SPORTS SUNDAY: Tyree Ihenacho comes full circle, landing back on the Fighting Hawks basketball roster

UND basketball head coach Paul Sather wants to rerwite the narrative behind the transfer portal

Tyree Ihenacho smiling during a game in his freshman season with UND basketball

"Coming back to UND was, you know, always something in the back of my mind. Ever since I left really."

After transferring from the University of North Dakota to play at James Madison for two seasons, 2021 Summit League Freshman of the Year, Tyree Ihenacho is making his return to the green and white.

"When I talked to Coach Stevens, he said that when he told Coach Sather, he started laughing," laughed Tyree Ihenacho, a returning point guard.

Despite numerous offers from around the country, it was Tyree who reached out his hand hoping for another opportunity with the Fighting Hawks.

"At first, I was a little hesitant because you know, just like, the thought of being like the rejection," Tyree said. "But then I was like, you know, it doesn't matter. If I really want to do this, I feel like I just got to swallow my pride and hit (head coach Paul Sather) up."


And that hand was met in the middle by the UND coaching staff.

"For him to stretch that hand out and kind of say the things that he said, showed a lot of maturity, showed a lot of humility," said Paul Sather, UND basketball head coach. "We believe in him, And we're excited about getting him back."

The relationships Tyree built in his freshman season played a huge role in his return.

"We had a good relationship when I was there." Tyree said. "There were never any problems between me and any of the coaching staff. And even my teammates, or anything."

"Tyree is the kind of guy that shows up to practice with a smile on his face," Sather said. "He kind of has that energy, and he just has that way about him. And I love coaching him."

A lot of athletes enter the transfer portal hoping for brighter lights. But for Tyree, he realized you don't know what you've got until it's gone.

"I feel like a lot of people rush into, you know, going to the school with the biggest name and you know, the biggest school whatever," Tyree said. "And it's really not the right fit for them."

And instead of holding a grudge, the UND staff chose to welcome Tyree back with open arms.


"It's a great opportunity for us to change the narrative a little bit of this transfer portal and kind of how it's impacted us," Sather said.

Despite having regret behind his past decisions, Tyree has made sure to focus on the positives.

"You're going to make decisions in life. They aren't always going to be the right ones, but it's how you learn from those decisions," Tyree said. "I feel like I learned a lot in my two years here (James Madison). Being able to grow as a person and a player over here, and then coming back and bringing what I learned. I think it'll be good. I'm really lucky. I'm lucky for real."

Tyree is hoping to receive a waiver from the NCAA in order to be eligible to play starting in the fall.

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