BYU’s Richie Saunders Announces He Will Enter NCAA Transfer Portal

Apr 14, 2024, 1:55 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2024, 2:22 pm

PROVO, Utah – Another day in the BYU basketball head coach search leads to another player entering the transfer portal.

The latest is guard Richie Saunders.

Richie Saunders is entering the Transfer Portal

Saunders announced he intends to enter the portal on his Instagram page on Sunday.


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A post shared by Richie Saunders (@rsaunders15)

“Due to the uncertainty of the coaching situation, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal. My heart hurts because of this unanticipated change with the coaching staff. With that being said, I would like to be proactive about exploring what is best for my wife and I as we move forward. I love BYU and am forever grateful for the experiences I have had. I can’t thank the coaches, staff, and fans enough for these experiences. Thank you Cougar nation, for everything.”

The 6-foot-5 prospect from Riverton, Utah, was an instant spark plug off the bench for BYU last season. Saunders finished the 2023-24 season averaging 9.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game.

He posted career highs in field goal percentage (52%), three-pointers (36.4%), and free throws (71.2%) last season.

Saunders’s decision comes days after former head coach Mark Pope took the same position with the Kentucky Wildcats.

BYU basketball players continue to enter the portal after Mark Pope departure

Since Pope left for Kentucky, three BYU players have entered the transfer portal. The other two are point guard Dallin Hall and center Aly Khalifa. Khalifa told On3’s Joe Tipton that returning to BYU is still an option, along with pursuing interest from Louisville and Kentucky.

Saunders was a physical player in a rugged Big 12 Conference during BYU’s inaugural season in the league. The reserve, who started two games this past season, consistently got downhill and attacked the basket.

One of his highlight games was an 11-point performance off the bench that helped BYU comeback from a 17-point deficit to defeat TCU.

He signed with BYU over heavy interest from Creighton out of Wasatch Academy in the 2020 recruiting cycle. Saunders served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling at BYU.

He has two years of eligibility remaining in his collegiate career.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU’s Richie Saunders Announces He Will Enter NCAA Transfer Portal