Bucs coach Steve Forbes made it official with the acquisitions of three transfers —Tennessee’s Jalen Johnson, Northern Kentucky’s Silas Adheke and Southeastern Louisiana’s Ty Brewer. All three had committed to the program earlier.
Johnson and Adheke come in as graduate transfers and will be eligible immediately. Brewer’s brother, Ledarrius Brewer, had transferred to ETSU from Southeast Missouri State and sat out last season.
The signings left Forbes with one scholarship. It might go to Temple transfer Justyn Hamilton, who announced he had narrowed his choices to ETSU, UNC-Greensboro and Kent State. The 6-foot-10 Hamilton is expected to announce his choice on Friday.
Johnson, a 6-foot-6 guard, played three seasons at Tennessee. He graduated in December with a degree in Communication Studies.
“When I decided to transfer, I did not want anything drastically different than what I’ve already experienced,” Johnson said. “I knew that I wanted to go somewhere that not only plays winning basketball, but where I could be impactful. I wanted to play for a coach who creates opportunities for his players to be successful, cultivates an environment for positive relationships on and off the court, and demands both hard work and team work. I believe that I’ve found all of that with Coach Forbes and ETSU.”
Johnson played 70 games for Tennessee.
“Jalen is an extremely gifted offensive player who can really score the ball, especially from behind the 3-point line,” Forbes said. “He’s long, athletic and gives us added size and experience on the perimeter. Jalen is a very mature young man and is someone I expect to provide leadership to our team on and off the court. His experience playing and practicing at Tennessee provides Jalen an invaluable asset towards his future success at ETSU.”
Last season, Johnson played in all 31 games for Tennessee, making two starts. He averaged 3.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 15 minutes per game. He made 85 percent of his free throws. His career high is 13 points, scored against Mississippi State.
Johnson is from Durham, North Carolina, where he helped Wesleyan Christian Academy to a national ranking and two state championships. His mother was a member of the track and field team at North Carolina and his father was an All-American track and field athlete at East Carolina.
Adheke, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward, played two years at Northern Kentucky and the Norse won the Horizon League championship both seasons. This year, as a redshirt junior, he averaged 3.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in about 13 minutes a game.
Adheke began his career at Evansville, where he redshirted as a freshman. He then played a year at Eastern Florida State, where he helped the team finish third in the national junior college tournament.
Adheke is from Lagos, Nigeria, and went to high school at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga.
“Silas is a physical specimen and a proven winner,” Forbes said. “He runs the floor like a runaway freight train, and he can guard multiple positions on the defensive end of the court. Silas believes in all of the things it takes to be a winner, on and off the court. His playing experience, leadership, and desire to improve make him a tremendous addition to our program.”
Brewer, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 14.9 points and 7.7 rebounds a game as a sophomore at Southeastern Louisiana. He will have two years of eligibility remaining once he gets to play for the Bucs.
“Ty is a tremendous athlete and can score the ball from anywhere on the court,” said Forbes. “He played his best games this past year against the top teams on SE Louisiana’s schedule. I’m excited for Ty and his family that he will once again be playing alongside his brother at ETSU. Ty played this past year for one of my former assistant coaches, David Kiefer, who I have the utmost respect for.”
Playing with his brother was part of Brewer’s decision, but the culture Forbes and his staff has built at ETSU also played a key factor.
“I love the culture of the ETSU program,” Brewer said. “I also love the passion they practice and play with. I chose ETSU because I felt the coaching staff can help me grow, not only as a player, but as a man. I love the relationships the players have with each other and the coaches. I think having great relationships are very important and I already have a great one with my brother, Ledarrius.”
The new recruits will give the Bucs some added punch to a team that went 30-4 and won the Southern Conference tournament. ETSU is losing five seniors from that team.