Former Kansas State guard Nijel Pack, the best transfer available on the portal, has committed to Miami, he told ESPN.
Pack chose the Hurricanes over Ohio State and Purdue, all of which he has visited in recent weeks.
“The way Coach L [Jim Larranaga] allows his players to play with freedom and run up and down the floor with an NBA-style offense, I feel like I can thrive in his program,” Pack said. “Miami felt like home. for me and my family, and I’m looking forward to building on last year’s Elite Eight race.”
A 6-foot point guard from Indianapolis, Pack was the best transfer left in the portal, according to ESPN’s transfer rankings.
Pack left Kansas State a few weeks after Bruce Weber quit as Wildcats head coach and was replaced by longtime Baylor assistant Jerome Tang.
“For me, the most important factor in choosing a school was the ability to play with the ball and show NBA teams that I’m a real leader,” Pack said. “I wanted to have an opportunity where I play my natural position most of the time.”
He led Kansas State in scoring last season, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists, while shooting 43.6 percent from 3-point range. He scored 30-plus points on three occasions, including a 35-point effort against Kansas in January.
Pack earned All-Big 12 honors and was named the league’s Most Improved Player after leading the league in 3-point and 3-point percentage per game.
His ability to pull off the dribble almost immediately after crossing half court with a lightning-fast release has made him one of the toughest players to guard in the Big 12. He’s also an intimidating force coming off the screens. .
“Nijel is a great addition to our squad,” Larranaga said. “He is truly one of the best players in the country, as well as an excellent young man with an elite work ethic who loves basketball. Nijel is not just a top scorer with shooting abilities. sniper, but also a superb point guard and defenseman. We are thrilled to welcome Nijel and his family to the Miami basketball program.”
Miami is coming off its best season in program history, winning 26 games and making the Elite Eight a 10 seed with wins over USC, Auburn and Iowa State. The team played a unique style with five takers on the ground for long stretches and no real big men, which proved to be a tough game for opponents all season. Hurricanes leading scorer Kam McGusty and starting point guard Charlie Moore aren’t eligible for college, and second-leading scorer Isaiah Wong is testing the waters of the NBA Draft, providing a significant opportunity for Pack d ‘walk in.
Larranaga had considerable success with smaller point guards in the Pack mould, helping 5-11 Shane Larkin become the No. 18 pick in the NBA Draft, seeing 5-11 Angel Rodriguez become an All-ACC player after also transferred from Kansas State and take the program to new heights under Moore, who is also 5-11. Pack says he hopes to become the next in a line of undersized guards to find success in South Florida.
“Charlie Moore and Shane Larkin are great examples of what Coach L was able to accomplish with guards like me,” he said.
Pack has put his name in the 2022 NBA Draft and says he will continue to explore his NBA options while maintaining college eligibility.