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College basketball’s top available graduate transfers

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Graduate transfers are a huge part of college basketball recruiting.

Grabbing a college-ready player who can come in and be productive right away is a common practice for some teams. And with recruiting getting hectic this offseason thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, graduate transfers look like an even safer option since college coaches can easily watch last season’s game film as other recruits can’t visit campus.

Here’s a look at the top ten available graduate transfers left this offseason. All ten of these players should be able to come in and contribute right away next season.

Matt Haarms, Purdue

The 7-foot-3 center surprised many with his decision to transfer. Haarms became one of the most coveted graduate transfers in college hoops. The main reason? The past three years, Haarms averaged at least two blocks per game. He’s a two-year starter in the middle for a successful Big Ten program. Finding immediate help with rim protection isn’t common on the graduate transfer market. Particularly from a big man who also averaged around nine points per game and shot above 52 percent the past two seasons. Over 20 schools have already reached out to Haarms since he entered the transfer portal. It’ll be fascinating to see Haarms in a new situation.

Bryce Aiken, Harvard

Aiken will close out his injury-plagued career at the highest level. This comes after a successful stint at Harvard where Aiken was a two-time first-team All-Ivy selection. As a junior last season, Aiken put up 22.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. This season, Aiken missed all but seven games due to a foot injury. Health will be a factor for Aiken. Across the past three college seasons he’s only played 39 total games. But Aiken’s a former consensus top-100 recruit and a dynamic playmaker at lead guard. He should be able to step in and become an impact player right away. Aiken has been linked to Iowa State, Maryland, Michigan and Seton Hall.

Justin Turner, Bowling Green

A two-time first-team All-MAC selection, Turner is the best pure scorer among graduate transfers. Turner put up 18.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season. He’s a 36 percent three-point shooter who can create shots on his own. The 6-foot-4 guard should be able to handle high-major competition right away. Turner had a 26-point outburst on LSU early in the season. Iowa State, Marquette and Missouri are the three schools left on Turner’s list. Returning to Bowling Green is also an option.

Jordan Bruner, Yale

Bruner is down to Alabama, Baylor and Maryland. The 6-foot-9 big man was a double-double threat every game the past two seasons. Bruner made first-team All-Ivy status by putting up 10.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this season. The junior had an impressive three-game double-double stretch mid-season against UMass, Clemson and North Carolina. Bruner also shows intriguing skill at 32 percent from three-point range and 3.8 assists per game.

Jalen Tate, Northern Kentucky

The 6-foot-6 Tate is the premier two-way wing left among grad transfers. He’s reigning Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. Tate improved on offense enough the past two seasons to also become a consistent double-figure scoring threat. Tate put up 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season. High-majors have shown interest in Tate, including Arkansas, Cincinnati (where former coach John Brennan is now head coach), Penn State, Virginia Tech and Wichita State.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 14: Davion Mintz #1 of the Creighton Bluejays is defended by Kyle Castlin #2 of the Xavier Musketeers in the second half during the Quarterfinals of the 2019 Big East men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Davion Mintz, Creighton

Mintz sat out this past season with injury. He likely fell out of the starting picture following breakthrough Creighton’s Big East title season. Starting 79 games his first three seasons, Mintz is a consistent backcourt rotation piece at the high-major level. As a junior, the 6-foot-3 Mintz averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. Mintz only announced his transfer four days ago, so a recruiting list hasn’t become available yet. Expect Mintz to hear from a large number of suitors.

Amauri Hardy, UNLV

Consistent scoring is what the 6-foot-2 Hardy brings to the table. A double-figure bucket-getter for the Runnin’ Rebels the past two seasons, Hardy can fill it up. As a junior, Hardy scored 14.5 points and dished out 3.3 assists per game as a third-team all-league selection. Hardy can play both backcourt spots and that’s part of his appeal. But Hardy could seek a situation where he plays with the ball in his hands. Hardy maintains a large list of high-major suitors at this point in the process as he hasn’t cut a list.

Mike Smith, Columbia

Leading the Ivy League in scoring last season, Smith is one of the top microwave scoring graduate transfers. Smith put up 22.8 points, 4.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds last season for the Lions. Smith had to do it all on a very bad team. That didn’t slow him down from big games against tough competition. Smith tallied double-figures against Wake Forest, Virginia and St. John’s in non-conference play. He averaged 36 points per game in two contests against Harvard and dropped 37 on Yale the final time he played them. Smith will struggle to adapt defensively thanks to his generously-listed 5-foot-11 size. But he’s capable of putting up points or running an offense. Michigan, Northwestern and Seton Hall remain seriously involved.

Rapolas Ivanauskas, Colgate

This former Patriot League Player of the Year is a hot recent name to enter the transfer portal. Ivanauskas just entered a few days ago. According to Brian Snow of 247 Sports, Cincinnati, Dayton, Georgetown and Maryland have all reached out. A former Northwestern recruit who thrived at Colgate, the 6-foot-10 Ivanauskas put up 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Ivanauskas shot 43 percent from three-point range two seasons ago and brings a solid perimeter-shooting element to his game.

Charles Minlend, San Francisco

A known scorer, Minlend leaves the Dons after leading the team in points this past season. Averaging 14.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, the 6-foot-4 Minlend can do tons of damage off the dribble. Minlend scored in double-figures in all three games against Gonzaga last season (twice scoring 20-plus) while also going for double-figures in all three games against Pac-12 competition. Minlend has a long list of high-major schools in pursuit.

Reports: Bowling Green to hire former player, Miami assistant as new head coach

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According to multiple reports there will be one less opening on the coaching carousel, with Bowling Green set to fill its head coaching vacancy.

Michael Huger, currently an assistant on Jim Larrañaga’s staff at Miami, is expected to be named the new head coach later this week. Huger is certainly familiar with the Bowling Green program, as he’s an alumnus of the school and played for Larrañaga from 1989-93.

Huger will replace Chris Jans, who was fired after one season for his actions at a Bowling Green bar. According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com Huger’s contract is expected to be a six-year deal.

Bowling Green won 21 games in 2014-15, but Huger will have to account for the loss of three of the team’s top four scorers in Richaun Holmes, Jehvon Clarke and Anthony Henderson ahead of the 2015-16 campaign. As of right now, guard Zach Denny (9.7 ppg) would be the team’s leading returning scorer.

Former Bowling Green head coach apologizes for behavior that led to firing

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Chris Jans’ first season at the helm at Bowling Green was a successful one as he led the Falcons to 21 wins and a spot in the CIT, which was the program’s first postseason appearance since 2012. However his time at the school came to an abrupt end in early April, as the school announced that Jans had been fired for inappropriate behavior after becoming intoxicated at a bar.

A video of the incident that became public shortly after Jans’ firing showed him harassing a female patron at the bar.

Friday afternoon Jans issued a statement on the matter, his first public comments since being relieved of his duties, according to Eric Prisbell of USA Today. Jans apologized for his actions while also thanking Bowling Green for the opportunity to lead their basketball program.

“On March 21st I made a mistake for which I sincerely apologize. After our final loss of the season I went to a bar to be amongst friends, became intoxicated and proceeded to act in a manner which was inappropriate. I have tried to instill in every student I’ve coached the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions, and that is what I am trying to do now.

“I have been completely forthcoming and honest with the Bowling Green State University administration during this process. I immediately made efforts to apologize to those offended that evening including the woman who approached me that night to chastise me for my conduct. Although I have already apologized to my wife, my family, my players and coaches, I want to now publicly apologize to everyone else, including any one in the BGSU community who may have been affected by this matter — I am truly sorry.

“Finally, I want to thank BGSU for giving me the opportunity to be its head basketball coach. I plan to use the future months and years to improve myself as an individual and to show them that their faith in me as a coach, and a person, was not unwarranted.”

While the school continues its search for a new head coach, assistant Mark Downey has served as the interim head coach. Whoever the new head coach is, they’ll have to account for the loss of the team’s top two scorers as Richaun Holmes (14.7 ppg) and Jehvon Clarke (10.7 ppg) were both seniors.

Chris Jans has been fired by Bowling Green

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Bowling Green announced on Thursday that they have fired men’s basketball coach Chris Jans.

Jans had his contract terminated after the school investigated “his recent public conduct” and determined that he “failed to meet his obligations” as the coach at BGSU.

Assistant coach Mark Downey has been named the interim head coach.

Jans was in his first season with the Falcons, going 21-12. He’s a former assistant at Wichita State that would have been in play to replace Gregg Marshall had Marshall left.

Pregame Shootaround: Harvard hosts Yale with first place on the line in the Ivy League

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GAME OF THE DAY: Yale at Harvard, 8:00 p.m. (Ivy League Digital Network)

The Bulldogs and Crimson enter this game tied atop the Ivy League standings with matching 10-2 record, and the winner will be one win away from earning the league’s automatic bid. Harvard won the first meeting between the two, a two-point win in New Haven February 7, with two Wesley Saunders free throws with six seconds remaining being the difference. Two of the Ivy’s best players will be involved, with Saunders leading the Crimson and forward Justin Sears being Yale’s best option. Both teams are solid defensively, but Yale has to shoot better than the 31.5 percent they shot in the first meeting.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Bowling Green at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

Seeding in next week’s MAC tournament is still up in the air in many cases, with the Falcons and Bulls looking to improve their standing with a win Friday night. Chris Jans has put together a very successful season in his first year at Bowling Green, and the Falcons have relied on their defense to make that charge. They limited Buffalo to 35.7 percent shooting in the first meeting but still lost by 12 due to their own offensive issues (4-for-20 3PT). It goes without saying that Bowling Green will need to shoot better if they’re to beat a Buffalo squad led by forward Justin Moss and guard Shannon Evans, with those two combining to average just over 30 points per game.

WHO’S ON UPSET ALERT?: Cleveland State (vs. Detroit), 9:30 p.m.

The two meetings between the Vikings and Titans were decided by a total of five points, with CSU winning the first meeting by four and a Juwan Howard Jr. three being the difference in the rematch. Howard Jr. will be the focus of Cleveland State’s defensive efforts, but Paris Bass is capable of putting points on the board as well with his 28-point outing in a loss to Oakland February 15 serving as an example. Cleveland State has three players averaging double figures, with guards Trey Lewis and Charlie Lee leading the way on the perimeter and Anton Grady patrolling the interior.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. No, 14 Baylor looks to rebound from a two-point overtime loss to Texas with a win over Texas Tech in the regular season finale for both (9:00 p.m., ESPN2). This game could be tougher than one would anticipate, as the Red Raiders lost by just five in the first meeting February 17.

2. No. 8 Wichita State plays in the first game of the day at Arch Madness in St. Louis, as they take on Southern Illinois (1:00 p.m., ESPN3). The Shockers swept the season series, and they’ve won eight straight since losing at Northern Iowa January 31.

3. Speaking of the Panthers, No. 11 Northern Iowa takes on Bradley in another Arch Madness quarterfinal. The teams last played February 21, when UNI limited the Braves to 39 points in a 17-point home win.

4. No. 25 Murray State takes the court for the first time in this year’s OVC tournament, as they’ll take on Morehead State in the semifinals. Led by guard Cameron Payne, Steve Prohm’s Racers have won 24 straight games and they rolled through league play with a 16-0 record.

5. Kent State can wrap up a share of the MAC East title with a win over Akron (7:00 p.m., ESPN2), and they’ll share the title with the winner of the Bowling Green/Buffalo matchup. Akron won by nine February 10, but the Golden Flashes were playing without their leading scorer and rebounder in Jimmy Hall due to injury.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • Big South (quarterfinals): Longwood vs. Charleston Southern, Radford vs. Winthrop, Gardner-Webb vs. High Point and UNC Asheville vs. Coastal Carolina.
  • Colonial (first round): Towson vs. Elon, College of Charleston vs. Drexel
  • Horizon (second round): UIC vs. Oakland, Detroit vs. Cleveland State
  • Missouri Valley (quarterfinals): Southern Illinois vs. No. 8 Wichita State, Evansville vs. Illinois State, Bradley vs. No. 11 Northern Iowa, Loyola (IL) vs. Indiana State
  • Ohio Valley (semifinals): Morehead State vs. No. 25 Murray State, Belmont vs. Eastern Kentucky
  • Southern (first round): Samford vs. UNCG, Furman vs. The Citadel
  • West Coast (first round): Pacific vs. San Francisco, Loyola Marymount vs. Santa Clara

Bowling Green moves to 4-0 thanks to a Richaun Holmes buzzer-beating layup (VIDEO)

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After being a member of Gregg Marshall’s staff for the last seven seasons, serving as associate head coach from 2011-14, Chris Jans made the move to Bowling Green with the MAC school hopeful that a change in direction would lead to better results. Last season the Falcons finished 12-20, with their longest win streak of the season being three games (which occurred twice).

Sunday afternoon the Falcons moved to 4-0 on the season, winning at Detroit 64-63. After a Juwan Howard Jr. jumper gave the Titans a one-point lead with just under three seconds remaining Spencer Parker found Richaun Holmes, who split two defenders and made the game-winning layup as time expired.

Video credit: Jordan Strack