Former five-star recruit Walker Kessler transferring from North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball team after one season

ByJeff Borzello ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Former five-star recruit Walker Kessler announced Monday he's transferring from North Carolinaafter one season.

Kessler released a statement on Twitter.

"While this season did not go as planned for our entire basketball community, the relationships that I have been able to develop this year will forever mean the world to me," Kessler said. "I am honored to have played for an amazing and historic program like The University of North Carolina. Gratitude is all I feel for my teammates, coaches, trainers, administration, and staff. During a very difficult year for all of us, they were able to help me to grow as a player and most importantly as a person.

"After careful and calculated consideration I will be entering the transfer portal. I wish the entire Carolina family the absolute best in the years ahead. Thank you TarHeel Nation!"

A 7-foot-1 center from Georgia, Kessler averaged just 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds during his freshman season at North Carolina. However, he came on strong late in the season. Kessler had a four-game stretch in February in which he scored in double figures in each one, including 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in a comeback win over Florida State. He also dominated Notre Dame in the ACC tournament, going for 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks.

Kessler was a McDonald's All American coming out of high school, ranking No. 14 in the ESPN 100 for the 2020 class.

He originally chose North Carolina over Duke, Auburn and Michigan coming out of high school. Duke and Auburn were perceived as the leaders in his recruitment until he took an official visit to North Carolina in late September 2019. By the time he left Chapel Hill, he was ready to commit to the Tar Heels.