Former Kansas State guard Nijel Pack, the top available transfer in the portal, has committed to Miami, he told ESPN.
Pack chose the Hurricanes over Ohio State and Purdue, all of which he visited in recent weeks.
“The way Coach L [Jim Larranaga] allows his players to play with freedom and get up and down the floor with an NBA-style offense, I feel like I can thrive in his program, ” Pack said. “Miami felt like home for me and my family, and I look forward to building off last year’s Elite Eight run.”
A 6-foot point guard from Indianapolis, Pack was the top transfer remaining in the portal, according to ESPN’s transfer rankings.
Pack left Kansas State a couple of weeks after Bruce Weber stepped down as the Wildcats’ head coach and was replaced by longtime Baylor assistant Jerome Tang.
“For me the biggest factor in deciding on a school was the ability to play on the ball and show NBA teams I am a true point guard,” Pack said. “I wanted to get an opportunity where I am playing my natural position the majority of the time.”
He led Kansas State in scoring last season, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists, while shooting 43.6% from 3-point range. He scored 30-plus points on three occasions, including a 35-point effort against Kansas in January.
Pack earned All-Big 12 honors and was named Most Improved Player in the league after leading the league in 3-point percentage and 3-pointers per game.
His ability to pull up off the dribble almost immediately upon crossing half-court with a lightning-quick release made him one of the most difficult players to guard in the Big 12. He’s also a daunting force coming off screens.
“Nijel is a tremendous addition to our team,” Larranaga said. “He is truly one of the finest players in the country, as well as an excellent young man with an elite work ethic who loves basketball. Nijel is not only a high-level scorer with elite shooting abilities but also a superb playmaker and defender. We’re thrilled to welcome Nijel and his family into the Miami basketball program.”
Miami is coming off its best season in program history, winning 26 games and making the Elite Eight as a 10-seed with wins over USC, Auburn and Iowa State. The team played a unique style with five shooters on the floor for long stretches and no true big man, which proved a difficult matchup for opponents all season. The Hurricanes’ top scorer, Kam McGusty, and starting point guard, Charlie Moore, are both out of college eligibility, and second-leading scorer Isaiah Wong is testing the NBA draft waters, providing significant opportunity for Pack to step into.
Larranaga has had considerable success with smaller point guards in Pack’s mold, helping 5-11 Shane Larkin become the No. 18 pick in the NBA draft, seeing 5-11 Angel Rodriguez become an All-ACC player after also transferring from Kansas State and taking the program to new heights under Moore, who also stands 5-11. Pack says he’s hoping to become the next in a line of undersized guards to have success in South Florida.
“Charlie Moore and Shane Larkin are great examples of what Coach L has been able to achieve with guards like myself,” he said.
Pack entered his name in the 2022 NBA draft and says he will continue to explore his NBA options while maintaining his college eligibility.