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AP photo by Jeff Roberson / Saint Louis University forward KC Hankton, left, and teammate Jordan Goodwin, right, defend as Barret Benson shoots for Southern Illinois on Dec. 1, 2019, in St. Louis. Hankton will transfer to UTC, having signed with the Mocs on Friday.

Despite not being able to have direct contact with KC Hankton, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coaches were able to make a direct impact on him.

How direct?

Hankton was willing to commit and sign with UTC despite having never seen the campus in person.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward from Charlotte, North Carolina, announced his intentions to transfer from Saint Louis University to UTC on Thursday via Twitter, and on Friday afternoon the Mocs announced that he had signed with them. He is their second signee this offseason, joining Darius Banks, a James Madison University transfer.

Hankton is expected to sit out the 2020-21 schedule per current NCAA transfer guidelines but would have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Coach Lamont Paris and his staff communicated with Hankton through the FaceTime app. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, campus and coaches' visits are currently off due to an NCAA-mandated dead period for recruiting that will last through at least May 31, though other forms of communication are permitted.

"The staff sent a lot of information about the school. Pictures, things like that," Hankton said Friday. "They sold the campus very well and made it seem like a good place to go.

"I'm super excited. I can't wait for things to clear up and finally be able to move down there, get with the guys and get to work."

Hankton battled injuries during his two seasons with the Billikens, appearing in 34 games, averaging 5.5 minutes, scoring 51 points and grabbing 30 rebounds. He signed with Saint Louis over offers from Charlotte, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Washington, Evansville, Kent State, Utah State and Winthrop.

With Banks and Hankton signed, the Mocs have three open scholarships available for next season's roster. Each of the past two years, Paris has added a graduate transfer: former University of Alabama at Birmigham center Thomas Smallwood in 2018-19, and former Vanderbilt forward Matt Ryan last season. Ryan was voted to the All-Southern Conference second team last season, when the 6-foot-7, 215-pound guard/forward averaged 15.4 points and made 88 3-pointers to help the Mocs secure a top-six seed for the league tournament and reach the semifinals before falling short.

Ryan was one of two players on the roster who was in his final college season — guard Jonathan Scott was the other — and the Mocs are also losing guard Maurice Commander and forwards Justin Brown and Rod Johnson as outgoing transfers.

Johnson has already announced he will attend Western Illinois as a graduate transfer, while Brown, also set to graduate from UTC, will spend his final two seasons at Wagner in New York. Commander has not announced a destination.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.

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