Jack Purchase, the native of Australia, has transferred to Hawaii, the university announced on Sunday afternoon.
The 6-foot-9 forward becomes the third addition for first-year head coach Eran Ganot since taking over the program in April. Purchase will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
“We are fired up to welcome Jack to the Rainbow Warrior basketball family,” Ganot said in a statement. “Jack is well regarded for his high skill set and tremendous basketball IQ, particularly at his size. He and his terrific family are a great fit for our program, this university, and the islands. It’s no secret that Australia is a place we would like to target and for Jack to start us off there is a real shot in the arm. He comes from the very highly respected Melbourne Tigers program, where his father, Nigel, played professionally.”
Purchase was recruited by former Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. In his lone season at Auburn, Purchase played in a limited role, appearing in only seven games for new head coach Bruce Pearl. He decided to transfer in late May.
Last summer, Purchase played in the FIBA U17 World Championships for an Australian team that won the silver medal.
He joins junior college point guard Bryce Canda and former Arizona State Sai Tummala as newest additions to the Hawaii program.
The 2014-15 season didn’t get off to the best of starts for Hawaii, as an NCAA investigation led to the firing of head coach Gib Arnold, assistant Brendyn Akana and the departure of the team’s best player in Isaac Fotu. Yet thanks to the leadership of interim head coach Benjy Taylor the Rainbow Warriors won 22 games and reached the title game of the Big West tournament.
Unfortunately for Taylor that wasn’t enough to land him the job full-time. According to multiple reports the school has tabbed Saint Mary’s assistant Eran Ganot as its new head coach. Ganot spent the last five seasons on Randy Bennett’s staff, with the 2014-15 campaign being his first as associate head coach after being an assistant the four years prior.
And he’s familiar with the Hawaii program as well as he served as a member of the staff from 2006-10, spending the final three as an assistant coach under Bob Nash before leaving to join Bennett at Saint Mary’s for a second stint. Ganot served as Riley Wallace’s director of basketball operations during the 2006-07 season.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Ganot is the first hire of new athletic director David Matlin. Matlin officially takes over as athletic director April 27.
Hawaii lost just one senior from this past season’s team in guard Garrett Nevels, who was second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg) and third in rebounding (4.4 rpg). Four of Hawaii’s top five scorers have eligibility remaining, led by leading scorer and rebounder Aaron Valdes (13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg). Whether or not they all return remains to be seen, but if they do Ganot would have some good pieces to work with in his debut season.