Multiple ACC programs look to land low-post force Jayden Gardner

Things move quickly in 2021 with college basketball. As soon as Jayden Gardner — following three superb seasons with East Carolina — entered the transfer portal, ACC schools came calling.

Gardner spoke with both NC State and Virginia over Zoom; he also has calls scheduled for later this week with Notre Dame, Pitt and Miami.

Of course, several programs outside the ACC — like Tennessee and Ole Miss — are also after Gardner.

During his three seasons with ECU, Gardner scored 1,462 points (18 points per game) and grabbed 705 rebounds (8.7 rebounds per game). Gardner averaged 18.3 points (47.9 FG%) and 8.3 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 season. This includes a monster outing in East Carolina’s upset of Houston: 21 points (6-of-13 2PA) and 15 rebounds.

(He’s also an incredibly high-usage player: 27.8 percent usage for his career.)

At 6-foot-7, Gardner is a rebounding machine. As a junior, he posted a defensive rebound rate of 21.5 percent, one of the top numbers in the country. According to Synergy Sports, Gardner shot 63.2 percent on put-back field goal attempts after an offensive rebound.

Gardner is also a magnet for contact. For his career at ECU, he averaged 8.6 free throw attempts per 40 minutes. During the 2020-21 season, Gardner drew 6.0 fouls per 40 minutes, according to KenPom, a top 50 number nationally.

A product of Wake Forest, NC, Gardner is a solid source of low-post offense. In each of the last two seasons, he’s scored better than 1.01 points per post-up possession, according to Synergy. Gardner shot a combined 52.4 percent on post-up attempts over his final two seasons with the Pirates.


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