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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Gonzaga center Oumar Ballo enters transfer portal

UPDATED: Sun., April 11, 2021

Gonzaga freshman center Oumar Ballo blocks Pacific's Pierre Crockrell II during a Jan. 23 game at McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga freshman center Oumar Ballo blocks Pacific's Pierre Crockrell II during a Jan. 23 game at McCarthey Athletic Center. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Center Oumar Ballo is the second Gonzaga player this week to enter the transfer portal.

Ballo, a 7-foot, 260-pound freshman, and sophomore center Pavel Zakharov are both in the portal, according to multiple reports.

Ballo saw limited playing time – 149 minutes in 24 appearances – in Gonzaga’s 31-1 season. He averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.2 minutes. He scored his season-high 17 points, his only game in double figures, against Dixie State.

The Mali native’s playing time decreased later in the season with forward Anton Watson often backing up Drew Timme. Freshman forward Ben Gregg also moved past Ballo in the rotation.

Ballo, who battled a thumb injury in late January, had one game since mid January with double-figures minutes.

It could be tough to earn additional time in Gonzaga’s frontcourt next season, especially if Timme returns for his junior season. Incoming freshman forward Kaden Perry will join Watson and Gregg. The Zags are thought to be the favorites for 7-1 Chet Holmgren, the top-ranked recruit in the 2021 class, and could be in the mix for North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler, a 7-foot forward.

Ballo was ranked 78th – Zakharov was 60th – in the 2019 class by 247sports. Ballo took an NCAA-mandated academic redshirt year before making his Zags’ debut this season.

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