Utah Valley transfer Fardaws Aimaq has quickly become one of the hottest names in the transfer portal. Looking at his numbers, it’s not hard to find out why.
The two-time WAC defensive player of the year is a history maker. Last season, he became the first player in 40 years to average 15 or more rebounds per game. Think of the names that have passed through college hoops since 1981. Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, and many more. Aimaq did something that they couldn’t.
He hasn’t always been like this and thrives on getting better every day.
“For myself, I think that every single part of my game can be improved,” Aimaq told The Portal Report, “I don’t think there’s one part of my game where I’m happy with, in terms that I’m 100% good with this.”
The improvement shows as Aimaq has been through the transfer portal once before. After averaging five points and a team-best 5.3 rebounds during his freshman year at Mercer, he entered. There was an impressive list of teams coming after him, but he chose Utah Valley where he could play under two-time NBA champion, Mark Madsen.
“He’s one of my favorite coaches of all time. He’s someone that I’ve loved playing for,” Aimaq said, “I’ve built a lot of close relationships being out here the last couple of years.”
With Madsen, he flourished. This past season, Aimaq averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. Both of those ranked in the top 45 of the country.
That play encouraged him to test the NBA Draft waters again. He is maintaining his college eligibility by not signing an agent and has set up four visits with some of the best programs in the country.
To begin, Aimaq is getting close to home with a visit to the University of Washington. The Huskies went 17-15 this season, going 11-9 in PAC 12 play. You would have to cross borders, but Vancouver is only two and a half hours away from Seattle.
“They have a great track record for guys at my position the last couple years. Just seeing how they used Isaiah Stewart and what he was able to do, playing for them. Obviously, they struggled this past year but with the guys that they’re bringing in and the pieces that they could be able to surround around me, I think it could be a game-changer. Obviously, with a coaching staff that has multiple (former) NBA players and a couple of the best development guys in college basketball, it’s another intriguing thing,” Aimaq said.
He will also visit the University of Houston. Kelvin Sampson has been intrigued, to say the least, as his staff showed interest in Aimaq when he first entered the portal after his freshman year.
“Coach Sampson, he’s a stud. He knows how to coach; he knows how to win. I think with them as well, the opportunity there with player development and what they’ve shown they’ve done with transfers at my position. The big kid from UConn (Josh Carlton) had a great year, and now is going to be a pro. The track record, they’re obviously going to be a team that is going to be in the tournament every single year and make a run,” Aimaq said.
Also in Texas, he will visit the most efficient defensive team in the country, Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have become a hotbed for transfers, making the Elite 8 with a bevy of them this season.
“Mark Adams, his ability to really, really teach how to play defense and how to do it at the highest level possible is super intriguing to myself. I feel like it’s a place that if I do choose to go there, my defensive game can totally be improved and the success that they have had with transfers since he has been there has been through the roof. It’s obviously very appealing. That’s another team that’s going to win a lot of games. They were 18-0 at home this year. It just goes to show, that you can’t ever count them out. You know, they were not ranked too high in the preseason, and they still made a run in the tournament, had a great season. Obviously, with that staff as well, they have a lot of guys that can develop players and really, really help players reach that next level,” Aimaq said.
The only SEC school that he has scheduled a visit with is Arkansas.
In many “Way-Too-Early” preseason polls, the Razorbacks are ranked first in the country. This season, they finished 28-9 and lost to Duke in the Elite 8.
“That one speaks for itself. Eric Musselman, another great coach. A coach that has a proven track record of winning a lot of games, coached in the NBA. Just what he’s done with transfers since he’s been a coach is obviously very appealing. He was kinda doing the transfer portal thing before there was even a transfer portal. He’s obviously had a lot of success with what he did at Nevada and then what he did this past year was huge. With the guys that they have coming in, there’s an opportunity there in terms of the professional side. There’s going to be a lot of attention on them every single night, three-four guys that are going to be potential draft picks. Going to a place like that, you’re going to have eyes on you, GM’s, scout’s every single night. So, it would be a great opportunity to show my game at the highest level,” Aimaq said.
Aimaq has completed his redshirt junior year at Utah Valley and is open to scheduling more recruiting visits. As of now, he is also focused on Arizona, Gonzaga, Iowa, Kentucky, and Texas.