Although the Ivy League won’t have a basketball season, a few of its most notable recent performers will be playing this year for new schools in different conferences.
Former Harvard stars Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns, as well as ex-Yale standout Jordan Bruner, left as graduate transfers. Aiken headed to Seton Hall, Towns joined No. 23 Ohio State and Bruner opted to finish his career in Alabama.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and have a potential season,” Aiken said during the Big East media event before the Ivy League officially pulled the plug on its 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ivy League trio reflects how the pandemic didn’t stop the flurry of transfers that take place during every college basketball offseason.
Each of the two former Harvard players is trying to bounce back from an injury.
Towns was the 2017-18 Ivy League player of the year, but the 6-foot-8 forward has missed each of the last two seasons due to knee injuries and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of this season. He has two more seasons of eligibility.
Aiken averaged 22.2 points as the Ivy League’s top scorer in 2018-19 but played only seven games before a foot injury knocked him out for the remainder of last season. Aiken also is dealing with a knee issue, but the 6-foot guard says he should be ready for the start of the season and that he looks forward to testing himself against Big East competition.
“The speed of the game and temp of the game will be different from what I’m accustomed to in the Ivy League, but as I get my feet wet and get a couple of games under me, I should be more than good,” Aiken said.
Bruner led the Ivy League with 9.2 rebounds per game for Yale last season. He also averaged 10.9 points as a first-team all-Ivy selection. Bruner said a conversation with Alabama coach Nate Oats helped draw him to Tuscaloosa.
“He did his research,” the 6-10 forward said. “He had seen a lot of film of me, how I play, had watched a lot of my games. A lot of the coaches who called me didn’t have as much of a good feel of things that I could do, how I could fit in their system, it was kind of vague.”
The former Ivy League stars aren’t the only notable transfers playing for new teams this season. Here’s a list of other transfers expected to make an impact:
ARIZONA G JAMES AKINJO (Georgetown) and TERRELL BROWN (Seattle)
Akinjo was the Big East freshman of the year two seasons ago as he averaged 13.4 points and 5.2 assists for Georgetown. He played just seven games last season before deciding to transfer. An NCAA waiver enables him to play for Arizona this season.
Brown is a graduate transfer who earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors and averaged 20.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists for Seattle last season. Arizona also has Nevada transfer Jordan Brown, who sat out last season after averaging 3 points and 2.1 rebounds at Nevada in 2018-19.
BYU C MATT HAARMS (Purdue)
This 7-foot-3 graduate transfer comes to BYU after averaging 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks over 102 games at Purdue. He ranks fourth in Purdue history in career blocks (210) and sixth in career field-goal percentage (.582). Haarms averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game last season. He helped Purdue reach a regional final in 2019 and averaged 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in four NCAA Tournament games that year.
LOUISVILLE G CARLIK JONES (Radford)
This 6-1 graduate transfer helped Radford win a Big South regular-season title each of the last two years. Jones was named the Big South player of the year and had 20 points, 5.5 assists, 5.1 rebound and 1.4 steals per game last season. He was the only Division I player to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
MEMPHIS G/F LANDERS NOLLEY (Virginia Tech)
Nolley, a 6-7 sophomore, received an NCAA waiver enabling him to play for Memphis this year. He averaged 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a freshman for Virginia Tech last season. He was the first freshman to lead Virginia Tech in scoring since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004-05.
KENTUCKY F OLIVIER SARR (Wake Forest)
Sarr, who had considered turning pro at one point, decided to leave Wake Forest after the Demon Deacons fired coach Danny Manning. The NCAA granted him a waiver to play for Kentucky this season. The 7-foot senior averaged 13.7 points and 9 rebounds last season and was a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week.
MISSISSIPPI F DIMENCIO VAUGHN (Rider) and ROMELLO WHITE (Arizona State)
Both Vaughn and White can play immediately for Ole Miss as graduate transfers. White, who is 6-8, averaged 10.2 points and ranked second in the Pac-12 with 8.8 rebounds per game last season. Vaughn, who is 6-5, averaged 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds at Rider last season as a first-team all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection.
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