Former Pickerington Central boys basketball standout Jeremiah Francis announced April 23 that he is entering the NCAA transfer portal after one season at North Carolina.

Francis, who missed his junior and senior seasons at Central because of a knee injury that required two surgeries, was hampered by his knee this past season. He started three games and averaged 3.3 points, 1.6 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 16 games, but was limited to 70 total minutes of action over the Tar Heels’ final 16 games of the season.

Francis told InsideCarolina.com that he finished the season healthy and has been cleared to play.

“I am just looking for a new home and a great school academically,” he told InsideCarolina.com. “Most of all, I just want an opportunity to play.”

At Central, Francis averaged 10.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman and 15.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds as a sophomore, leading the Tigers to a 26-3 record and a Division I regional championship.

Francis also was heavily recruited by Ohio State but chose to sign with North Carolina, where he joined former Central teammate Sterling Manley.

“I think (Francis) just wants a better opportunity,” Tigers coach Eric Krueger said. “I’ve already (fielded) about 10 calls and I anticipate talking to more coaches once the word spreads more. Jeremiah’s healthy; that’s the main thing, and he’s in good spirits. He just wants to find a good opportunity, a place where he can be successful. He’s excited and I’m excited for him.”

Manley, a junior center, missed most of last season after undergoing season-ending surgery Dec. 12 to repair cartilage in his left knee. He also missed much of the 2018-19 season because of right knee soreness.

“Jeremiah’s a wonderful young man,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said in a statement April 23. “Our players and coaches enjoyed him being part of our program. I truly admired the work he put in to get back on the court after two full seasons of being injured in high school. We wish him the best wherever he chooses to resume his career.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave