Louisville basketball transfer portal tracker: Former USC guard Tre White picks Cardinals
A goal for Louisville men's basketball coach Kenny Payne during a pivotal offseason at the helm of his alma mater was to determine who "deserves" to don a Cardinals uniform after the worst season in modern program history.
"If you don't deserve to be in that jersey, as much as I love you, I can't have you in that jersey," Payne said during his postgame interview with Cardinal Sports Network after a loss to Boston College in the first round of the ACC Tournament ended a 4-28 (2-19 ACC) campaign.
Eight players entered the NCAA transfer portal, which opened March 13 and closed May 11, after having a postseason evaluation meeting with Payne. Senior guard El Ellis was the latest to do so on April 6 and committed to Arkansas less than two weeks later.
Payne was looking to add more experienced players who were available in the portal — "guys who understand fighting and playing together and mental toughness," he said after a loss to Virginia in the regular-season finale. Louisville has signed three incoming transfers thus far, former Illinois guard Skyy Clark, ex-Miami forward Danilo Jovanovich and Tre White, a guard/forward who began his college career at Southern California.
What comes next? Kenny Payne's 1st Louisville basketball season ends with early ACC Tournament exit, 28 losses
What is the transfer portal?: Explaining the NCAA's process for switching schools
Keep this page bookmarked throughout the offseason to see who U of L is adding and losing via the portal.
Incoming Louisville transfers
Skyy Clark (G, Illinois)
Clark, a former Illinois guard who at one point was signed to play for Kentucky, was the first of Payne's transfer portal acquisitions this offseason.
"The time is now to chase my dream with Coach KP and staff but even bigger than that, the dream for Louisville Basketball!" he tweeted upon announcing his commitment March 16.
Clark pledged to U of L days after visiting campus with his family and signed his National Letter of Intent on April 12. The Los Angeles native played in just 13 games (12 starts) for the Fighting Illini this past season.
✍️ It’s 𝗢𝗙𝗙𝗜𝗖𝗜𝗔𝗟! Joining #TheFamily from Los Angeles, CA … @skyyclark!
— Louisville Men's Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) April 12, 2023
Louisville was among Clark's final six college destinations after he requested to be released from a National Letter of Intent with UK in March 2022, but he ultimately chose to join Illinois. On Jan. 6, however, he announced he was stepping away from the program to prioritize "myself and my family's wellbeing," according to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He totaled 91 points on 41.1% shooting with an average of 2.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per contest.
"We're fortunate to have an elite point guard in Skyy who's very talented and gifted, but more importantly has the character needed to be a Louisville Cardinal," Payne said in a statement when Clark signed in April. "His ability to score, distribute and run a basketball team as a leader is what we need. In order to truly change a culture, you need guys that have the mental makeup on and off the court to do the right things, and he's an example of one of the players that this community will love watching grow."
Skyy Clark: Former Illinois guard and UK signee, to join Louisville via transfer portal
Danilo Jovanovich (F, Miami)
A 6-foot-8 forward, Jovanovich committed to Louisville on April 28 after one season at Miami and signed with Louisville on May 18.
"Danilo is a talented, tough, skilled basketball player with an old-school mentality," Payne said of the Milwaukee native in a statement upon his signing. "He will bring a winning spirit and unbelievable work ethic to our program that fans will love. This program has to be built on the character of the players walking in the door. Danilo is a super high character warrior who wanted to be in our environment. I’m excited to welcome him and his family to our Cardinal family."
Jovanovich did not play a significant role in the Hurricanes' run to the Final Four, appearing in only two minutes of a Nov. 23 game against St. Francis Brooklyn during his freshman year.
Nearly a month after Jovanovich's collegiate debut, Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said he and his staff were planning to redshirt the freshman, who was sidelined for the first five games of the season due to a left ankle injury. Jovanovich signed with the Hurricanes as the 43rd-best small forward and the 190th overall player in the Class of 2022, according to the 247Sports composite.
Miami commit Danilo Jovanovich went off for 40 points last night 😤 @Daniloj03 pic.twitter.com/yX4k5kwZRp
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) December 10, 2021
"Danilo is (a) clever player who has a lot of craftiness in his game. As a left-hander, he’s really good in around the basket," Larrañaga said in a news release when Jovanovich inked his National Letter of Intent. "He’s an excellent driver, but he’s also a terrific passer and he really does a great job of finding the open man. He was very much a glue guy for his AAU team, Phenom U, and that’s something we’ll want him to be at Miami."
Jovanovich graduated from Whitnall High School, which also produced former Kentucky one-and-done Tyler Herro. In addition to Miami, he had reported scholarship offers from the likes of DePaul, Illinois, Penn State, Southern California and Wake Forest after averaging 29 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior.
Tre White (G/F, USC)
A guard/forward who this past season was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, White committed to Louisville on May 6 and signed with the Cardinals less than two weeks later.
The 6-foot-7 native of Dallas, Texas, started 29 of USC's 33 games (26.7 minutes per) during his first season with USC, finishing fifth on the team in scoring with nine points per contest. He shot 47.4% from the field, went 13 for 49 (26.5%) from 3-point range and ranked third among USC in rebounds per game (5.1).
"I'm very excited to add one of the bright freshmen in the country who can rebound, score and defend," Payne said in a statement after White inked his NLI on May 18. "Tre is a versatile player who will make a tremendous impact on our program. He's a high-character, hard-working young man who knows what he wants from the game and is willing to put the time into it. He will bring a winning spirit to Louisville that the fan base will love."
The Trojans' 2022-23 season ended with a 22-11 record after a first-round loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament. White scored four points, all of which came at the free-throw line, while grabbing three boards, turning the ball over twice and blocking one shot in 19 minutes.
White finished his high school career at Prolific Prep (California) as the 16th-best wing and 50th overall talent in the Class of 2022, according to the 247Sports composite. He averaged 18.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a senior.
Outgoing Louisville basketball transfers
Fabio Basili (G, Texas Arlington)
Fabio Basili was the third Louisville player to announce his plans to enter the portal when he did so through Rivals.com on March 10. He committed on May 23 to play at UT Arlington this coming season.
A 6-foot-4 native of Orlando, Florida, Basili was a late addition to Louisville's 2022 recruiting class when he signed with the Cardinals in August, less than 90 days before the season began. He originally reclassified to 2023 but reversed course after visiting the 502 during the weeks leading up to his decision.
"It was a very last-minute process," Basili told The Courier Journal in October during U of L's media day. "As soon as (Payne) called me, I was extremely excited. I always knew about Kenny Payne from around the basketball community."
Fabio Basili: Why freshman guard didn't travel with Louisville basketball team for Miami game
Basili appeared in 17 games for U of L, averaging 1.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 8.3 minutes per contest. He was held back from Louisville's trip to Miami in February "in order to fulfill academic obligations," team spokesperson Zach Greenwell said at the time. When asked about the freshman's absence two days after a 93-85 loss to the Hurricanes, Payne said Basili was "behind a little bit academically."
"When I came here, (Payne) set down some fundamental rules and what he expected out of me and what type of situation I was stepping into," Basili said in October. "It really felt like the best situation for me."
Sydney Curry (F, Grand Canyon)
A former junior-college transfer who participated in Senior Night on Feb. 28, Sydney Curry was among the players most likely to hit the portal this offseason and made public his plan to do so March 14 through On3.com. He committed to Grand Canyon on May 17.
Curry had a monster end to his first season at Louisville under interim coach Mike Pegues. The 6-foot-8 native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, reached double digits in four of the Cardinals' final five games, including a career-best 28 points in 28 minutes off the bench on Feb. 26, 2022, at Wake Forest.
That level of production was rarely seen in Year 2. Curry totaled just 25 points and 38 rebounds through U of L's 1-9 start to the campaign. He turned in double-digit scoring efforts in just six of the Cardinals' 32 games; and his average dipped from 7.1 points per game on 67.2% shooting as a junior to 4.9 on 53.3% shooting as a senior despite his workload increasing by 177 minutes.
"I just gotta keep pushing through tough times," Curry said before his final game at the KFC Yum! Center. "Definitely not the season (I wanted), but I just gotta keep pushing through the tough times."
Sydney Curry: How does Louisville basketball get its big man to make some noise?
Payne at multiple points of his inaugural season said Curry was lacking the physicality he showcased in the 2021-22 stretch run. When the big man's performance came up during the Feb. 8 edition of his radio show, the coach wondered aloud, "What example are you setting for this team?"
It was a "challenge" all year, Payne said during his radio show March 6, for Curry to get his weight down and be able to "move and feel good about himself." After considering how much conditioning his players go through each day at practice, the coach said, "Something’s off there."
"Can’t put my hands on it," Payne said. "Unless he’s going to the room at night and being the Cookie Monster."
El Ellis (G, Arkansas)
Ellis, who led Louisville in scoring and assists as a senior, entertained the idea of returning to Louisville for a final year of college eligibility granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic when he announced in February he intended to enter the NBA draft and go through an evaluation to determine his pro prospects.
"I just don't feel comfortable going to another school," the All-ACC Honorable Mention guard said before participating in Senior Night. "I feel like Louisville is the place for me, even through everything that's been going on — the coaching change, the records, everything like that. I feel like, if I'm going to come back and go to college again, I'm going to come back to Louisville, because I didn't finish the way I wanted to."
Instead, Ellis became the eighth player from the 2022-23 squad to enter the portal when he announced his intentions to play elsewhere on April 6 through On3.com and 247Sports. He committed to Arkansas on April 17.
'I want to leave as a winner': How Louisville's worst season in modern history shaped El Ellis
Ellis officially declared for the NBA draft in March but plans to maintain his final season of eligibility after starting every game for the Cardinals and averaging 17.7 points on 41% shooting and 4.4 assists per contest. His minute share (89.9%) ranked among the top 25 in Division I.
"Playing for Louisville these past two years meant more to me than people know," Ellis wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account upon declaring for the draft in March. "I played every minute of every game like it was my last."
Kamari Lands (F, Arizona State)
Kamari Lands became the first player from the 2022-23 roster to announce intentions to play elsewhere next season after he told On3.com on March 10 he and the coaching staff came to a "mutual decision to part ways."
“I would like to thank my family, friends, and teammates for all the support they have given me throughout my decision," Lands said in a statement to On3.com. "I would also like to thank the Louisville staff and fan base for everything they have done for me and my season here at Louisville. I have nothing but love for you guys."
Kamari Lands: Freshman forward plans to enter transfer portal after 1 season with Louisville basketball: Report
A 6-foot-8 forward from Indianapolis, Lands enters the portal having averaged 5.9 points on 32% shooting and grabbed 1.9 rebounds in 21 minutes per game for U of L this season. The former four-star prospect out of Hillcrest Prep (Arizona) appeared in every game (six starts) for the Cardinals, tallying a career-high 15 points on three occasions. Four of his seven double-digit scoring efforts came during the final 11 games.
Lands was also the first Louisville player to find a new home through the portal, committing to Arizona State on April 4.
Ashton Myles-Devore (G)
A junior walk-on, Ashton Myles-Devore entered the transfer portal March 30, according to a report from Verbal Commits. The 6-1 guard from Woodford County High School logged just nine minutes in eight games played across three seasons at Louisville and did not score a point. Myles-Devore’s father, Ellis Myles, was the starting center on the 2004-05 U of L team that reached the Final Four.
Devin Ree (F, Louisiana Tech)
A 6-foot-8 native of Jackson, Mississippi, Devin Ree was the second Louisville player to announce intentions to enter the portal when he did so March 10 through 24/7 High School Hoops. The freshman forward committed to Louisiana Tech on April 28.
Ree appeared in just 16 games during the Cardinals' 2022-23 season, averaging less than one point and one rebound in 4.2 minutes per contest. He decommitted from LSU and became the first high school prospect Payne targeted to sign with Louisville since the head coach was hired last March.
Devin Ree: Second Louisville basketball player announce plans to enter transfer portal: Report
"(Payne) told us straight up that it's not gonna be easy; it's going to be challenging, and that's what I was looking forward to, something challenging," Ree told The Courier Journal in October. "I don't want nothing easy (or) given out to me."
A product of prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Virginia), Ree averaged 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and shot 44% from 3-point range as a high school senior. He was a four-star prospect, according to 247Sports composite, who ranked 85th overall in the Class of 2022.
Roosevelt Wheeler (F/C, VCU)
Roosevelt Wheeler, a consensus top-15 prospect at center in the Class of 2021, was the fifth U of L player to enter the portal when he did so March 17, according to a report from Stockrisers.com. The 6-11 native of Richmond, Virginia, did not once appear in the starting lineup during his two seasons with the Cardinals.
As a sophomore, Wheeler played in 25 of the team’s 32 games and averaged 8.8 minutes per outing. The big man tallied more personal fouls (33) than points (30 on 37.5% shooting) to go along with 49 rebounds, five blocks and five steals.
Through the first two years of Wheeler’s college career, he is averaging 1.4 points on 47.1% shooting and 1.8 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per game. He committed to Virginia Commonwealth University on April 18.
Jae'Lyn Withers (F, North Carolina)
A consensus four-star prospect in the Class of 2019, Jae'Lyn Withers on March 20 became the sixth player from Louisville’s 2022-23 roster to enter the portal. He committed to North Carolina on April 11.
Withers as a redshirt junior started 29 of the Cardinals’ 32 games this season, averaging 8.9 points on 43.3% shooting and a team-best 41.7% clip from 3-point range in 25.2 minutes per contest. The 6-9 native of Charlotte, North Carolina, also accounted for 170 rebounds, 13 blocked shots, 25 assists and 71 turnovers.
In February, Payne said Withers is a player with “instincts and athleticism that’s a little different.” But only “when you take thinking and confidence and all those things out (of) the equation.”
“When you’re not in tune, whenever there’s self-doubt, you look different,” Payne said he told Withers. “You walk different; you act different. I don’t want to see that guy ever, and if I see that guy, I will talk about my issues with that guy. I need him to be that player that I see every game.”
For his Louisville career, Withers scored 651 points on 45.8% shooting and collected 455 rebounds, 32 blocks and 60 steals across 82 games (64 starts). Now, he’ll look to build on the promise he showed at times during the 2022-23 campaign, including one nine-game stretch during which he converted 52.8% of his 3-point shots, elsewhere.
“I feel like I've been through the worst of the storms,” Withers said last October. “But I know that with life, it can only get worse at times. And it can only get better at times, depending on how you perceive it.”
Reach Louisville men's basketball reporter Brooks Holton at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @brooksHolton.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville basketball transfer portal tracker: Kenny Payne roster watch