Fardaws Aimaq commits to Texas Tech while reflecting on NBA draft

Transfer from Utah Valley Fardaws Aimaq, the 2021 WAC Player of the Year, has committed to Texas Tech.

Aimaq, who also entered his name in the NBA Draft, picked the Red Raiders from the bottom five which also included Washington, Iowa, Gonzaga and Texas.

“If I come back, I think they can turn me into a lottery pick,” Aimaq told ESPN. “They can help me with the way they play defense, and they have one of the best strength coaches in the country, who will have my body ready for the NBA by November.”

Aimaq, a 6-foot-11 Canadian center, earned WAC Player of the Year honors in 2020-21 and won WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020-21 and 2021-22. One of the top 15 transfers available in ESPN’s transfer rankings, Aimaq averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds per game last season, ranking second nationally in the latter category.

In 2020-21, Aimaq led the nation in rebounding at 15.0 per game while also averaging 13.9 points. He became the first player in 40 years to average 15 or more rebounds per game; Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe hit that threshold last season.

Although not listed in ESPN’s NBA draft rankings, Aimaq said he wasn’t sure whether he should go back to college or keep his name in the draft.

“It’s 50-50,” he said. “I think I have a chance to shock some people. I’m really going to show my shot and show the work I’ve done on my body for the past two months and hopefully someone can give it a shot.”

In coach Mark Adams’ first season at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders went 27-10 and advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to Duke. Six of their top seven scorers are expected to leave, but they landed transfers from De’Vion Harmon (Oregon), D’Maurian Williams (Gardner-Webb) and Jaylon Tyson (Texas). Aimaq would likely start immediately ahead of Tech.

“I think I’m going to bring something they haven’t had,” Aimaq said. “Versatility as a 7-footer, can shoot, dribble and pass and also help them on the defensive side of things. With the plays they have coming up, I think they can really help me reach my full potential. and we will be a top-five team.”

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