Fardaws Aimaq commits to Texas Tech while still mulling NBA draft

Utah Valley transfer Fardaws Aimaq, the 2021 WAC Player of the Year, has committed to Texas Tech.

Aimaq, who has also entered his name into the NBA draft, chose the Red Raiders from a final five that also featured Washington, Iowa, Gonzaga and Texas.

"If I come back, I think they can transform me into a lottery pick," Aimaq told ESPN. "They can help me with the way they play defense, and they have one of the best strength coaches in the country, who will have my body NBA-ready by November."

Aimaq, a 6-foot-11 center from Canada, earned WAC Player of the Year honors in 2020-21 and won WAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21 and 2021-22. One of the top 15 available transfers in ESPN's transfer rankings, Aimaq averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds per game last season, ranking second nationally in the latter category.

In 2020-21, Aimaq led the country in rebounding at 15.0 per game while also averaging 13.9 points. He became the first player in 40 years to average 15 or more rebounds per game; Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe hit that threshold last season.

Although he is not listed in ESPN's NBA draft rankings, Aimaq said he was on the fence about whether to return to college or keep his name in the draft.

"It's 50-50," he said. "I think I have a chance to shock some people. I'm really going to showcase my shooting and show the work I've done on my body the last couple months and hopefully can have somebody take a chance."

In coach Mark Adams' first season at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders went 27-10 and advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to Duke. Six of their top seven scorers are expected to depart, but they have landed transfers De'Vion Harmon (Oregon), D'Maurian Williams (Gardner-Webb) and Jaylon Tyson (Texas). Aimaq would likely start immediately up front for Tech.

"I think I'll bring something they have not had," Aimaq said. "Versatility as a 7-footer, can shoot, dribble and pass and also help them on the defensive side of things. With the pieces they have coming in, I think they can really help me reach my full potential and we will be a top-five team."