(Photo of Aidan Igiehon: Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports)
PHOENIX - Former Louisville men's basketball forward Aidan Igiehon, who entered the transfer portal the day after Selection Sunday, announced Friday evening that he has committed to Grand Canyon.
"To the city of Louisville, thank you for accepting some kid from Ireland with open arms," he wrote on Twitter. "You will Forever be in my heart."
The 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward/center saw action in just five games this past season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.2 minutes played during his sophomore campaign. He left Louisville having only competed in 18 total games.
"It's been a tough road for him," Mack said Monday. "I know he had massive expectations coming in. But he just, he wasn't ready for college basketball at any level when he first came in, through no fault of his own."
His two-year career at Louisville was plagued by constant injuries. This season, he battled an undisclosed illness, suffered a groin injury, and then came down with mono towards the end of the season. In his freshman year, he missed the final six games of the season due to a shoulder injury suffered in practice.
Nicknamed 'Irish Hulk', the Dublin, Ireland native struggled mightily to adjust to the college game. After averaging 23.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.8 blocked shots as a senior at Lawrence Woodmere (N.Y.), he averaged just 1.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and had just two blocks in his first year at Louisville.
“Aidan came in wholly unprepared for our level for all the things that go into being a college player," head coach Chris Mack said last April. "The sheer work ethic, the intensity of the workload, it was all something that was new to Aidan, as was the game of basketball."
Louisville opened up the 2020-21 season at 9-1, and were ranked as high as the No. 16 team in the nation. But due to COVID issues, injuries, and at times offensive inconsistencies, they went 4-6 in the second half of the season to finish at 13-7 and 8-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Cardinals have been deep into roster management mode since the end of the season. On top of losing Igiehon, Class of 2021 signees Bobby Pettiford and Eric Van Der Heijden were both released from their National Letter of Intent, and graduate transfer guard Charles Minlend confirmed he would not be returning for another year.
Fortunately, Louisville is still welcoming five newcomers next year. Wing Michael James and center Roosevelt Wheeler are signees from the high school ranks, point guard El Ellis is coming from JUCO, forward Matt Cross joins after playing his freshman year at Miami, as does point guard Jarrod West after a four-year career at Marshall. Senior forward/center Malik Williams also announced he would be returning for a final year.
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