The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers suffered a blow to their roster over the weekend when it was announced via a press release that freshman guard David Kralj would be leaving the team permanently and traveling overseas to play professional basketball.
Kralj had been a presence both off the bench and starting for the Chanticleers. Prior to Jan. 19’s game against Appalachian State, Kralj played in each of the team’s 16 games and started in six of them. He had been shooting 44% from the field, 40% from three-point range, and 75% from the free throw line all while averaging 7.5 points per game.
Kralj is a native of Slovenia and, according to Coach Cliff Ellis, told the team that he was leaving due to a desire to go home. According to Ellis, it was not until after the fact that the team had been made aware of his desires to sign a contract to play professional basketball.
“I think it’s very poor timing, it hurts the team in many ways, but our team is not going to let that bog them down,” Ellis said in a press conference after his team handedly beat Appalachian State at home.
David Kralj’s decision comes in a time where “one and done” is rampant throughout college basketball as talented freshmen play one season of college and then move on to professional basketball (hence “one and done”) either overseas or in the National Basketball Association. Evidently, Kralj felt he had an opportunity to capitalize on his talents by playing professionally overseas in his home country of Slovenia, a decision that required him to step away from the Chanticleers.
Ellis took some time to address the issue of “one and done” players throughout college basketball.
“That element is out there and we as coaches know that…it drives coaches crazy, but you cannot control it,” he said.
While visibly frustrated with the entire situation as well as the culture of “one and done”, Ellis made it perfectly clear that he holds now ill will toward Kralj.
“The timing of this is bad for the team, but David is an outstanding talent and showed that in his short time with the Chanticleers and again we wish him nothing but the best," he said in a press release.
As the Chanticleers look to build off the momentum they created in their domination of Appalachian State, they will be tasked with attempting to fill the void that Kralj’s departure left. Ellis has expressed his plan to tap into his team’s “next man up” philosophy, naming-dropping junior Matt Lindsey as someone who could possibly get more minutes as the team tries to make up for the lost offense off the bench.