29 Apr

Robbie Avila, one of the biggest names in the transfer portal, following Josh Schertz to Saint Louis

One of college basketball’s must-see players is following his coach to a new destination. Former Indiana State star Robbie Avila committed to Saint Louis on Saturday. The move was expected ever since Josh Schertz left ISU to coach SLU earlier this month.

Avila became a cult hero-type figure in college basketball this past season for his outstanding skillset combined with his everyman physique. Nobody else in college basketball quite looked or played like Avila, who by early March had become one of the most recognizable faces in the sport — all while doing so for a seldom-good program out of the Missouri Valley.

Avila — whose nicknames have ranged from Larry Nerd to Steph Blurry to Cream Abdul-Jabbar — is ranked 12th among all guys in the portal, per our David Cobb. He averaged 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and shot 39.4% from 3-point range. Saint Louis is getting an outstanding player and, if his ascent continues, a potential All-American next season. If Avila’s game continues to improve and the Billikens can be a team competing to make the NCAAs, he’s got a shot at being one of college hoops’ biggest stars.

Avila isn’t the only big Billiken get here. He’s not even the only former Indiana State player committing to Schertz. Guard Isaiah Swope, who was Indiana State’s second leading scorer behind Avila, is also heading to SLU, per a source. Swope averaged 15.9 points and will be a vital scoring presence under Schertz at Saint Louis.

With Avila and Swope set to follow Schertz, the Billikens can claim to be one of the biggest mid-major winners of the portal this cycle. Avila’s game highlights led him to stardom on social media over the prior three months. Few men’s players generated attention on TikTok, Instagram and X/Twitter the way he did. Listed a 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, Avila effectively played point center for the Sycamores, who made it to the NIT championship game after barely missing on the NCAA Tournament.

The Sycs finished 32-7, marking the program’s second-best season — in terms of win total — in school history. The Larry Bird-led 1978-79 team won 33 games and lost in the national championship to Michigan State and Magic Johnson. This team would have made the NCAAs as an at-large if not for so many bid thieves taking automatic bids in conference tournaments.

Schertz was hired at Saint Louis on April 6 on a five-year deal that will pay him north of $2 million annually, sources previously told CBS Sports. With Avila and Swope in the fold — and more transfers expected to commit in the next couple of weeks — the Billikens are poised to be a major factor in the A-10 in Year 1 under Schertz.

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