When Jordan Bohannon announced he was having hip surgery last week, I started researching all the available graduate-transfer point guards in men’s college basketball who would be legit candidates to be Big Ten players.
It was slim pickings this deep into the offseason, but the Hawkeyes are targeting one of who I considered the top three possibilities.
Bakari Evelyn is visiting Iowa next week. He spent the last two seasons playing at Valparaiso after transferring from Nebraska. He is a 6-foot-3 player from Detroit who averaged 10.5 points and 2.5 assists over 64 games at Valpo in the Horizon League. He made 105 3-pointers and had 62 steals in that time.
Evelyn has visited New Mexico State and Portland State. As cities go, Portland is great. As programs go, New Mexico State went 30-5 last season.
Iowa could use someone who can play the point for a portion of games because of the uncertain status of Bohannon entering this season. After Bohannon, it’s sophomore Connor McCaffery and freshman Joe Toussaint. And, maybe redshirt freshman C.J. Fredrick, who is a 2-guard. McCaffery, also a member of Iowa’s baseball team, is spending this summer playing baseball in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball Leauge.
By the way, the other two grad-transfer point guards still on the market are Ryan Woolridge, formerly of North Texas, and Derryck Thornton, who left USC. Woolridge recently visited Arkansas, which already has grad-transfers Isaiah Moss of Iowa and Jimmy Whitt of SMU in the fold. Thornton has visited Boston College and will visit Gonzaga.
New Arkansas coach Eric Musselman isn’t messing around.
Meanwhile, Iowa State scored a coup this week when Rasir Bolton announced Ames would be his new home after he left Penn State.
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The 6-2 guard from Petersburg, Va., averaged 11.6 points as a freshman for the Nittany Lions, playing 27 minutes per game. He made 52 of 144 3-pointers. He scored 16 points in his one game against Iowa. Not a bad guy to plug into your system with three seasons remaining, eh?
Why Bolton and his family say they’ll appeal to the NCAA for him to be immediately eligible, I don’t know. If he somehow were, that would be a boost for a Cyclones team that has lost a lot this offseason in seniors Marial Shayok and Nick Weiler-Babb, sophomore Lindell Wigginton and freshman Talen Horton-Tucker.
Around the Big Ten, basketball hasn’t gone to sleep. Two big news items happened this week.
Michigan State is getting 6-9 transfer Joey Hauser of Marquette. Hauser will sit out the coming season. As a freshman last season, he averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. Going in the opposite direction, Rutgers is losing forward Eugene Omoruyi before he plays his senior season. Omoruyi announced he intends to transfer after averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds last season.
Besides Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp, Big Ten players headed back to their schools after declaring themselves NBA early-entry candidates are Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson, Maryland’s Anthony Cowan, Penn State’s Lamar Stevens, and the trio of Al Durham, Devonte Green and Justin Smith of Indiana.
Those who entered early and are staying in the draft:
Indiana: Romeo Langford
Iowa: Tyler Cook
Maryland: Bruno Fernando
Michigan: Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole
Michigan State: Nick Ward
Minnesota: Amir Coffey
Nebraska: Isaiah Roby
Purdue: Carsen Edwards
Langford is a likely first-round pick. Fernando and Edwards appear to be on the border of first-round/second-round. Roby, whom I thought played very well in scrimmages at the NBA Combine, is a probable second-rounder, as is Brazdeikis. Everyone else is uncertain.
I don’t see Big Ten basketball being better next season.