Jao Ituka Announces Transfer to Wake Forest

Ex-Marist freshman guard Jao Iutka announced that he is transferring to Wake Forest University for the 2022-23 season. The former Red Fox announced the news on his Instagram late Monday afternoon.

The MAAC Rookie of the Year was excellent in his one season with the Red Foxes, averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game, which ranked third in the conference. Ituka began the year coming off the bench, but his role quickly grew as the year went on. 

The 6-foot-1 guard out of Gaithersburg, MD was able to impact the game while only averaging just over 22 minutes a night. As the season progressed, teams began to defend Ituka a bit differently, putting more ball pressure on the guard. He adjusted, showing more of his skills as a passer in the final weeks of the year.

Besides moving closer to home, Ituka will be joining a program that is coming off a really promising 2021-22 season. The Demon Deacons were one of the most improved teams in the ACC this season after finishing second to last during the 2020-21 season. 

Wake Forest had an overall record of 25-10 while also going 13-7 in conference play. The Demon Deacons headed into the conference tournament as the fifth seed in the ACC. Wake Forest fell to Boston College in the second round, sending the team to the NIT tournament. 

The Demon Deacons will be looking to replace ACC Player of the Year Alondes Williams, who averaged 18.5 points per game last season. Ituka will be one of the candidates to earn a major role at the guard position in his absence. Williams declared for the 2022 NBA Draft earlier this month.   

Ituka is just the second player out of the Marist men’s basketball program to commit to another school for next season. Sophomore guard Ricardo Wright, an All-MAAC Third Team Selection last season, announced his commitment to Southern Methodist University last week.

With two former players already committed to new schools and several more still in the portal, the pressure on John Dunne and his staff to find players who will fill out next year’s roster continues to increase.

Photo from Marist Athletics

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