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Coulibaly Forest Pittsburgh Basketball

Pittsburgh’s Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (12) blocks the shot by Wake Forest’s Ody Oguama on March 2. Coulibaly has entered the NCAA transfer portal and Marshall is one of the school’s interested in him.

The transfer portal giveth and the transfer portal taketh away.

At least that’s the way the Marshall University men’s basketball program hopes it will work.

The Thundering Herd already has experienced the “taketh away” part. Senior point guard Jarrod West and redshirt senior forward Jannson Williams already have entered the portal.

Also, 6-foot-9, 335-pound redshirt junior center Iran Bennett entered the portal and transferred to Eastern Kentucky, where he will be reunited with former coach A.W. Hamilton.

So now it’s time for Marshall to experience the “giveth” part of this equation.

There are at least two prospects Marshall is involved with in the transfer portal. They are 6-8, 216-pound sophomore Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, who is leaving Pitt, and 6-2, 190-pound sophomore guard Chico Carter Jr., who is leaving Murray State.

Coulibaly, a native of Mali in West Africa, is a left-hander who started 20 of 22 games for Pitt during the 2020-21 season. He averaged 22 minutes, 5.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and shot 51.1% from the floor.

He would fill a need for Marshall. Since the Herd lost both Williams and Bennett to the transfer portal, it leaves the Herd short on post players.

Sure, the Herd still has 6-9 Mikel Beyers, but he is more of a wing than a post player. That leaves only 7-0 sophomore Goran Miladinovic and 6-8 true freshman Obinna Anochili-Killen as the only legitimate post players.

But since West has found a new home at Louisville, that also leaves Marshall a guard short. There’s 6-5 junior Taevion Kinsey, who averaged 20.4 points, was first-team All-Conference USA and is expected to withdraw his name from the NBA draft and return to the Herd.

Then there are 6-3 redshirt sophomore Andrew Taylor, who had a breakout season in 2020-21, and true freshman David Early, who showed promise with a few double-figure scoring performances off the bench.

So the Herd needs another guard.

That’s why Marshall is pursuing Carter. The sophomore from Columbia, South Carolina, averaged 12.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 24.1 minutes of playing time while shooting 50.8% from the floor, including 41.7% on 3-pointers, and 81.3% from the foul line.

Carter scored a career-high 23 points in a win over Eastern Kentucky. That was after he joined the Racers’ starting lineup on Feb. 6 and began making an immediate impact.

As a starter, Carter averaged 16.9 points, 2.4 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals during 32.4 minutes of playing time in Murray State’s last nine games. During that span, Carter also shot 50.8% from the floor, including 44.2% on 3-pointers.

That’s why Carter has become somewhat of a hot commodity. Duquesne is interested as well as such Conference USA schools as UAB, Charlotte and Marshall. There also is reportedly interest from Georgia, N.C. State, Boston College, Georgia State, Weber State, Elon, Nicholls State, James Madison and Northeastern.

Obviously, this explosive guard has more than a few options.

So does Marshall have a shot at signing Carter? Sure it does. But in this day and age of the instant mobility of the transfer portal, nothing is for certain.

Which begs the question: Is any of this process for the betterment of college basketball?

Probably not.