A little more than two weeks after entering the NCAA transfer portal, Elijah Hardy is leaving Washington and transferring to Portland State.
“I’m just excited about the opportunity to have a fresh start,” Hardy said during a telephone interview. “These last two years at Washington have taught me a lot, and I learned so much from the staff and I appreciate them for all that they’ve done for me.
“Now I’m taking all that good energy into this next journey, and it’s going to be good for me. Like I said, I’m just excited about deciding on a school, but now that part is over and I can get to work.”
Hardy, a 6-foot-2 sophomore point guard who starred at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High, picked Portland State from a list of finalists that included Long Beach State and Pacific.
“I didn’t necessarily want or need to go home (to California), and I really appreciate all the schools that reached out to me,” he said. “I’m a little bit older than the last time I did this out of high school, so I kind of know what to expect and what to look for.
“It was all about the fit and getting a chance. And I found that at Portland State.”
The Vikings were hit hard in the offseason with a mass exodus that included six seniors as well as leading scorer Holland Woods, a junior point guard who transferred to Arizona State.
Portland State lost five starters and its top seven scorers from a team that finished fourth in the Big Sky with a 12-8 record and 18-14 overall.
Freshman guard Kyle Greeley (5.2 points) is the leading returning scorer for PSU, which has just nine players on scholarship.
Theoretically, Hardy would replace Woods who led the Vikings in points per game (17.7), assists (5.2), steals (2.1) and minutes (34.1).
During his tenure at Washington, Hardy was a defensive specialist off the bench who thrived pressuring opposing guards. However, he struggled offensively, which made it difficult to command more than backup minutes. As a freshman, Hardy played in 11 games while receiving mostly mop-up duties at the end of blowouts.
Hardy was expected to play more when Quade Green became academically ineligible and missed the final 17 games last season. However, Hardy made just one start while averaging just 1.9 points, 1.1 assists, 1.1 rebounds and 1.2 turnovers in 11.0 minutes while appearing in 29 games.
Under current NCAA rules, Hardy would have to sit out next season and would have two years of eligibility remaining. However, there’s a chance he could play right away if the NCAA approves a waiver allowing first-time transfers to play immediately. The NCAA Division I Council is expected to discuss the transfer waiver on April 24 before voting on May 20.