ORONO, Maine — The first on-court personnel change of offseason for the University of Maine men’s basketball program is in the works.
Aaron Calixte, a redshirt junior guard who earned third-team All-America East honors this winter after leading the Black Bears in scoring and several other statistical categories, plans to transfer to another school for his final season of eligibility.
“I just want to go to a school that has a chance to win and make the NCAA tournament,” said Calixte on Tuesday afternoon.
Calixte, who used the 2016-17 season as a redshirt year after missing all but five games due to a foot injury, is on track to earn his bachelor’s degree in business management from UMaine this spring as a fourth-year student on the Orono campus.
That would enable the 5-foot-11 guard from Stoughton, Massachusetts, via Lee Academy to join another Division I program next year for his final year of athletic eligibility as a graduate transfer. Under NCAA rules he would not have to sit out a year before becoming eligible to play at his new school.
“It’s a great chance for me to play for that fifth season without having to sit out a year,” he said.
Wes Myers, a guard who played for UMaine during the 2016-17 season, took a similar approach when he earned his bachelor’s degree from the school last summer and is now playing as a graduate transfer this winter at the University of South Carolina.
Calixte said he began thinking about his options with the graduate transfer rule about a month ago, long before Monday’s replacement of his coach for the last four years, Bob Walsh, with former UMaine women’s basketball head coach Richard Barron.
“I just couldn’t see myself coming back without the coaching staff I’ve been here with,” he said.
Calixte ranked fifth among America East scorers this winter at 17.0 points per game while leading the conference with an .892 free-throw percentage (107 of 120). He also shot 46.7 percent from the field overall and 38.6 percent on 3-point attempts while also contributing 3.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this winter for the Black Bears, who finished 6-26 overall and 3-13 in conference play.
Calixte also set a University of Maine record this season with 37 consecutive made free throws to break the previous mark of 32 set by Skip Chappelle during the 1960-61 season.
Calixte will leave UMaine as the Black Bears’ career leader in free-throw percentage at .879 after making 204 of 232 tries from the line over four years. The previous career leader in that category was Jeff Topliff, who shot at even 85 percent from the line between 1981 and 1985.
Calixte has appeared in 97 games with 89 starts during his UMaine career and amassed 1,125 points, the 17th-highest total in UMaine men’s basketball history.
Calixte has not yet been in contact with any specific schools, but said Walsh is providing assistance and that word of his plans also is being spread via various college basketball websites and social media platforms.
“I’m looking to go someplace where I can play right away like I did at Maine,” he said.
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