Former Iowa State guard K.J. Bluford headed to Northern Arizona

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Just over two weeks after it was announced that he was leaving the Iowa State program in search of more playing time, junior guard K.J. Bluford has found a new home.

Bluford announced via his Twitter account on Wednesday that he’ll be transferring to Northern Arizona, giving the Lumberjacks a player who averaged nearly 18 points per game as a sophomore at Northeast Community College in Nebraska last season. Bluford played in seven games at Iowa State before making the decision to leave the program in late-December, playing an average of 5.4 points per game and scoring 2.7 points per contest.

Bluford joins a backcourt that currently has two junior college transfers and three freshmen, with junior guard Aaseem Dixon being the team’s third-leading scorer (13.3 ppg) and leader in assists (2.7 apg). From a scoring standpoint freshman Kris Yanku is next in line with his 6.5 points per game, so this is an area in which Bluford can help NAU if he reverts to the form shown at the junior college level.

With second-leading scorer Max Jacobson, currently averaging 14.0 points per game, being a senior NAU will need the help of players such as Bluford next season (when he becomes eligible; likely at the end of the 2014 fall semester) to account for the production that will be lost as a result of Jacobson’s graduation. In addition to Bluford NAU will add two freshmen to the program next season: guard Tate de Laveaga and forward Terry Winn.

Iowa State junior guard K.J. Bluford leaves program

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After averaging 17.8 points as a sophomore at Northeast Nebraska Community College, shooting guard K.J. Bluford had hopes of being a contributor for an Iowa State team that lost four of its top five scorers from a season ago. Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way for Bluford, whose desire for more playing time has resulted in his decision to leave the program.

Iowa State announced the news on Sunday afternoon.

“I appreciate the time and effort that K.J. gave to our program,” Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg said in the release. “He has elected to transfer to find a program that will allow him more playing time. I wish him the best in the future and will assist him in any way I can.”

Bluford averaged 2.7 points per game for Iowa State, with his highest scoring output being a six-point outing in a 110-51 win over Kansas City on November 25. Bluford scored five points in season-opening wins over UNCW and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, only to not see any action in Iowa State’s win over Michigan and minimal playing time against BYU.

In the six games after his 14-minute outing against Kansas City, Bluford played a total of five minutes with four coming in an Iowa State win over Auburn.

Given the lack of playing time that Bluford saw, this won’t be a crushing blow for the Cyclones. But if Iowa State were to be hit by a rash of injuries, then maybe there would be some concern regarding their backcourt depth.