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Diamond Johnson and Mael Gilles enter transfer portal

Two starters for Rutgers women’s basketball are exploring options.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal
Diamond Johnson and Mael Gilles in action during Michigan State this past season.
Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The offseason in college basketball will be as unpredictable as ever before following a season played during a global pandemic, a free year of eligibility given to all student-athletes and new transfer rules soon to be implemented, removing the sit-out year. While there are approximately 1,000 men’s basketball players in the transfer portal, the women’s side is now picking up as well. Two notable members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team were the latest to enter the portal this week in order to explore options.

It was first reported on Monday by Howard Megdal of The Next that Rutgers freshman Diamond Johnson had entered the transfer portal. Soon after, Chantel Jennings reported the same and included senior Mael Gilles as well.

It is important to note that entering the portal still gives student-athletes the option to remain at their current school.

Johnson is a former 5-star recruit who was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and Second Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media after an impressive debut campaign. She averaged 17.6 points while shooting 45.5% from three-point range, as well as having 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals. Johnson was the best Rutgers freshman since Tyler Scaife and would be a huge loss for the program if she ultimately departs.

Gilles is a senior forward who will look to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA ruling due to the pandemic. She has started 55 games over the past three seasons and this past year averaged 8.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.2 assists.

With Rutgers set to lose leading scorer Arella Guirantes and Tekia Mack already, potentially losing Johnson and Gilles would leave head coach C. Vivian Stringer with a very inexperienced team next season with just two players who have started games previously.

Forward Tyia Singleton would be a redshirt junior after averaging 6.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals this past season in her first year as a starter. Guard Zippy Broughton would have two years remaining and averaged 9.0 points, 3.7 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 9 games played this past season. Otherwise, Rutgers would have a talented but young core remaining.

Stringer is expected to remain as coach for next season and beyond after she mentioned in the preseason that a contract extension was in the works.

We will update additional roster news for Rutgers women’s basketball throughout the offseason.