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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Utah Valley transfer Fardaws Aimaq picks Texas Tech over Gonzaga, three others

UPDATED: Fri., April 29, 2022

Any suspense surrounding Utah Valley transfer Fardaws Aimaq’s college decision was long gone by the time of his official announcement Friday, at least from Gonzaga’s perspective.

Aimaq had the Zags in his top five when he narrowed his list two weeks ago, but the talented center told 247 High School Hoops on Thursday afternoon he was down to Washington, Texas Tech and Texas.

Therefore, Gonzaga fans likely didn’t bother to tune in when Aimaq announced his commitment to Texas Tech – if he doesn’t remain in the NBA draft – on a Field of 68 podcast Friday morning. Aimaq said he’s “50-50” on whether he’ll stay in the draft or join the Red Raiders next season.

The Zags were among dozens of programs interested in the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Aimaq. Gonzaga’s roster is in flux after all five starters from last season declared for the NBA draft, including forward Drew Timme, a two-time second-team Associated Press All-American, and Chet Holmgren, a 7-foot freshman forward projected as a top-three selection in most mock drafts.

Timme, wing Julian Strawther and guard Rasir Bolton declared for the draft while retaining the option of returning to Gonzaga next season. Holmgren and guard Andrew Nembhard are moving on to the professional ranks.

Timme’s decision obviously looms large for Gonzaga’s frontcourt next season. Bigs on GU’s roster include rising senior Anton Watson, promising youngsters Ben Gregg and Kaden Perry and incoming freshman Braden Huff.

Watson has averaged 17.8 minutes, 6.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 79 career games, including 22 starts. Gregg has played in 35 games, including 18 in 2021 when he graduated early from high school and joined the Zags in late December. Perry was limited to eight games last season due to lingering back issues.

The 6-11 Huff averaged roughly 17 points, six rebounds and three assists while helping Glenbard West High win an Illinois 4A state championship. He was recently named the state’s Mr. Basketball.

The Zags continue to monitor the transfer portal and have been linked to numerous highly rated forwards and guards.

Aimaq, who began his career at Mercer, had 27 double-doubles and led Utah Valley in scoring (18.9 points) and rebounding (13.6) last season while earning first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors. He was the 2021 WAC Player of the Year.

“For me, (name, image and likeness) obviously played a part, but it wasn’t the sole thing,” Aimaq said. “Once I figured out, ‘OK, this is how much I could potentially make,’ I solely made my decision from a basketball point of view. I looked at fit, playing style and rotation of guys I’m playing with and made my decision from there.”

Aimaq was No. 21 in ESPN’s transfer rankings. He was No. 11 when he trimmed his list to five schools in mid-April.

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