we put everyone in a position to be successful."
Hunter's departure means it will be the second straight year a veteran senior won't return to the team. Last year, forward Deng Geu left as a graduate transfer for North Texas State after his junior season at NDSU. It's possible Hunter could be a graduate transfer and if so would be immediately eligible at another Division I program. If not, he would have to go the Division II route since he redshirted his first year at NDSU.
NDSU will also be looking to replace departed seniors Tyson Ward and Chris Quayle, both of who were more the wing-type of players. The Bison have experience there bringing back 6-5 Tyree Eady, 6-6 Sam Griesel, 6-6 Jaxon Knotek and 6-7 Maleeck Harden-Hayes.