WSU: A tale of two transfer portals

Cougs have had their fair share of success with transfer portal, but the same goes with departures



Graduate quarterback Gardner Minshew II throws a pass during the 2018 Alamo Bowl against Iowa State on Friday night in San Antonio. Minshew now holds the Pac-12 single season passing record with 4,779 yards, breaking Cal’s Jared Goff’s 4,714 yards in 2015. WSU beat ISU 28-26.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Editor-in-chief

The transfer portal debuted in the NCAA in 2018, allowing a streamlined way for collegiate athletes to transfer from one university to another for any reason they so chose.

It was a massive step forward in player empowerment and had an intersection with the introduction of name, image and likeness. From the get-go the transfer portal has really has been both extremely beneficial and harmful.

The Good:

Recent Volleyball: 

The 2022 team saw three prominent transfers with second-year Coug and starting libero Karly Basham and fifth-year outside hitter Laura Jansen. They provided significant contributions to a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  

Another transfer, Shea Rubright, suffered an early-season injury that cut her season dramatically short. However, she was one of the five players announced to be returning for a fifth year in 2023 and with that comes high expectations.

While Jansen is leaving, another transfer is coming in to fill her position. Iman Isanovic, previously at Arizona State, is joining WSU for the 2023 season to form a formidable outside-hitting duo with the returning Magda Jehlarova. 

Gardner Minshew:

Easily the most famous transfer of the last half-decade in the Palouse, Minshew came in 2018 and had one of the single-most memorable seasons for WSU football. Coming in from East Carolina, Minshew nearly went to Alabama but ended up with the Cougs. 

In his electric season, he threw for 4,779 yards, 38 touchdowns, led WSU to an 11-2 record and helped bring College Gameday to Pullman for the first time in which it was an electric showdown with then No. 12 ranked Oregon. 

Daiyan Henley:

The defensive anchor of the 2022 season is projected to be the day two pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Spending four seasons in Nevada, two of which were as a receiver, Henley spent just one season at WSU. 

However, in that one season, he was dominant. He tallied 106 total tackles, 4.0 sacks and an interception, as well as being a standout at the Senior Bowl. Despite spending just a single season here, he said memories he made will last a lifetime.

For me to be in a place like Pullman, to feel this atmosphere, only a Coug knows what this feels like. And if you’re not a Coug and know what this feels like, well good for you. But being a Coug makes it all that much better,” Henley said at Pro Day. “This is home for me. This is my atmosphere. This is where I thrive. This is where my best season as a linebacker has happened. So when it’s time for me to go to the league, I’m representing the Cougs.” 

The Bad: 

Hannah Pukis:

After the 2021 season, Pukis announced that she was entering the transfer portal and leaving WSU. The standout setter was sixth on the all-time assists leaderboard for WSU and was a two-time member of the All-Pac-12 First Team. 

While the departure hurt, it also paved the way for the emergence of Argentina Ung in the 2022 season. While Pukis still did her thing at Oregon, Ung fit nicely in the Coug offense and looks to be a key contributor headed into 2023. 

Jayden de Laura: 

De Laura quickly gained popularity among fans as he led the Cougs into Seattle in what eventually was a dominant 40-13 Apple Cup victory over the Huskies in 2022. Love was quickly lost for the quarterback as he announced that he was entering the transfer portal and eventually ended up joining Arizona. 

This led to a divided fan base, some of which were happy to see him go and some were worried about the position going forward. Either way, not a full year removed from his departure, most are just looking forward to the team’s potential revenge at home when the Wildcats visit Pullman in 2023. 

The Ugly: 

2023 Football

In all honesty, the two entries in the ugly category might not really be too bad in the grand scheme of things. However, as it looks right now, several key contributors to the 2022 team have decided that they would rather pursue continuing their athletic careers somewhere else. 

Names such as Francisco Mauigoa, De’Zhaun Stribling, Donovan Ollie and many more will not be a part of the team going forward. 

2023 Basketball 

Much like with football, two players who would have made significant contributions to the team entered the transfer portal at the end of last season. TJ Bamba, an All-Pac-12 team member and former three-star recruit Dishon Jackson both entered the portal in late March. 

Bamba is certainly the bigger loss, as the team will now have to find a lot more minutes from other players going forward. 

While the transfer portal has had numerous negative impacts on WSU, it also has been the bringing of bright lights on several occasions. With or without it, the Cougs will not be able to attract the best talent in the nation to the Palouse but always find a way to maximize it.