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Former North Carolina point guard announces transfer to Lobos

Former North Carolina guard Jeremiah Francis, right, shown in action against Louisville on Feb. 22. On Friday, he announced he would transfer to play for the UNM Lobos. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Jeremiah Francis made it official Friday afternoon.

The former North Carolina Tar Heel point guard is transferring to play for the UNM Lobos.

Francis, a 6-foot point guard from Ohio who played 16 games this past season for the Tar Heels (he started three), announced he would become a Lobo via social media, tweeting out “New Beginnings” with a picture of himself in a Lobos jersey.

His decision gives the Lobos a full slate of 13 scholarship players for the coming 2020-21 season — seven returning scholarship plus six newcomers to go along with three returning walk-ons.

While things didn’t work out at UNC for Francis, who was rated by ESPN as a four-star recruit out of Pickerington, Ohio, Central High School in the 2019 recruiting class, Francis plans to request a waiver for immediate eligibility from the NCAA so he doesn’t have to sit out the coming season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Francis missed both his junior and senior years of high school with knee injuries, but was cleared to return to the court at UNC this past season after doctors ruled he was healthy. When his decision to enter the transfer portal was announced on the team’s website earlier this spring, UNC coach Roy Williams praised Francis’ efforts to get back on the court.

“Jeremiah’s a wonderful young man,” Williams said. “Our players and coaches enjoyed him being part of our program. I truly admired the work he put in to get back on the court after two full seasons of being injured in high school. We wish him the best wherever he chooses to resume his career.”

UNM coaches are not allowed to comment on the transfer until his signed National Letter of Intent is received by the university.

Francis averaged 15.3 points and 5.1 assists as a sophomore in high school and also played for the Indiana Elite AAU program. This past season at UNC, he averaged 3.3 points and 1.6 assists in his 16 games, but also missed the first nine games of the season before coming on strong in December, including three consecutive double digit scoring games against Gonzaga, UCLA and Yale.

Earlier this week, the Lobos signed 6-7 forward Rodgerick Brown, a former Wichita State Shockers who played this past season for the 28-0 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I’s No. 1 seed in the national tournament, which was cancelled.

Brown and Francis cap a six-player recruiting class of 2020 for the Lobos, which would have been seven had 6-9 freshman power forward Bayron Matos not finished high school early and enrolled at UNM in January, though he did not play a game.

The Lobos now have the NCAA-maximum allotment of 13 scholarship players for the coming season with three walk-ons filling out the 16-man roster.

As of Friday, here is the team’s roster for the coming season:

Lobos 2020-21 roster
(as of May 8, class listed reflects 2020-21 season)

RETURNING:
• F Jordan Arroyo, 6-7, junior (walk-on)
• G Daniel Headdings, 6-2, redshirt freshman (walk-on)
• F Emmanuel Kuac, 6-7, sophomore
• G/F Makuach Maluach, 6-7, senior
• G Zane Martin, 6-4, senior
• F Bayron Matos, 6-9, freshman*
• G Keith McGee, 6-3, senior
• G Tavian Percy, 6-6, junior
• G Clay Patterson, 6-1, junior (walk-on)
• G Kurt Wegscheider, 6-4, sophomore
*Enrolled at UNM in January, but did not play in a game.

NEWCOMERS:
• F Rodgerick Brown, 6-7, junior
• G Nolan Dorsey, 6-4, freshman
• PG Jeremiah Francis, 6-0, sophomore**
• G Javonte Johnson, 6-5, freshman
• C Assane Ndiaye, 7-1, junior
• PG Saquan Singleton, 6-6, junior
**May need to sit 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but does plan to file appeal for immediate eligibility

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