BYU’s Caleb Lohner, Gideon George enter transfer portal, as Cougars lose more starting experience

Plus: Oregon transfer Isaac Johnson commits to Utah State

(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars forward Gideon George (5) and Brigham Young Cougars forward Caleb Lohner (33) substitute out of the game during the last few minutes at the NIT quarter finals between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Washington State Cougars on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

BYU forward Caleb Lohner has announced his plans to transfer schools.

“After deep introspection and extensive consultation with my coaches, family, and advisors, I have decided to leave BYU and have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal,” Lohner wrote in a post he shared Tuesday on Twitter. “This has been a very difficult decision for me, but I believe it is the right one for me at this time. I have loved BYU, will always be a Cougar, and will remember my time here fondly. ...

“While I don’t know exactly what the future will hold, I am excited and optimistic and look forward to figuring out what is next. In line with my life view, I intend to find joy in the process.”

Lohner’s decision comes on the heels of assistant coach Chris Burgess’ departure from the BYU men’s basketball program. Big man Gideon George also entered the transfer portal this week, according to a report from The Zone Sports Network.

Lohner and George — who both worked under Burgess’ tutelage in the frontcourt — are the third and fourth players to enter the transfer portal for BYU this offseason. If they were not to return, the Cougars’ will be looking to replace four of their five starters from a year ago.

George had already entered his name in the NBA Draft earlier this month, but maintained his one year of college eligibility. Once a New Mexico junior college transfer, George spent the last two seasons at BYU averaging 7.3 points per game.

Lohner has three years of eligibility remaining, and has been a two-year starter at BYU. He was picked as a preseason all-conference selection but struggled for most of the year. Lohner originally came to BYU after de-committing from Utah in the later months of the recruiting process.

As BYU made an NIT run, head coach Mark Pope called Lohner and George the “future of BYU basketball.”

Also this week, Oregon transfer forward Isaac Johnson committed to Utah State. Johnson, the brother of current BYU guard Spencer Johnson, listed BYU, Utah and Utah State as finalists for his commitment. In his first season with Oregon, he averaged 2.4 points per game and 5.4 minutes.