The UND men’s basketball program has been bit by the NCAA graduate transfer rule once again.
Two-time all-Big Sky Conference guard Geno Crandall plans to graduate transfer, the school confirmed Monday.
“I would have enjoyed seeing Geno finish out his eligibility as a Fighting Hawk and continue to grow with him as a young man, player and teammate, but players choosing to pursue graduate transfer options is the reality of today’s college basketball,” UND coach Brian Jones said. “The only thing we can control is investing in our athletes while they are within our program and I know we’ve done that on many levels with Geno. We wish him nothing but the best in this new journey.”
Crandall was granted his release from UND last Wednesday. A handful of basketball programs have been in contact with Crandall.
Crandall hasn’t announced his destination, although he recently followed members of the Xavier coaching staff on Twitter. Some of those accounts also follow Crandall.
Also, it’s believed Gonzaga, Minnesota, Colorado State and New Mexico State are programs that may be on Crandall’s radar.
One of Crandall’s better performances of the 2017-18 season came at Gonzaga, where he scored 28 points, grabbed five rebounds and hit a dramatic last-second 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime. The heavily favored Zags went on to an 89-83 win.
Crandall said transferring from UND is difficult but is a necessary move in the progression of his basketball career.
Crandall said he began considering a transfer during the final two months of the school year.
“I loved my four years at UND,” said Crandall. “It helped shape me what I am today. Four years is a long time. People grow and mindsets change.
“During the course of the past year, things shifted a little bit where I really wasn’t on the same page with some things, some important things.”
Also, the chance to play on a bigger stage was a factor in his decision.
“Schools with Final Four aspirations have contacted me and that’s intriguing,” he said.
Crandall, a Minneapolis native who went to DeLaSalle High School, led UND with 16.6 points per game and had a Big Sky-best 67 steals.
Crandall, who’s 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, is the program's 14th all-time leading scorer, seventh all-time in assists and fourth all-time in steals.
Last year, UND posts Drick Bernstine and Carson Shanks elected to graduate transfer after the Fighting Hawks’ NCAA Tournament appearance the year before.
Bernstine went to Washington State and Shanks to Loyola Chicago, which advanced to the Final Four.
UND also received a graduate transfer in Iowa’s Dale Jones, who was UND’s second leading scorer with 11.8 points per game.
Crandall said he hopes to decide where he’ll play next season around the Fourth of July.
“This was the right move for me,” he said.
Sports editor Wayne Nelson contributed to this story.