Ian DuBose and Jalen Johnson are now the latest men’s basketball players to leave Wake Forest since the season ended.
Coach Steve Forbes announced Tuesday afternoon that DuBose would pursue a pro career. Shortly afterward, Johnson entered the transfer portal. They become the eighth and ninth Deacons to part with the program since Wake Forest’s final game of 2020-21, an 80-77 loss to Notre Dame on March 9.
“After many lengthy meetings with Ian since the end of our season, he and I have agreed it would be in his best interest to explore his professional basketball opportunities,” Forbes said in a school-issued release. “My staff and I will assist Ian and his family as he pursues his dream of playing professional basketball and completing his graduate degree at Wake Forest this summer.”
DuBose will be the biggest what-if of Forbes’ debut season at the school. The Durham native came to Wake Forest as a grad transfer after three seasons at Houston Baptist. He appeared in the team’s first two games, then the program went more than a month between games after a COVID-19 shutdown.
DuBose was stalled longer for medical reasons, missing the Deacons’ first 11 ACC games (as well as a non-conference game against Catawba). He finally returned against Boston College. He played 28 minutes, scoring 17 points in that road victory on Feb. 10.
DuBose helped the team nearly beat Florida State three days later, where the Deacons led late in regulation but lost in overtime, 92-85.
The guard also faced some battles with fatigue after having missed so much time off — Forbes saying at one point “Ian has hit the wall physically.” DuBose scored double-digit points only once in the team’s last five games.
Johnson, who Forbes recruited to both East Tennessee State and Wake Forest after the coach was hired, had a few bright moments with the Deacons. He scored 15 points in a win against Miami, on of Wake Forest’s three ACC victories this season. He started in the team’s first four games as part of his 20 appearances.
Johnson didn’t play in the team’s finale, and he played less than seven minutes in two of his final three games for the Deacons.
DuBose is one of two Wake Forest players — the other being fellow grad transfer Jonah Antonio — to pursue pro careers instead of taking up the extra year of eligibility given to student-athletes by the NCAA.
Along with Johnson, six other players have entered the transfer portal. Five have been scholarship players: Ismael Massoud, Jahcobi Neath, Emmanuel Okpomo, Isaiah Wilkins and Quadry Adams. The other was Blake Buchanan, a walk-on.
So far, Wake Forest has added one player from the transfer portal: Jake LaRavia, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Indiana State. They’ll also add two guards in the 2021 recruiting class in Cameron Hildreth (London) and Robert McCray (South Carolina).