Five players from men’s basketball enter transfer portal

Assistant men’s basketball coach Steve Christiansen recently left NIU to take over the Aurora University program


Zohair Khan

Trendon Hankerson dribbles the ball during a game against Miami University Feb. 19 at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — Five men’s basketball players have announced their intention to transfer out of NIU’s program in the past week. The announcements come after a 2021-22 season where the Huskies finished 4-18 overall and third-worst in the Mid-American Conference.

Seniors seek to finish degrees elsewhere

Among the five players announcing their entrance to the transfer portal are three seniors who were honored on Senior Day on March 4.

Senior guard Trendon Hankerson, a native of Novi, Michigan, is the longest-tenured Huskie on NIU’s roster. The fourth-year player has accumulated 825 points with a 39.3% shooting percentage since joining the program in 2018.

NIU’s 2021-22 season finale against Ohio University on March 4 wrapped up senior forward Chinedu Kingsley Okanu’s second season with the team. The 6’7”, 225 pound forward played in 47 games over the past two years, scoring 249 points on 93-of-198 shooting from field goal range. Okanu spent the first two years of his collegiate career competing for Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana, before coming to DeKalb. 

Like Okanu, senior center Adong Makoui is also exiting after year two at NIU. Since transferring in from Daytona State College ahead of the 2020-21 season, Makuoi has played in 45 games and racked up 253 points in the process.

One and done

The other two players in the transfer portal are coming off their first season with the Huskies. Freshman forward Montavious Myrick finished his first season of college basketball in 2021-22 with 23 minutes in seven games played. The freshman from Atlanta recorded 1-for-2 shooting from the field and made three of 10 free throw attempts. He ended the year with five points.

Junior guard Edward Manuel is another player coming off his first season as a Huskie. He spent two seasons playing at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, prior to arriving at NIU last offseason. Manuel started one game this past season against the University of Toledo on Jan. 8. The junior guard went 9-for-22 on field goals and made 10-of-13 free throw attempts in 2021-22. He scored 32 points in 21 games.

Coach Christiansen heads to Aurora

If any of the players in the portal find a new home this offseason, it would not be NIU’s only loss to its program. Assistant coach Steve Christiansen left his role on March 21 to take the reins of the men’s basketball program at Aurora University.

No players could be reached for comment by the time of publication. The Northern Star will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.