The deadline for players to withdraw from the NBA Draft has come and gone, but the college basketball world churns on. A couple notable transfers and some interesting news surrounding some of college basketball’s most prominent coaches highlights this week’s news. Let’s check it out!
One of the Wildcats
Stanford forward Reid Travis not only decided to pull out of the draft, but he also decided to leave Stanford. Travis will seek a graduate transfer for next season after four years in Palo Alto, as he was given an extra year of eligibility after an injury cost him the final 22 games of his sophomore season. Travis was an All-Pac 12 performer each of the past two seasons.
He averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds this past season, potentially making him one of the most impactful grad transfers available this summer. Travis appears to have narrowed down his choice to Kentucky and Villanova. Both schools suffered significant losses because of early entries into the NBA, and so both sets of Wildcats figure to make a hard push to land Travis.
Last week, Auburn’s Mustapha Heron announced he was removing his name from the draft and leaving Auburn at the same time. Just a few days later, he announced he’s transferring to St. John’s. Heron, who hails from Connecticut, is hoping to receive a medical hardship waiver so he can be eligible to play right away after two years with the Tigers. Heron’s mom has medical complications as a result of a severe concussion, which is why Heron considered going to the NBA and then decided to transfer closer to home.
This would seem to be a no-brainer for the NCAA to give Heron a waiver. Of course, the NCAA doesn’t always practice common sense. Either way, Heron will be a huge addition to the Red Storm when he becomes eligible. He averaged 16.4 points per game this past season while shooting 33% from three-point range, down from 42% his freshman season. If he plays right away, he’ll join Shamorie Ponds in what could be the most dynamic backcourt in the Big East next season.
Found A Pearl
Speaking of Auburn, head coach Bruce Pearl has received a contract extension that will keep him with the Tigers through the 2022-23 season. Pearl was set to enter the fifth year of his six-year contract, so he needed an extension. A contract extension was also well-deserved after Pearl guided the Tigers to a share of the SEC regular-season title and the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. It was Auburn’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. The Tigers are also one of the early favorites in the SEC next season.
We’re Just Talking
One coach who may not be sticking around long term is Michigan’s, John Beilein. Fresh off an appearance in the national championship game, Beilein interviewed with the Detroit Pistons last week. He was reportedly in talks with Michigan about an extension earlier this spring, but nothing official has been reported. Beilein is said to have always had an interest in the NBA, so his connection to the Pistons isn’t a shock. Of course, the Pistons have other candidates to interview, so it’s far from a sure thing that Beilein will be offered the job and leave the Wolverines.
Iowa State sophomore forward Cameron Lard is not with his teammates on campus. The school announced Monday that he has enrolled at a wellness center. The decision likely relates to a drug paraphernalia charge against Lard in April. Those charges were dismissed but Lard did plead guilty to speeding after being stopped by police in February. The school expects him to rejoin the team after he completes the program, although there is no timeline for that. Lard was a standout player as a redshirt freshman this past season. He led the Big 12 in both field goal percentage and offensive rebounds. He was also top-5 in the league in both blocks and rebounds. The 6’9’’ forward is a big reason why Iowa State could be in a position to surprise some people after finishing 13-18 and last in the Big 12 last season.
My League Can Beat Your League
The matchups for next season’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge were announced late last week, and as you can imagine, there are some intriguing games on tap. It’s hard to pick one game that’s the pre-eminent matchup among Duke vs. Indiana, Louisville vs Michigan State, and North Carolina vs. Michigan. If that’s not enough, N.C. State vs Wisconsin, Virginia at Maryland, and Syracuse vs. Ohio State have been thrown in for good measure. The ACC dominated last year’s competition 11-3 and has won 12 times in 19 years, with five wins for the Big Ten and two ties.