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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Men’s basketball sees three key players transfer after successful season

Both sophomore CJ Fulton and senior Leo O’Boyle announced they were transferring last week. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

In keeping with the roller-coaster of a year that saw it go on a seven-game losing streak, suspend a head coach, appoint a new one and reach the Patriot League Tournament Final, the Lafayette men’s basketball team will go into next season with three key players on other college squads.

The departures come following the dismissal of Coach Mike Jordan after he was put on leave in February, with Assistant Coach Mike McGarvey filling in for the rest of the season. After leading the team all the way to the conference championship, McGarvey was named permanent head coach.

Rising sophomore Josh Rivera is transferring to Fordham University, something he announced shortly after the season ended. The New Brunswick, New Jersey native had a stellar rookie year, recording the second-most points and rebounds on the team. In the last week, rising junior C.J. Fulton announced that he will be transferring to the College of Charleston while grad year sharpshooter and team leader Leo O’Boyle is transferring to Penn State after his graduation. 

Fulton was named to the 2021-22 Patriot League All-Rookie Team, and earned Third Team All-Patriot League honors this year. The Irish international registered a total of 531 points, 249 assists and 102 steals for Lafayette, playing in all but four games over the last two years. 

“It was a tough decision, but I chose to enter the [transfer] portal mainly because of the different changes within the team during the offseason,” Fulton said. “I went into the portal just to explore my options, and was considering coming back to Lafayette, but Charleston just seemed like a great opportunity for me.”

Charleston has had tremendous recent success, as the Cougars lost a total of just four games this past year, including a 102-86 loss to the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). Their last game of the year came in the first round of the NCAA tournament, when they lost to eventual runner-up San Diego State University. 

“I had some good options, but I think the College of Charleston is a really good fit for me,” Fulton added. “The team had an amazing season last year, going 31-4 and reaching the NCAA tournament. They play more up-tempo than we did at Lafayette this year, but I think I will be able to adapt. The city of Charleston is also really nice.”

Fulton noted that the Patriot League will look very different next year, with personnel changes taking place across the league. In addition, he anticipated some players stepping up for the Maroon and White for the first time in their careers.  

“It’s hard to tell what the league will look like next year because there have been four or five coaching changes, and a lot of the key players on different teams have either transferred or graduated. Hopefully, the team can build on the run we made this year and win as many games as possible,” he said. “It will be a different team with Leo, Josh and I leaving, but there’s still a lot of great players on the team and I’m sure the coaching staff will do a terrific job. It will also be exciting to see some players who haven’t got as much opportunity over these past two seasons get more playing time. I’m happy for those guys, and think they’ll do great next year.”

O’Boyle is transferring from Lafayette all the way to the Big Ten to join a Penn State squad who reached the NCAA tournament this year for the first time since 2011. 

“I hope to help get them back to March Madness. I’m not really nervous honestly, I am easy to get along with and I think my game will speak for itself on the court.” O’Boyle said. “It’s a very great feeling for sure, I’ve worked hard these last four years and have had ups and downs. I am glad to see all this work has paid off.”

O’Boyle, a four-year starter for the Leopards, became only the 47th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points during his final year with the team. He also played one of the best games in school history during the Patriot League semifinal when he not only put up 23 points, but hit both a game-tying last-second three to send the game to double overtime and a four-point play to end it in favor of the Leopards.

“My favorite moment at Lafayette was our playoff run this year. We really surpassed expectations and it felt great. I will definitely miss my teammates and the school, but it is their time to make this program a champion.” O’Boyle said. “I think the Patriot League is wide open. We made it so close to a championship, and I know these guys will put in the work and the effort to win it next year.”

Rivera declined a request for comment.

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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