Elle Sutphin ‘24 practices in the baker sports complex. She is wearing a red practice jersey and dribbling a basketball.
Elle Sutphin ‘24 during practice. Photo courtesy Elle Sutphin ‘24.

Victor Taylor ‘24 (he/him), Sports Writer

Davidson Men’s Basketball has historically been an outlier compared to other Division I programs due to their lack of reliance on transfers. In fact, the last time Coach Bob McKillop brought in a transfer was Will Magarity ‘18, who transferred from Boston College in 2015. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty it brought many players across the country, many talented players hit the transfer portal, including one name that Coach McKillop could not pass up. 

Foster Loyer ‘23, a 6’ guard who previously played at Michigan State, committed to the Wildcats in May, and is expected to play a large role in the ‘Cats hopes for an NCAA tournament bid this year. Loyer chose the Wildcats because he had developed a relationship with Coach McKillop when he had recruited him in high school. “After meeting some of the guys on the team and getting to see campus it just felt like home,” Loyer told me. With all the team vaccinated and workouts becoming easier to facilitate this summer, Loyer has felt the transition to be “very smooth” and that “teammates and others on campus have been great in getting me acclimated to the school and athletic environment.” 

Of course, not everything about Davidson is in relation to athletics. Loyer ‘23 said that “the campus and entire town has a huge family atmosphere and feel. It’s been great exploring all of the new restaurants the community has to offer.” Regarding what he expects from his personal and team performance this season, Loyer was very excited and enthusiastic about what the team’s potential is this year. “I think we have a lot of pieces that play well together. The goal every year at Davidson is to win the A10 and make a run at the NCAA tournament. There has been a tradition of winning here at Davidson under Coach McKillop, and my teammates and I plan on continuing that. As for his individual goals on the court, Foster just wants to contribute in any way he can to help the team win. “I want to be a leader for our team, both vocally and by example,” Loyer said. With the talent he brings to the court, it’s safe to say that Davidson and Loyer will be looking to do something special this year. 

Not to be excluded from the transfer portal fracas this year, Coach Gayle Fulks and the Davidson Women’s Basketball team have also dipped into the portal to recruit their own impact transfer. Elle Sutphin ‘24, a 6’3 forward previously at NC State, has joined the Wildcats for the next three years. The redshirt sophomore from Pilot Mountain, NC stayed in state and with the Wildcats “because it is a top tier academic college” and because of “the atmosphere it portrays sports and school wise.” 

True to her expectations, the in-state transition has been very smooth, Sutphin says. Like many students, she notes “academically it has definitely been challenging” but that she has “been in college for a while now, so it just takes time to get a routine that works.” On the court, Sutphin is feeling confident in her team as well. “My expectations on the season are very high, and I can’t wait to accomplish things with my teammates. We all have a winning morale and knowing we have each other for support on and off the court allows us to play freely.” Sutphin and her new teammates are primed to improve on their second round A-10 tournament exit with her arrival. 

With the men’s losses of two of their top three scorers, Kellan Grady ‘21 and Carter Collins ‘21, and the women’s loss of lead guard Katie Turner ‘21, it was expected by many to be a rebuilding year for both programs. However, with the additions of Loyer and Sutphin, both teams’ pivots towards contention for an A10 crown are complete.