Former BYU forward Jamal Aytes will play his fifth year of college basketball as a graduate transfer at Southern Utah University, per a press release from SUU.
Aytes was plagued by multiple injuries during his BYU career and was never able to stay fully healthy and in the rotation for an entire season. He leaves BYU with career averages of 7.0 minutes per game and 2.5 points per game in 50 career contests in a Cougars uniform.
Southern Utah’s head coach Todd Simon was an assistant at UNLV in 2013-14 when Aytes briefly played for the Running Rebels, and that connection likely impacted his transfer destination.
His decision comes on the heels of 3-star recruit Je’Rell Springer committing to Southern Utah, when it was expected he would choose BYU.
If healthy, Aytes should have ample opportunity to play big minutes for Southern Utah in 2017-18, as the team went just 6-27 last season.
The Thunderbirds were a guard dominated team last season, with junior guards Randy Onwuasor and James McGee combining for for 37.8 points per game, almost half of the team’s total. Aytes could help the team become more well-balanced on offense with his demonstrated ability to score the basketball in limited minutes at BYU.
“Jamal is a big piece to our program next season. He brings a wealth of experience to our youthful roster. His size, strength, rebounding and ability to score in multiple areas will be a great asset.” - Todd Simon, Southern Utah Head Coach
Aytes was always a positive presence on BYU’s team for the past few years despite his frustrating injuries and lack of playing time, and deserves to end his career out on a positive note. While Southern Utah won’t be projected near the top of the Big Sky preseason polls, Aytes could help them improve their win total and possibly qualify for a postseason tournament such as the CBI or CIT.