Blazing Through The Portal

By Shea Irish

In just over a month since the end of a UAB season that resulted in 27 wins and an NCAA Tournament appearance, the Blazers have already improved their roster in hopes of a deeper run in 2023. Arguably no mid-major school in the country has been more active in the transfer portal than Andy Kennedy’s team, bringing in five new players to add depth and experience to an already impressive roster. Reigning C-USA Player of the Year Jordan Walker and two front court starters in Trey Jemison and K.J. Buffen will return, as well as 1,000 point scorer Tavin Lovan. Now add in the mix two SEC transfers and a pair of standout brothers from ETSU with over 1,000 career points themselves. Featuring one of the best mid-major guards in the country, along with five 1,000 point scorers and five former power conference transfers; it is safe to say that the 2022-23 UAB team will look even more dangerous than the previous C-USA Champions. Andy Kennedy has quietly developed a high-major roster at the mid-major level, and this offseason has been no different as the former Ole Miss coach has been ‘blazing’ through the portal. Here are the five transfer additions to the program so far:       

Eric Gaines– 6’2” Guard, Transfer from LSU

This former 4 star recruit played in 34 games and averaged nearly 27 minutes per contest for an LSU team that was a 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Gaines averaged 9.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 2.1 SPG on the season. His best performance in a Tigers uniform came in a January game against Arkansas when he filled the box score with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Gaines also had an 11 point outing on the road against #6 Kentucky. He is an electric guard that can elevate tremendously when finishing at the rim. Also a great defender, he should be the perfect complement to Jordan “Jelly” Walker in the backcourt. Gaines isn’t a great shooter, but he won’t need to be because his ability to get to the rim will greatly benefit Jordan Walker’s spot up shooting opportunities and vice versa. The two guards will be a nightmare for opposing C-USA coaches to gameplan for. 

Ledarrius Brewer– 6’5” Guard, Transfer from ETSU

The older of the two Brewer brothers, Ledarrius is a veteran wing that will provide another scoring option for the Blazers. Playing four seasons at the collegiate level already, Brewer will add a ton of experience to this team. He has scored 1,667 points and made 238 three-pointers in his career so far. A second team All-SoCon selection at ETSU this past year, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, and connected on 60 three-pointers. Regardless if he or Tavin Lovan start at the 3, one of them is going to be a 1,000 point scorer coming off the bench. That is something not many teams in the country will be able to replicate.  

Ty Brewer– 6’9” Forward, Transfer from ETSU

Just like the aforementioned brother, Ty Brewer also has over 1,000 points in his career. He is the better rebounder between the two brothers, grabbing 6.7 RPG for the Buccaneers in 2021-22. He has crazy athleticism for a 6’9” player, which is displayed often on fast break dunks and highlight alley oop finishes. He even appeared on SportsCenter top 10 this past season for a ridiculous windmill dunk. Brewer will more than likely be a back up splitting time between the 3 and 4 positions. With a loaded front court in Birmingham next season, he will be the second 1,000 point scorer coming off the bench for the Blazers. What a luxury at Andy Kennedy’s disposal. 

Javian Davis– 6’9” Forward, Transfer from Mississippi State

At 6’9” and 240 pounds, Davis is a big body that will add depth to the UAB front court. He’ll provide significant bench minutes behind Trey Jemison and K.J. Buffen, especially if either one gets in foul trouble. He has 92 games of experience between two SEC programs over three seasons. As a freshman he made an immediate impact for the Crimson Tide, starting 14 games and averaging 6.0 RPG, 3.8 RPG, while shooting 59.4% from the field. After leaving Alabama, he transferred to Mississippi State where he played for the last two seasons. His role with the Bulldogs wasn’t as meaningful as his time at Alabama, but he showed promise in games against Colorado State (13 points) and Georgia (12 points, 6 rebounds) last season. 

Tyler Bertram– 6’3” Guard, Transfer from Binghamton

This knockdown shooter is already familiar with C-USA play, spending his freshman season in Charlotte with the 49ers. After transferring to Binghamton for the last two seasons, Bertram connected on 37.2% of his 3-point attempts. In his 47 games played with the Bearcats, he drilled 3 or more 3-pointers on 19 different occasions. He will be another solid perimeter threat for the Blazers, but it is unknown whether he will receive a waiver to play right away due to this being his second transfer destination.

2022-23 Roster Breakdown

Starting 5:

G Jordan Walker 5’11” SR

-Averaged 20.3 PPG, finished 2nd in the nation with 116 3-pointers and became the C-USA Player of the Year.

G Eric Gaines 6’2” JR

-LSU transfer that is a former 4 star recruit. According to, he was the #88 prospect in the entire country for the 2020 class. 

G Ledarrius Brewer 6’5” SR

ETSU transfer, a 2022 All-SoCon selection with 1,667 career points.

F K.J. Buffen 6’7” SR

-Averaged 10.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG. Former Ole Miss transfer that has nearly 1,100 career points.

C Trey Jemison 7’0” SR

-Averaged 7.0 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Former Clemson transfer. 


G Tavin Lovan 6’4” SR

-1,282 career points. Finished last season with 8.2 PPG.

G Tyler Bertram 6’3 SR

-Binghamton transfer, shot 37% from deep over the last two seasons.

G Tony Toney 6’2 SO

G Efrem Johnson 6’4” FR

F Ty Brewer 6’9 SR

ETSU transfer, has over 1,000 points in his career. 

F Javian Davis 6’9” SR

Alabama/Mississippi State transfer.

F Rongie Gordon 6’8” SO

-Former 3 star recruit.


  • Shea Irish

    Shea is a life-long college basketball fanatic. He has always been passionate about following mid-majors hoops. He's 25 years old and currently resides in Upstate New York. Co-host of the Mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast.

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