It was announced last Thursday that sophomore point guard Khy Kabellis intends to transfer.
The 6’5” sophomore from Escondido, California, informed head coach Dave Richman and the NDSU athletics department of his plans.
The decision to transfer came out of left field to Richman, who expressed he was disappointed to hear the news.
“He made a decision that was in the best interest for himself,” Richman said. “We’re disappointed, but we look forward in moving forward with a group of committed guys.”
There was no indication Kabellis was planning on transferring until he met with the head coach to break the news. He added his conversation with Kabellis was brief.
Kabellis took to Twitter on Thursday in his only comment on the matter. Citing he and his family have decided it would be in his best interest to transfer.
“I want to thank NDSU for all the great memories these past two years,” Kabellis said. “I met a lot of great people and formed a ton of lifelong relationships. … I’m very thankful for being able to be a part of the Bison family and wish everyone here nothing but the best.”
Kabellis emerged as a bona fide star for the Bison in his second season on the team. He averaged 11.2 points per game in the 2016-17 season, up from 8.7 in his freshman season.
He also became a workhorse for the Bison this year. His 33.2 minutes played for a game trailed only Paul Miller in the category. He, along with Miller and Carlin Dupree, were the only three players to start all of the Bison’s 30 games.
At times this season he looked to be the best player on the hardwood, playing with a high motor and basketball acumen. It looked likely he would be the headliner for the Bison come his senior season.
Coach Richman reiterated that in spite of the loss the team’s objectives remain the same, to win Summit League titles.
That being said, the Bison will find it difficult to replace their floor general. Of the seven guards currently on NDSU’s roster, four saw action on the court last year. Of those four, Miller, Jared Samuelson and Tyson Ward seem best suited to take over the point guard role.
However, Miller’s scoring and shooting would be diminished as a point guard. The Bison have brought guards Chris Quayle, a transfer from Central Wyoming College, and Tyree Eady into the fold this offseason.
Another candidate to play the point is redshirt freshman Cameron Hunter, although his ability to step in as a starter remains to be seen. Hunter, of Olathe, Kansas, has strong basketball bloodlines. His father Cedric played for at Kansas and was a member of their 1986 Final Four squad. He holds the Jayhawks’ record for assists in a single season.
Regardless of who steps in, the Bison will need him to adapt quickly. The Herd’s roster is not yet full, opening up the possibility that NDSU may try to recruit a point guard to fill the void.
The departure of Kabellis puts the Bison in a tough spot, but with many options still in play, the situation ought to be settled by the fall.