BYU basketball guard Jahshire Hardnett has reportedly left the program following long-standing dissatisfaction with his role. Multiple sources close to the team confirmed the move to Vanquish The Foe.
Tensions seemed to boil over in the Cougars’ road game against conference rival Saint Mary’s on Saturday evening, when Hardnett could be seen vocally showing his displeasure toward the BYU coaching staff on the bench. A starter as recently as last week, he played only 5 minutes in the team’s lopsided loss. He did not show up to the team’s scheduled practice or film session on Monday.
As might be expected after the acrimony in Moraga, Hardnett’s exit did not take many close to the program by surprise. Sources confirmed that the Mississippi native had been unhappy for a long time and had planned to graduate from BYU in April before transferring to a school closer to home for his final year of eligibility. It seems that plan was short-circuited by the weekend’s events.
The timing of Hardnett’s decision could be strategic. Monday was the first day of classes in BYU’s winter semester. By withdrawing now, before the start of the term, he may be hoping to preserve his ability to transfer and join another Division I program midway through next season, without using the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. (Hardnett’s exact plans remained unclear at the time of publication.)
Hardnett had taken on a reduced role in the Cougars’ rotation following Nick Emery’s return from suspension in December, forced to share minutes on the guard line with a scion of one of the program’s most recognizable families. However, despite the decreased playing time, Hardnett remained a key part of the Cougar attack, providing a quick first step and ability to get to the basket off the dribble that was unique among his teammates. Most recently, he converted a string of clutch free throws to clinch BYU’s first road victory of the season over Pacific on Thursday.
Hardnett was averaging 10.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists prior to his departure.