The Buckeyes have already lost a 13-point scorer to the NBA in freshman Malaki Branham, and today they missed out on gaining a 17-point scorer in the form of 6-foot guard Nijel Pack.
Pack announced his transfer to Miami.
Pack is a transfer from Kansas State where last year as a sophomore he averaged 17.4 points per game while shooting 43.6% from three-point territory.
Pack entered the transfer portal at the end of March and took visits to Purdue, Miami (FL), and Ohio State before siding with the Hurricanes. He also had interest from Gonzaga, Duke, Arizona, Tennessee, and others.
The “miss” on Pack comes in the wake of the Buckeyes losing guards Meechie Johnson and Justin Ahrens to the transfer portal. Pack would have not only brought scoring to an Ohio State offense that is likely to need it, but he would have also been a vital ball-handler for a team that isn’t returning a point guard.
Pack has been more of a scorer than a distributor in his career, however. This past season he averaged 2.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds. He scored over 30 points three times as a sophomore, saving his best for the best opponents.
In a 78-75 loss to Kansas, Pack scored 36 points in 35 minutes, connecting on 12 of his 18 field goal attempts, including 4-of-6 from three. He also came away with a trio of steals against the Jayhawks.
A few weeks later in a loss to Baylor, Pack scored 31 of the Wildcats’ 60 points. He hit 6-of-10 from three-point range and again came away with three steals. He also scored 32 points in a loss to Iowa State where he made 11-of-15 field goal attempts and 5-of-6 from three.
Pack, who attended Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, scored in double figures in every game but one last season. That came in a 6-point outing in a win over Green Bay that saw Pack on the court for just 15 minutes.
As a true freshman, Pack averaged 12.7 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. He has shot over 40% from three in each of his two collegiate seasons.
Pack would have been the second transfer into Ohio State this spring, joining Wright State wing Tanner Holden, who scored 20.1 points per game last year and grabbed 7.1 rebounds per game. Holden has two years of eligibility remaining.
Malaki Branham has until June 1 to withdraw from the 2022 NBA Draft. The NBA Combine takes place in about a month and that performance will carry some weight in whether or not Branham heads back to school. At this point he would likely need a very poor performance for him to consider returning for a sophomore season.