Husky big man Jackson Grant announced this morning that he is entering the transfer portal. He will have 3 years to play 2 at his next stop.
Thank you UW Officially in the Transfer Portal pic.twitter.com/sLFkMUCJx4— Jackson Grant (@jpgrant12) March 15, 2023
Grant entered the Washington program as a top-100 recruit and seemed to be a stretch 5 option in Mike Hopkins’ defensive zone scheme after showing off good outside touch at Olympia High. Expectations increased after Grant was named to the McDonald’s All-American team despite being ranked well below a normal participant. It was clear almost immediately though in Jackson’s true freshman season that he wasn’t ready for D1 competition. That was exacerbated by Grant reportedly experiencing a particularly bad bout with Covid that caused him to lose a significant amount of weight. Washington still had Grant appear in 25 games due to a lack of options at the center position but he only averaged 6.5 minutes per game and shot 37.5% from the field.
It was somewhat of a surprise this fall when it was announced that Grant was redshirting to work on building up his body but seemed like it might be a good long-term move. That plan flew out the window though when Franck Kepnang tore his ACL. Grant instead entered the rotation briefly but it once again became clear that the Huskies struggled mightily with him in the game and there was a reason the plan was to redshirt.
Ultimately, Grant appeared in 14 games this year and shot just 13.3% from the field and 37.5% from the free throw line. He finishes his Husky career having gone 0/10 from the 3-point line. His rebounding rates particularly on offense were solid for a 6’10 center but after 2 seasons it became clear a monumental leap would be needed for Grant to contribute meaningfully for a Pac-12 team.
It is not a surprise that the two players who have entered the transfer portal so far are Langston Wilson and Jackson Grant. Both were tried out at times as the backup center following Kepnang’s injury but it seems the coaching staff played them in couple game bursts as neither took hold of the position and often just forewent having a backup center. That inconsistent playing time seemingly at random is one of the blaring warning signs that a player is going to want to transfer at season’s end to at the very least have a more defined role even if it isn’t the role they originally wanted. With Grant’s portal the Huskies now have one scholarship opening but there is likely more attrition to come.
Grant’s commitment to Washington came early in his high school career and set the stage for the Huskies to try to put together a good recruiting class around him. He grew up a Dawg fan and it would’ve been tremendous for him to succeed for his favorite hometown school. Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be and it is likely for the best that Grant finds somewhere else he can develop without the pressure he has faced trying to live up to expectations.
Thank you Jackson and here’s to hoping that you’re able to thrive in your next basketball home.
EDIT 8:00 pm
In addition to Grant’s entry, it was reported by 247’s Travis Branham that Husky guard P.J Fuller is expected to enter the transfer portal as well. He averaged 6.2 points and 2.5 assists this past season and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
The 6’4 Fuller is a Seattle native who was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and ultimately opted to play for TCU due to a family connection with one of the assistant coaches. He immediately was a part of the rotation but struggled to make shots at an efficient clip and also turned over the ball too often. In his sophomore season he averaged 5.8 points and 1.5 assists per game but opted to enter the transfer portal and came back home to play at Washington.
Last season he came off the bench behind fellow Seattlite transfer guards Terrell Brown Jr. and Daejon Davis but ended up starting at the end of the year following injuries to Davis. Fuller averaged a career high 7.4 points per game on a best of 32.4% 3-pt shooting. This season he began the year as the starting SG alongside Noah Williams but Williams was injured in the season opener and Fuller played a substantial amount of point guard. That was not to the benefit of the team or Fuller who set a career high in assists but continued his streak of committing more turnovers than assists in every season of his career.
Fuller’s playing time decreased once Williams returned but the combination of more turnover problems and the emergence of Koren Johnson saw Fuller’s role off the bench diminish further. He ultimately did not play in 5 of the team’s final 6 games with what was deemed a player decision by the coaching staff. Fuller didn’t walk at senior day but the conclusion of the year should’ve given most an indication that he was a likely portal entrant.
With Fuller’s entry that now makes 3 Husky players who are departing the team through the portal joining bigs Langston Wilson and Jackson Grant. The Huskies as it currently stands now have 2 scholarship openings combined with the graduation of Jamal Bey and the signings of Wesley Yates and Christian King. Washington appears likely to enter next season with the combination of Keyon Menifield, Koren Johnson, and a (hopefully healthy) Noah Williams at guard plus the incoming Wesley Yates which meant it was unlikely that Fuller would be able to reclaim playing time.
It always seemed that Fuller was best suited as a defensive-focused off ball player who wasn’t relied upon to initiate the offense and could instead finish in transition or in catch and shoot situations. Per Synergy Sports he ranked in the 12th percentile nationally this season when running the pick and roll. He was forced into situations with Washington that didn’t play to his strengths and that kept him from being as useful a piece as he could’ve been despite his offensive limitations.
Thank you P.J for coming back and representing your home city and best of luck wherever you wind up for your final season of eligibility.