Transfer portal: Angelique Ngalakulondi commits to Missouri; Tafara Gapare headed to Georgia Tech

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 04-25-2023 8:17 PM

Another former Minuteman is headed to the Power 5.

Former UMass men’s basketball forward Tafara Gapare announced his commitment to Georgia Tech on Tuesday. The former four-star recruit originally pledged to DePaul as a member of the Class of 2023 before decommitting, reclassifying and joining the Minutemen before last season.

Visa issues prevented him from joining the team until the weekend before the season opener.

Gapare, a Wellington, New Zealand, native that played at the South Kent School in Connecticut, appeared in 30 games for UMass last season. He averaged 12.3 minutes, 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game with 20 blocks and 14 steals. The 6-foot-9 forward shot 31.2 percent from the floor and 26.7 percent from 3-point range.

Georgia Tech went 15-18 last season. The Yellow Jackets lost seven players to the transfer portal but have brought in former NC State center Ebenezer Dowuona and former Florida guard Kowacie Reeves for new coach Damon Stoudamire, previously a Celtics assistant.

Former teammate T.J. Weeks Jr. also announced his new destination on Tuesday night, as he will be playing for Rider University along with brother Tyriek Weeks.

Gapare is one of six UMass players that entered the transfer portal after Frank Martin’s first season. Four have found homes: Gapare, Weeks Jr., Noah Fernandes at Rutgers and Dyondre Dominguez at Arkansas State. R.J. Luis and John Kelly are still in the portal.

EARNING HER STRIPES –  The Minutewomen’s diaspora has spread to the SEC. After Ber’Nyah Mayo left the UMass women’s basketball program for St. John’s in the Big East and Sydney Taylor departed for the ACC and Louisville, senior forward Angelique Ngalakulondi committed to Missouri on Tuesday.

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“TIGER NATION!! LET’S GO!!” she tweeted, with photos of herself in a Missouri jersey and draped in the flag of her native Congo.

Ngalakulondi spent four years at UMass and appeared in 95 games, averaging 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. She started the last 33 games of the 2022-23 season and posted four double-doubles.

REINFORCEMENTS – One of North America’s top NHL Draft prospects is headed to Amherst next season. The UMass hockey program announced Aydar Suniev will join the Minutemen on Tuesday. The 6-2, 205-pound left-shot forward was ranked 40th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Suniev registered 123 points with 59 goals across 83 games with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. He was named a first-team all-star and led the league with 45 goals last season.

“Aydar is a highly skilled and talented scoring forward. He has good size and skating ability and should be taken in the higher rounds of this year's NHL Draft in June,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said in a release. “He is also an excellent student who is receiving the highest level of academic merit that is possible at UMass. Aydar has the ability to be a game changing player on the ice and a great addition to our culture.”

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