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NAU Roundup: Former Lumberjacks guard Luke Avdalovic to transfer to Pacific

NAU Roundup: Former Lumberjacks guard Luke Avdalovic to transfer to Pacific

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Another major Big Sky Conference men's basketball transfer found his new home Friday.

Former Northern Arizona Lumberjacks guard Luke Avdalovic announced on his Twitter account that he will transfer to West Coast Conference school Pacific.

Avdalovic, a graduate transfer after earning his undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona, first announced his intentions to transfer on March 17 and told the Daily Sun that he wanted to make the move that was best for him and his career.

NAU's Luke Avdalovic, Jackson Larsen enter transfer portal

Avdalovic takes a similar path as former teammate Cameron Shelton, who announced on Wednesday that he is transferring to WCC school Loyola Marymount. Both left for the WCC, and both left for schools just outside their hometowns in California.

Avdalovic, a native of Folsom, California, joins a Pacific team in Stockton, California, that went 9-9 and finished 5-7 in the WCC. The Tigers are coached by former University of Arizona star Damon Stoudamire, who was a player at Arizona from 1991 to '95 not long before former Northern Arizona men's basketball head coach Jack Murphy started his first stint in Tucson.

Avdalovic was a 44.7% career 3-point shooter at Northern Arizona, hitting a career-best mark in 2018-19 when he shot a blistering 49% from deep in a breakout season.

The sharpshooter steadily added to his game while in Flagstaff, becoming more than just an outside-shooting specialist. Avdalovic showed flashes the past season or so of an expanded game and a new ability and confidence to find his own looks off the bounce instead of relying on the 3-ball for his offense.

That, plus a better defensive showing, made the sharpshooter an integral part of the Lumberjacks offense the past three seasons.

Avdalovic joins a team that ranked just eighth in the WCC in 3-point field goal percentage, a stat that will likely rise with Avdalovic in the rotation. As a team the Tigers hit just 52 3s, while Avdalovic made 39 on his own this past season -- and 79 in his best season of his college career in 2018-19.

In other Big Sky transfer news, 2021 Big Sky tournament champion Eastern Washington lost three more to the transfer portal. All-Big Sky First Team member Kim Aiken Jr. entered his name, leaving just one 2021 All-Big Sky first teamer -- Southern Utah's Tevian Jones -- for now.

Eastern Washington also lost guard Jack Perry to the portal. Guard Michael Meadows also left Eastern Washington, following former head coach Shantay Legans to Portland -- also in the WCC.

Track and field

NAU will be traveling to Phoenix on Saturday to compete at the Antelope Invitational, hosted by Grand Canyon University.

The field events will commence at 1 p.m. with the women’s javelin, while the running events start at 4 p.m. with the women’s 4x100-meter relay.

NAU will compete alongside Arizona, Arizona State, Athleta, AZPVA, Colorado, Elite Sports & Fitness Academy, Grand Canyon, New Balance, On Athletics Club, Phoenix Track Club, Rhode Island Track Club, Risen Performance, Saucony Freedom Track Club, Start2Finish, Under Armour/TeamRunFlagstaff, Weber State, and Western Colorado.

As the weather heats up, the season continues to as well, with conference championships just a few weeks away, the Lumberjacks are pursuing the outdoor season with increased intensity.

The throws crew will compete in the men’s and women’s discus, shot put and men’s javelin.

But top throwers junior Matilde Roe and senior Parker Joens return to the women’s and men’s shot put for the Jacks. Roe placed third at the Willie Williams Classic two weeks ago and has placed in the top three of this event at each meet this season. Joens earned first place at Willie Williams and has been the Lumberjack men’s shot put leader this year.

The jumps squad will enter the men’s and women’s triple jump and long jump, along with the men’s high jump and women’s pole vault.

Freshman Mitchell Effing is set to compete in the triple jump after placing second in Tucson last month. Effing has finished in the top two places of the men’s triple jump all season.

The sprinters and hurdlers will take part in the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay, 200, 100 as well as the 100 and 110m hurdles. The men will also run in the 400 hurdles and the 4x100 relay.

The men’s and women’s distance unit will run in the 800m, the 1500m, and the 5K. Additionally, the women will participate in the 3000m steeplechase.

In Tucson last month the NAU men and women secured podium finishes in the 1500m, with senior Jeralyn Poe placing first for the women and sophomore Theo Quax finishing third overall for the men.

The distance team also saw women’s junior Melanie Loff, and men’s senior Ryan Lanley take first and second, respectively, in the 800 run. Loff and Lanely both set new personal best times in this event as well.

This weekend, senior Mikayla Malaspina and Jenna McCaffrey will compete in the women’s 3000m steeplechase for the first time since Big Sky Championships in 2019. Saturday will be McCaffrey’s outdoor season debut.

Seniors Hannah Behunin and Aldo Marquez are also making her season debut; Behunin is set to enter the women’s 800, 1500, and 4x400m relay. While Marquez will run in the men’s 1500m and 5K.

NAU Sports Information contributed to this roundup.

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