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BYU Transfer Target Mike Saunders Jr. To Stay at Cincinnati

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

BYU pursued Cincinnati point guard transfer Mike Saunders Jr for a month, but Saunders announced on Friday that he would remain with the Bearcats.

Saunders was one of six Cincinnati players to enter the portal after the season ended. BYU immediately reached out to the Wasatch Academy graduate and was one of the top schools the whole way. Saunders was set to announce his commitment on April 15, but Cincinnati hired new coach Wes Miller on April 14. According to sources, Miller met with Saunders and his parents via Zoom Thursday night. That meeting went well enough to convince Saunders to return to UC for at least one more year.

Saunders was right at the top of BYU’s priority list, so now coaches will turn their focus elsewhere. BYU is in the final 5 for Utah guard Alfonso Plummer, but all signs point to him going to Illinois. Jordan Goldwire for Duke is another guy BYU has been in touch with, but Alex Barcello’s decision will likely factor into his choice.

Speaking of Barcello and Matt Haarms, BYU is still waiting on their decisions. The two seniors have been contemplating their decisions for weeks on whether or not they will return. Their announcements could come in the next week.

One target BYU will really pursue is Arizona transfer Kerr Kriisa. The Estonian native has Euroleague experience and was arguably the top international prospect last year. Kriisa told me last March that BYU was one of the top schools he was considering, and one source close to his recruitment said that BYU and Arizona were the final schools. Kriisa entered the portal yesterday and BYU will pursue the 6-foot-3 point guard. Kriisa wasn’t eligible until February and averaged just under six points per game. Kriisa is one of the top transfers on the market and would be a major addition for BYU. He will have a long list of suitors, so it’s still early to say if BYU is in the mix at this stage.