The Huskies had an unsettled season at point guard and it continues to change as over the last 24 hours Elijah Hardy has entered the transfer portal and North Idaho College’s Nate Pryor committed to Washington.
Source: Washington sophomore Elijah Hardy has entered the transfer portal.— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) April 1, 2020
After speaking with Coach Hopkins I’m pleased to announce my commitment to the University of Washington Men’s Basketball Program. My heart is with my city and I’m staying home. Officially a dawg!— Nate Pryor ™️ (@pryor_nate5) March 31, 2020
The move by Hardy can’t be considered a surprise after a dreadful season on the offensive end where he shot just 15.2% from 3-pt range with an astronomically high 34.7% turnover rate. For context, that turnover rate was higher than either Sam Timmins or Hameir Wright except Hardy plays point guard. Hardy was known as a defensive pest and had a team high steal rate but seemed best utilized in a man-to-man defensive scheme rather than a zone.
The Huskies though were able to instantly replace Hardy with the re-commitment of Nate Pryor who played the last two seasons at North Idaho College where he averaged 18.0 points, 4.8 assists, and 2.3 turnovers per game on 53% FG and 30% 3pt shooting. Pryor’s 3pt numbers were markedly better in his sophomore season at 35% than during year one (23%). For some context for those numbers Braian Angola averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists for NIC a few years ago before transferring to Florida State where he scored 12.5 points per game as a senior for an Elite 8 team albeit as a wing.
The PG out of West Seattle initially committed to Washington almost 3 years ago on April 9, 2017 shortly after Mike Hopkins was hired as head coach. Pryor was pledged to head to Seattle U when Cameron Dollar was in charge there but was offered a scholarship to UW when Dollar joined the staff as an assistant. Pryor was unable to get academically eligible and eventually enrolled at North Idaho College. Throughout that time Pryor still listed himself as a University of Washington commitment on twitter despite uncertainty if/when that would come true.
On March 15th Pryor stated that he was finally decommitting from Washington which seemed to be a signal that the Huskies didn’t have room. With Quade Green, Elijah Hardy, and Marcus Tsohonis all coming back that certainly seemed to be the case. However with news of Hardy’s transfer the Dawgs needed further insurance at the guard spot and reached back out to let Pryor know there was now room and he jumped at the chance.
This is not a move without risk. Pryor failed to make the necessary grades in high school and a year of prep school still resulted in him heading to a JUCO. Considering that Quade Green is coming off a year with academic ineligibility issues this isn’t a great look for the program. Hopefully Pryor has seen the light as a student but it wouldn’t exactly be a shock if he still isn’t able to get enrolled come the fall. In the disaster scenario where neither Green nor Pryor are available next season then at least Erik Stevenson presents another option of a guard comfortable leading an offense even if he’s not a true point guard (provided he gets a waiver or the NCAA passes the proposal to change transfer rules).
With Sam Timmins’ graduation, Hardy’s transfer and this morning’s news that Isaiah Stewart is headed for the NBA it left the Huskies with 3 scholarship openings. 2 of those have now been filled by Erik Stevenson and Nate Pryor. There’s additional uncertainty with 3 other players on the roster however. The most likely scenario is that Jaden McDaniels leaves for the NBA, while Naz Carter and Quade Green return. If that’s the case then the Washington roster looks like this:
Guard- Quade Green (Jr), Marcus Tsohonis (So), Nate Pryor (Jr)
Wing- Nahziah Carter (Sr), Jamal Bey (Jr), Erik Stevenson (Jr), RaeQuan Battle (So)
Big- Hameir Wright (Sr), Nate Roberts (So), Bryan Penn-Johnson (So), J’Raan Brooks (So)
It’s unfortunate that things did not work out for Hardy at Washington but hopefully he winds up in a spot where he’s able to thrive. Best of luck Elijah, and welcome Nate!