Former Gophers point guard Isaiah Washington will transfer to Iona College for next season, the Star Tribune confirmed Wednesday night.
Washington, a former four-star recruit, announced he was leaving Minnesota’s program last month after he struggled to find playing time during his sophomore season.
His scoring dropped from 8.7 points as a freshman to 4.3 this year, but he also averaged career-best 2.8 assists in 16.1 minutes per game.
The former New York prep player of the year and co-founder of the “Jelly Fam” brand arrived in Minnesota from St. Raymond’s High School in the Bronx with high expectations in 2017. After having a tough time in the Big Ten living up his social media stardom and hype, he’ll be playing closer to home in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein first reported Washington’s transfer Wednesday night to play for the Iona Gaels. Washington later followed with a tweet: “Go gaels…jelly home.”
Go gaels �� jelly home— isaiah Washington (@Jellyfam_Dimes) May 16, 2019
In early April, Washington thanked the University of Minnesota for its support in a statement on Twitter that also mentioned why he was transferring:
“You guys were tremendous on and off the court and made me a better man each day,” he tweeted. “However, this season took a toll on me mentally. I started to lose the love of basketball and my grandparents health issues added more to it. I’ve took the time to sit with a therapist to help me out. After talks with family, it’s best that I find a new home. With that being said, I will not be returning to the University of Minnesota next season. I love you all, you will always have a place in my heart.”
In his last game with the Gophers, Washington scored nine points in 24 minutes in the NCAA tournament second-round loss to Michigan State. He saw the court for the first time in five games when he came off the bench in the Big Ten tournament semifinal loss vs. Michigan.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino decided to use 6-foot-8 Amir Coffey as his starting point guard last season. The emergence of guard Gabe Kalscheur’s also kept Washington from seeing the court.
“In today’s landscape of basketball, I want to say over 500 people are transferring,” Pitino told the Star Tribune last month. “Certainly, when a kid transfers as a basketball coach you feel like there’s a little bit of disappointment all around that we couldn’t make this work. There are so many variables that go into it. The most important thing for Isaiah is he finds the right spot. He’s got two more years of eligibility. He has to pick the right situation for him.”
Pitino will likely have Pittsburgh transfer Marcus Carr start at point guard next season after he sat out 2018-19. Washington’s departure also gives the Gophers a fourth scholarship, which they could use on three-star New Hampton School (N.H.) point guard Mika Adams-Woods, who made an official visit to Minnesota this week.