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ACC News and Notes: Duke’s Whitehead to Draft, Gantt Hits Portal from NC State, Pitt Active in Portal



PITTSBURGH – Another day, another busy news cycle surrounding the ACC and its member teams. Players continue to enter the transfer portal while others find new homes for next season or enter the 2023 NBA Draft. Players from Duke, NC State, and Pitt’s interest in an Illinois guard are grabbing Wednesday’s headlines.

Duke’s Dariq Whitehead Enters 2023 NBA Draft

Duke forward Dariq Whitehead is foregoing his remaining collegiate eligibility and declaring for the NBA draft, he announced on Twitter Wednesday. A 6-foot-7 forward originally from Newark, New Jersey, Whitehead averaged 8.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 28 games (seven starts) for first-year head coach Jon Scheyer. Averaging over 20 minutes per game, he shot slightly better from three (42.4%) than from the floor in general (42.1%) and totaled 21 steals. 

He started in the Blue Devils’ first matchup against Pitt, hosting the Panthers on Jan. 11 inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. Whitehead scored six points on 2-of-11 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. He played 14 minutes off the bench in the ACC Tournament meeting, scoring eight points and adding four rebounds while dealing with foul trouble. 

The former five-star recruit won the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award and was selected to play in the Mcdonalds All-American game out of high school at Montverde Academy in Florida, placing No. 2 on ESPN’s Top 100 list behind teammate Dereck Lively. He ranks 24th in ESPN’s draft prospect rankings, third from his own program behind Lively and Kyle Filipowski.

NC State Forward Greg Gantt Puts Name in Transfer Portal

Forward Greg Gantt has entered his name into the transfer portal after one season at NC State, verbal commits reported Wednesday. The 6-foot-8 redshirt junior transferred to the Wolpack following two seasons at Providence from 2019-2021. He redshirted the 2021-22 season before becoming a key contributor for the NCAA Tournament team.

Gantt only averaged 2.0 points per game in 22 appearances but played steadily on the defensive end. He started the final 17 games of the year and made 18 field goals, two coming from behind the arc. Now searching for a new program, Gantt totaled 10 blocks, 19 steals and grabbed 4.5 rebounds per game in 17.5 minutes. He made one of his two triples against Pitt on Dec. 2, recording his only points of the night in 14 minutes. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native was a former four-star recruit but never averaged more than four points and 3.1 rebounds while at Providence.

Pitt Contacts Illinois Transfer Guard Jayden Epps

The Panthers reached out to their 13th transfer prospect since the portal opened in Illinois guard Jayden Epps. Recruiting expert Andrew Slater also reported that the freshman guard has heard from fellow ACC schools Virginia and NC State among other high-profile programs. 

The Norfolk, Virginia native played at Combine Academy in North Carolina during his high school career, ranking as the No. 83 overall recruit by ESPN and No. 90 by Rivals. The 6-foot-2 playmaker made 11 starts for the Fighting Illini during his debut campaign. He averaged 9.5 points and 1.5 assists in 31 total games and scored a career-high 21 points against Monmouth in the third game of the season, shooting 8-of-12 from the field in 24 minutes.

Epps averaged over 24 minutes per game but only played a combined eight in the final two matchups due to a concussion suffered in practice at the end of practice sending him to the hospital.

Former Pitt Recruit, Kansas Guard MJ Rice Enters Portal

A former five-star recruit Pitt pursued has also entered the portal. Kansas freshman guard MJ Rice is looking for a new destination, Jason Jordan reported. He averaged 2.2 points in 7.5 minutes per game for the 2022 National Champions, playing in 23 games. The former top-40 recruit according to 247 sports joins a list of over 1,000 names in the portal.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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