BYU menÕs basketball at Utah 17

Brigham Young University guard Connor Harding (44) takes and makes a three-pointer while contested by University of Utah forward Mikael Jantunen (20) during a rivalry game between the BYU Cougars and the Utah Utes held Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Utah Valley University men’s basketball coach Mark Madsen has announced that BYU guard Connor Harding will transfer to Utah Valley and play for the Wolverines.

Harding entered the transfer portal after the Cougars lost to UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Connor Harding is a true impact player who can score the ball from all three levels,” said Madsen. “As a shooter, he is elite and has made huge shots in big games during his career. Not only can Connor knock down the outside shot, but he has a strong post-up game and can finish with either hand slashing to the basket. For me, I always want someone on the roster who can flat out shut someone down defensively. That person is Connor. He can guard multiple positions and watching film he can take an opponent’s best player completely out of a game. As I got to know Connor through the recruitment process, I appreciated his team first mentality and his priority on winning. I could not be more excited to welcome Connor and his wife Paisley to the Utah Valley community.”

The 6-foot-6, 185-pound guard has played the last three seasons at BYU where he averaged 5.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assister per game last year in helping the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament. Harding started 12 games and scored in double figures five times last season, including a career-high 17 points in a win over Utah.

Harding, from Pocatello, Idaho, prepped at Highland High School. As a senior at HHS, Harding averaged 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game as he led the team to the 5A state title with a 19-6 record. He was named the USA Today Idaho Player of the Year, Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year, and 5A Idaho Statesman Player of the Year. Harding was named a four-star recruit by ESPN and a three-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals. He ranked No. 27 nationally among shooting guards by ESPN.

Harding has two seasons of eligibility remaining. His wife, Paisley Harding, is an all-conference player for the BYU women’s team.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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