LSU guard Charles Manning, the only senior on Will Wade’s roster, entered the NCAA transfer portal Friday morning.
Wade confirmed on his mid-afternoon Zoom news conference Friday that Manning, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, had left the program.
A native of Riverhead, New York, Manning was a junior-college All-American at SouthWestern State College in Florida before signing with LSU in Nov. 2019.
Wade said he wasn’t surprised Manning, who Wade said will be eligible to have a fifth season because of COVID-19, left the program. He’s expected to enroll at another school and play next season.
“At the end of the day, he wanted to play more. … There’s no doubt about that,” Wade said. “But our semester starts Monday, and he was going to end up transferring anyway.
“At some point, he needed to go somewhere where he could work out with their team so he can put himself in the best position to have a good season next season.”
Wade also confirmed that 7-foot center Bryan Penn-Johnson, a transfer who went home to California over the Christmas holidays to mull his future, will not return.
To fill the two vacated roster spots, Wade confirmed to The Advocate that fall signee Alex Fudge, who reclassified to the 2020 class, and San Jose State transfer Seneca Knight will join the team Monday.
Fudge, a 6-8 four-star forward from Jacksonville, Florida, said when he signed in November he would enroll at LSU in January.
Fudge, who averaged 16.0 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as a junior at Robert E. Lee High, is rated as the 56th-best player in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports.
Knight, a 6-7 guard, played three seasons at San Jose State before deciding to transfer.
The Lafayette native and Northside High grad averaged 17.1 points and 4.7 rebounds as a sophomore. He started 51 games and averaged 11.5 points and 1.8 assists in his career.
Both Fudge and Knight will sit out as redshirts during the spring semester.
Manning’s first season at LSU was derailed by a fractured bone in each foot. He wound up playing in 19 games with three starts and averaged 7.9 points and 3.2 rebounds.
This season, Manning missed the first three games after having a follow-up surgery in June.
He played in six games, but his playing time diminished to 18.2 minutes from 22.6 minutes last season. He was averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds.