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USF men’s hoops lands 7-foot Texas Tech transfer

Russel Tchewa appeared in 23 games for the Red Raiders this past season.

Hours after USF confirmed it had added a big name (LSU) to its 2020-21 non-conference schedule Thursday, the Bulls finished the day by adding a big man as well.

Texas Tech 7-foot, 260-pound center Russel Tchewa, who logged limited action in 23 contests for the Red Raiders last season, is joining Brian Gregory’s program. Tchewa fills the scholarship void created when 6-foot-11 incoming freshman Emmanuel Okpomo recently left the program in a mutual decision with the coaching staff.

“Russel is a gifted young post player who impacts the game on both ends of the court," Gregory said in a statement released by the school. “He has great size, strength and athletic ability, and his energy on the court is high-level.”

Related: Until his USF arrival, Chicago-bred Brian Gregory never truly was a Bull

Tchewa must sit out next season with three years of eligibility thereafter, but could apply for a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play immediately. A move to allow a one-time transfer waiver for student-athletes in five sports (including men’s hoops) was hindered recently when the NCAA Division I Board of Directors said it wouldn’t recommend potential changes to the transfer waiver process.

A Cameroon native, Tchewa played three years of prep basketball in Italy before spending a season at Putnam Science Academy, the Connecticut program that produced Bulls power forward Alexis Yetna. He averaged 1.7 points and 0.9 rebounds last season, totaling seven blocked shots.

He is the second big man to arrive at USF in the last month. Mississippi State 6-8, 245-pound forward Prince Oduro announced in early April he’s also transferring to Gregory’s program and is seeking a waiver allowing him to play right away.

Earlier Thursday, USF confirmed it will face LSU on Dec. 12 at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena as part of the Holiday Hoopsgiving quadruple-header. Tip-off time hasn’t been announced.

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