Elijah Harkless enters NCAA transfer portal

Oklahoma basketball transfer Elijah Harkless picks UNLV as new destination

Oklahoma transfer Elijah Harkless announced his new destination Monday, tweeting that he would be attending UNLV. Harkless averaged 10.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season, though he was best known in Norman for his defensive prowess.

“First, I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to play the game that I love. Thank you to the coaches that I’ve had along the way that have given me opportunities and made me better on and off the court. Thank you to my family, my teammates, and sooner nation for all of the support. Lastly, thank you to the coaches who reached out to me during this process. With that being said, I will be attending …,” Harkless tweeted, along with a graphic and a picture of himself in a UNLV jersey.

Harkless started his college career at Cal State Northridge before transferring to Oklahoma after his second season with the Matadors. He arrived at Oklahoma to play for Hall of Fame coach Lon Kruger and averaged 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, staring 17 of 23 contests.

He also built a reputation as a defensive stopper, one that he enhanced in his lone season under Porter Moser, who replaced Kruger after the latter coach retired. Harkless played in 26 games, starting 23, before suffering a season-ending injury, and his 10 points per game marked the second-best scoring season of his career, only slightly behind the 10.7 points per game he scored in his final season with Cal State Northridge.

Harkless will now play for Kruger’s son, Kevin Krugerwho is the head coach at UNLV.

While Kevin Kruger spent part of his coaching career under his father in Norman, he had already moved on to UNLV and was a Runnin’ Rebels assistant coach when Harkless attended Oklahoma; there was no overlap between the two.

The NCAA introduced the transfer portal on Oct. 15, 2018, providing athletes a path to explore their options. Players do not need to ask permission from their coaching staff in order to transfer. They merely need to request that compliance enter their name. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours for a player to appear following their request. Schools are free to contact a player without restriction once their name appears in the portal.

While a player entering their name in the transfer portal means they intend to explore their options, it does not necessarily mean they will leave. A player is free to withdraw his name at any time. However, schools are under no obligation to keep a player on scholarship once they enter the portal.

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That increase can at least partially be credited to the NCAA’s new policy that student-athletes are allowed to transfer once in their careers without having to sit out a year-in-residence. That means all players who enter the transfer portal for the first time will be immediately eligible at their new school as long as they meet an NCAA-mandated entry deadline.

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