EIU may want to speed up their coaching search. Before the Panthers can name a new head coach, one of it’s best “returning” players has decided not to return at all.
The Daily Eastern News and Green Bay Post Gazette are reporting that Alfonzo McKinnie will transfer to Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The move is likely step up program wise. The Phoenix went 10-8 in the tough Horizon League last year, and are a very young team.
As for some of the reasons for the transfer, the Green Bay Post Gazette article (linked below) talks about two connections McKinnie has to the Phoenix: former high school teammate Keifer Sykes at Chicago Marshall High School and former EIU assistant and current UWGB assistant coach Chrys Cornelius.
They’ll need McKinnie in a year (after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules) to replace next season’s senior Brennan Cougill.
McKinnie was Eastern Illinois only real inside threat this last year, and was the team’s top rebounder, 6th best in the OVC. He was also 4th best in field goal percentage, hitting 57%, 4th best in the conference although only 2nd best on his own team, behind 6’8″ freshman Josh Piper.
Speaking of Piper, he will likely be called on for significantly increased minutes next season.
The rest of the Panthers front court next season…could be a bit more of a mystery.
Needless to say, whoever takes over the Panthers head job has an even bigger challenge awaiting him now.
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