Virginia Tech's season came to an end on Friday with a tough 81-73 loss to Texas in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. With the loss, the focus of many immediately shifted to whether Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts would return for what would be their sixth years in college or if not, how would Tech look to replace losing their two frontcourt stars.
Well if Aluma especially and Mutts end up moving on, the Hokies already have identified a top transfer portal target.
Utah Valley star big man Fardaws Aimaq, a two-time All-WAC First Teamer and 2020-21 WAC Player of the Year, told us that he has received interest from Virginia Tech after just entering the transfer portal today. Aimaq has two years of eligibility remaining having spent one year at Mercer before transferring to Utah Valley and spending three years there with a redshirt, a COVID free year, and then this past season.
Aimaq told us that he specifically heard from VT assistant Christian Webster with that being a "good" conversation which went well with Aimaq calling Webster a "good man." Their conversation focused on Webster sharing how Tech felt Aimaq would fit in Blacksburg with Aimaq adding this on his thoughts on whether he feels he would fit at Virginia Tech or not.
"I think I could! I have to look more into it for sure," Aimaq said.
Virginia Tech is far from the only school that Aimaq is receiving interest from with this being the comprehensive list that Aimaq told us he is receiving interest from, confirming this tweet from NPH Scouting along with additional schools not listed there.
- ACC: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami
- Big 12: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia
- Big East: Marquette
- Pac-12: Washington State
- SEC: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
- WCC: Gonzaga
That's an impressive list which shouldn't come as a surprise after the 6'11'' Aimaq averaged 18.9 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 34.4 minutes per game this season after averaging 13.9 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game last season. Aimaq shot a solid 49.6% from the field including 43.5% from three-point range plus 72.3% from the free-throw line on an average of over 6 free-throw attempts per game this past season.
The jump from the mid-major ranks to the major conference level sees many players suffer a production drop-off but Aimaq has proven to be one of the most dominant mid-major bigs who should be able to be a big time rebounder and solid offensive player at the highest levels. If Aimaq can be at least that if Tech loses Aluma and/or Mutts, he would fit in quite well for the Hokies to pair with Tech's strong three-point shooting.
Of course, Aimaq has shown the talent to potentially be an exception to the mid-major to power conference jump rule especially after having 27 double-doubles this past season, the type of consistency that is impressive at any level.
Aimaq is also from Vancouver, Canada and could become the next Canadian to star for the Hokies following the footsteps of Nickeil Alexander-Walker who had two strong seasons for Virginia Tech before leaving early to be drafted in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Keep an eye on Fardaws Aimaq as the Hokies explore their options with the likely possibility that Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts choose to forego the extra year they only received due to the free COVID year to pursue professional opportunities.