The transfer portal story of Marcus Adams Jr. is different than others in college sports

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

PROVO — College basketball player transfer and commitment decisions are often held under a completely out-of-focus microscope by fans and media that often obfuscate the real story behind all of it.

Assumptions based on ready biases often come into play, but in most cases shouldn't, with the case of Marcus Adams Jr. serving as a prime example.

Adams announced his decision to transfer away from BYU shortly after the conclusion of the 2023-24 basketball season. For Adams, it marked the third time he elected to switch schools after signing with Kansas out of high school in 2023, leading to skepticism regarding his true ability as a basketball player and certainly his resolve in putting forth the work necessary to realize his potential.

Adams is keenly aware of all of it, and has unfortunately been privy to a lot of the talk regarding his circumstance.

"People have been talking, and it hasn't been any positive talk," Adams said. "No one really knows why I left Kansas, and now BYU, but that's OK. I'm not really worried about that. I'm worried about being close to my family and being able to support them."

Indeed, family is Adams' main focus currently, and necessarily so given what recently transpired back home in Torrance, California.

Injury ridden career

Adams had found a somewhat unexpected home in Provo, citing a great fondness for everything surrounding him and the intent to finish out his collegiate career at BYU.

"BYU was an incredible experience," Adams said. "Going to BYU was one of the best decisions I've ever made. BYU was a home far away from home. Everyone was great — the people, my teachers, the coaching staff, my teammates most of all. … The whole city of Provo is just amazing."

What Adams couldn't participate in, however, was production on the hardwood, where injury issues limited his contribution after being granted a transfer waiver to play immediately for the Cougars in December.

"It was a little challenging being hurt during your freshman season," Adams said. "Because I'm looking at going in there to play at the Marriott (Center), and all of (the injuries) got me out of shape and I couldn't do as much. I couldn't do anything during the season to help my team, but what I could do … was be on the scout team during March. So I was able to play at the end of the year, at least during practice."

Marcus Adams Jr. sits on the sideline wearing a boot on his foot during BYU basketball practice at the Marriott Center Annex Court in Provo on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.
Marcus Adams Jr. sits on the sideline wearing a boot on his foot during BYU basketball practice at the Marriott Center Annex Court in Provo on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

Family first

Injuries are a part of any athlete's career and can be expected, but considering the tragedy that befell Adams' family in February, it's amazing he was able to finish out the season.

Adams' father, Marcus Royce Adams Sr., suffered a stroke and died shortly thereafter — a devastation that would crush just about anyone, let alone an 18-year old man living away from home for the first time in his life.

"Losing my father was really hard, and I wasn't there when (the stroke) happened," Adams said. "I had to travel there at one in the morning and go to the hospital in his last moments. … Then, a month later, I lose my grandmother and it leaves my mother with a lot of pain."

Adams' character and resolve persisted, however, as he finished what he started at BYU; and although he was unable to contribute during games, he contributed where he could to the best of his ability. Considering the earth-shattering tragedy he was dealing with through all of it, any contribution at all was remarkable.

Following the season, Adams returned home to discuss in earnest what was the best course of action moving forward. Then BYU coach Mark Pope was working to bring the entire family out to Provo, but Adams and his mother decided on an alternative course of action.

"Obviously, I would love to stay. ... But I returned home after our tournament loss, had a long talk with my mom, and we decided it was best for me to find a place at home," Adams said. "Obviously, it won't be like the Marriott Center — electrifying and amazing — but I'm looking at a place back home and to show people what I can do."

Adams is currently being courted by UCLA, USC and Santa Barbara, primarily, all of which provide a location close to home where he can take on his new responsibilities.

"I'm the man of the house now and have to play that role for my little brother," Adams said. "I need to be as close as I can to him, so he won't have those mental breakdowns and feel down because of the loss of my dad, because we were all very close and my dad was everything for him."

Adams' younger brother, Maximo Adams, is a five-star prospect for the 2026 recruiting class and is already considered one of the top recruits in the entire country.

"I need to return back home to be closer to my family," Adams added. "I need to be closer to my mom and my little brother who is growing up without a father figure."

Once a Cougar, always a Cougar

It didn't work out for Adams at BYU, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't a good experience for both parties; that doesn't mean Adams and his family couldn't end up in Provo down the road when their circumstances change.

We sow seeds of positivity in life and ultimately hope that good fruits are then harvested from those seeds. Adams will always consider his time in Provo as a positive experience. He is grateful for his time there and the love that Cougar Nation showed him and his family. BYU and Provo will always be a second home.

If you would like to listen to the Marcus Adams Jr. interview in its entirety click here.

Most recent BYU Cougars stories

Related topics

BYU CougarsSportsCollege
Ben Criddle


From first downs to buzzer beaters, get’s top sports stories delivered to your inbox weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast