Utah Valley transfer Aziz Bandaogo, ESPN’s No. 4 available player in the NCAA transfer portal, has committed to Cincinnati, he told ESPN on Saturday.
Bandaogo is considered one of the top defensive players returning to college basketball, providing head coach Wes Miller a huge boost as he guides the Bearcats into their first season in the Big 12.
Bandaogo, a 7-foot junior from Senegal, averaged 11.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks, ranking as the third best shot-blocker in college basketball. He was named WAC defensive player of the year and helped Utah Valley make the NIT Final Four, where it lost to UAB.
An alumnus of the NBA Academy Africa, Bandaogo made huge strides in his junior season, playing just 14 total minutes as a freshman and then posting 2.7 points in 12 minutes as a sophomore at Akron, before emerging as one of the best big men in mid-major basketball as a junior.
His coach at Utah Valley last season, Mark Madsen, departed for Cal this offseason after his team’s outstanding season, in which it went 28-9 (15-3 in conference).
Bandaogo’s size, mobility, rebounding and shot-blocking prowess should help him make an immediate impact in the Big 12 next season.
“I feel that Cincinnati is the best place to be for my overall well being. I look forward to spending time with the friends and mentors I have near Cincinnati and to building strong relationships with my new teammates and coaches,” he said. “I hope to be able to play during the upcoming season, and I will work with Cincinnati and the NCAA about the possibility.”
Bandaogo is the fourth transfer portal addition for Cincinnati this offseason, following Temple’s Jamille Reynolds, Kentucky’s CJ Fredrick and Butler’s Simas Lukosius. The Bearcats also secured two ESPN top-100 recruits in Jizzle James and Rayvon Griffith.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.