Tray Buchanan, Hornets’ star scorer, signs on with team in Cyprus

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 12:06 PM CDT
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EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Hornets’ star scorer, Tray Buchanan, has signed a contract with AEL-Limassol in Limassol, Cyprus.

Emporia State University Athletics says Tray Buchanan has become the sixth Hornet to sign a professional contract in the last three years - and second off last season’s 20-9 team - as he signs a contract with AEL-Limassol in Limassol, Cyprus.

The Athletics Dept. said Buchanan made an immediate impact during his grad transfer year in Emporia. It said the guard from Rock Island, Ill., scored a game-high 19 points in the exhibition game with 2022 National Division I Champion University of Kansas. He then erupted for 31 points in the regular season opener.

”It just seemed like this was the biggest fit,” Buchanan said. “Honestly, I feel like I would be in the same position as I was coming into Emporia, just trying to come in and help an upcoming program hit that marker and get over the hump. The coach really likes how I score the ball and the ball will be in my hands a lot. It kind of was a no-brainer when it came down to it.”

Buchanan says his time at Emporia changes his life and he’ll forever be grateful.

“I just remember coming on my visit the summer prior to me actually coming to ESU and [Craig] Doty was saying, it was all on you. Just come back to school in shape and that will show me a lot about your character and how serious you are about this year so I just took that with stride and I put my head down and just worked hard all year and it paid off,” Buchanan said.

The Dept. noted that Buchanan also had a game-high 29 points in the Hornets’ 75-56 victory over Northwest Missouri in White Auditorium - the first of two over the eventual champions in 2022. He would also go on to lead NCAA Division II in scoring from start to finish with an average of 25.6 points per game - third among all NCAA men’s players in the nation.

According to ESU, Buchanan earned D2 conference Commissioners Association All-American honors and became the first men’s basketball player to earn All-American honors since 2003.

“What Tray did to the single-season record books at ESU and at the conference and national level is unprecedented,” said Hornet head coach Craig Doty. “We gave him the keys to the car but he showed every day in practice why he deserved to drive.”

The Department also indicated that Buchanan led the nation in free throws while ranking tenth in three-pointers per game. It said his 742 points last season rank fourth in the University’s single-season list while his 95 three-pointers are tied for second and his 225 free throws set a record.

“Throughout the season, Tray advanced in his ability to run the point and to lead a team. Tray went from a transfer portal player who didn’t have much recruitment to a professional basketball player in one season at Emporia State,” said Doty. “It was a pleasure to coach him and even more so to know him. He is a special man.”

ESU said Buchanan will play for a team that went 9-13 in the OPAP Basketball League last season. This is the top-tier level men’s professional basketball competition of the Cypriot basketball league system - run by the Cyprus Basketball Federation. It said the season runs from October through the playoffs in April.

The Dept. noted that the Hornets went 20-9 last season with a 15-7 record in MIAA play. It was the first 20-win season the school has seen since 2007 and a record for wins in MIAA action. It said the Hornets are set to return five of the top eight scorers and six of the top nine rebounders from the past season.

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