Former Louisville forward Matt Cross commits to UMass men’s basketball

  • Former Louisville forward Matt Cross (33) drives against North Carolina forward Brady Manek (45) during action in Louisville, Ky., back on Feb. 1, 2022. Cross announced Monday he was transfering to UMass for the 2022-23 season under new head coach Frank Martin. AP FILE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/26/2022 5:37:16 PM
Modified: 4/26/2022 5:35:43 PM

Frank Martin has a type: highly touted Northeast prospects from big time programs. 

Former Louisville forward Matt Cross became the latest power conference defector to join the UMass men’s basketball team when he announced Monday on Instagram it was “time to come home,” with a video of himself in a black UMass jersey dribbling and flexing.

Cross, who will be a junior next season, scored in double figures nine times in 28 games for the Cardinals last season. He started nine games and averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-7 forward played his freshman season at Miami after a standout career at Brewster Academy, winning a prep national championship.

The Beverly native was a four-star prospect according to 247sports.com and the No. 95 player in the country. The site ranked him the No. 21 small forward in his class. He initially chose the Hurricanes over Florida, Butler and South Carolina.

He played with former UMass guard Javohn Garcia, who has entered the transfer portal, at Brewster. 

The Minutemen have brought in five transfers out of the portal this spring: Cross, UConn guard Rahsool Diggins, Boston College forward Gianni Thompson, and former South Carolina bigs Wildens Leveque and Ta’Quan Woodley. Thompson (Newton) and Leveque (Brockton) are also from Massachusetts, while Diggins is a Philadelphia native. Woodley grew up in New Jersey. They all have at least two years of eligibility left, while Diggins, Thompson and Woodley were freshmen last season.

Two UMass players have entered the transfer portal, per Verbalcommits.com: Garcia and Preston Santos.

“Thank you to the University of Massachusetts for everything they’ve done for me. Being at UMass, I learned a lot about myself as an athlete, and especially as a person,” Santos posted on Instagram on Monday. “I faced a tremendous amount of adversity that I refused to let defeat me, no matter how difficult things got. On the contrary, I’ve made relationships that will last a lifetime, and I’m extremely grateful for the people that I have met and gotten to know.”

Six players have departed the program in total between the two transfers and four graduates (Trent Buttrick, Greg Jones, Rich Kelly and Michael Steadman).

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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