(Story by Griz Communications)
MISSOULA – Montana has added its third transfer of the offseason, with guard Jahshire Hardnett recently signing a scholarship agreement. Hardnett (6-0/185) is a graduate transfer from BYU who will have one year of immediate eligibility remaining.
Hardnett’s basketball life has taken him across the country, from Mississippi to Florida and back to Mississippi in high school, before bouncing from New York to Florida to Utah and now Montana during his collegiate career.
Montana, though, will be his final stop – one that he’s excited to experience.
“I’m really excited to get up to Montana and start my chapter up there,” Hardnett said. “It’s a winning program in a college town, and a place where I have the chance to contribute with the ball in my hands. After talking with Coach (Chris) Cobb it seemed like the best opportunity for me.”
Hardnett’s most-recent stop was at BYU, where he suited up two seasons for the Cougars and played a prominent role, starting 47 consecutive games at one point. During his two-year career for BYU, he averaged 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.8 steals, including 24 points in a game at Weber State. The year prior, he was named the Cougars’ top defensive player while helping BYU to 24 wins and an NIT berth.
Success has followed Hardnett wherever he has gone, beginning during his prep career in Mississippi, where he led Gulfport High School to a Class 6A state title game, sinking two free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the victory. It carried over to his first collegiate season, at Fordham University, and while he didn’t play for the Rams – using the season as a redshirt year – Fordham advanced to the CIT, giving Hardnett a taste of postseason basketball. A year later, at the JUCO level, he helped Chipola College to a 22-8 record, and then back at the Division-I ranks, guided BYU to the NIT, followed by a 19-win season this past spring.
The winning culture that Travis DeCuire [gogriz.com] and his staff have built is a major factor in Hardnett choosing Montana as his final destination.
“I watched Montana in the NCAA tournament the past few years, and playing in the NCAA tournament has been a dream of mine,” Hardnett said. “It’s something I want to experience before I finish college, so I felt like Montana was a good opportunity for me.”
Hardnett is a strong on-ball defender, as evidenced by his accolades on the BYU team. He’s an excellent shooter, as well, knocking down more than 80 percent of his free-throw shots at BYU. More than that, he has experience, giving Montana an opportunity to reload and continue its upward trajectory after graduating a large senior class.
“Looking around the country, you see schools who have maintained success year after year by staying a little bit older and more experienced,” DeCuire said. “Losing guys like Mike (Oguine) and Ahmaad (Rorie), I think this sets up a great opportunity for Jahshire to step in, as an experienced guard, who can try and make an immediate impact on the floor.”
Hardnett was first contacted by Cobb after his name was entered into the NCAA transfer portal. After Cobb took a visit to Hardnett in Provo, the rising senior made a return trip to Missoula, which sold him on his decision. He is finishing two classes at BYU in human development and family studies, where he will complete his degree this week, before moving up to Missoula later this month.
The Grizzlies now have seven additions to the 2019-20 roster. Joining Hardnett is fellow graduate transfer Jared Samuelson [gogriz.com] and three prep stars: Derrick Carter-Hollinger, Kyle Owens and Josh Vazquez [gogriz.com]. Additionally, Montana added San Jose State transfer Michael Steadman [gogriz.com], who will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, and Yagizhan Selcuk [gogriz.com], a forward from Towson who joined the program in January [gogriz.com] and will be eligible to play after the fall semester ends.
2017-19 (BYU): Spent two seasons at BYU, averaging 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.8 steals per game… Was named BYU’s Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017-18… Played in 55 games over the two seasons, starting 47 in a row… Scored in double figures 15 times, including 24 points on two occasions… One of those games was at Weber State, when he scored 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting… Led the Cougars for assists three times, rebounding twice and scoring once… Shot .814 from the free-throw line, sinking 96 of 118 attempts… As a sophomore in 2017-18, played in all 35 games, starting the Cougars’ final 32 contests… Started the first 15 games of his junior season (2018-19)… Finished the year playing in 20 contests, averaging 9.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
2016-17 (Chipola College): Spent his redshirt freshman season at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. … Earned All-Panhandle Conference first-team honors, also being named the Panhandle Conference Freshman of the Year… Averaged 13.0 points, 3.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game while shooting .560 from the field and .439 from three-point range… Posted season highs of 25 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and four steals… Helped the Indians to a 22-8 record.
2015-16 (Fordham): Redshirted during his first and only season at Fordham University, located in New York City.
High School: Is a 2015 graduate of Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Miss. … Named to the Sun Herald’s All-South Mississippi team and the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen team following his junior season… That year, he averaged 22.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game… Led Gulfport to a Mississippi 6A state championship, sinking two free throws with 9.3 seconds remaining – two of his game-high 30 points – to seal the Admirals’ victory… Head coach was Owen Miller… Played his senior season at Arlington Day School in Jacksonville, Fla., before transferring back to Gulfport in January 2015… Averaged 13 points and five rebounds per game.
Personal: Born Dec. 22, 1996 in Gulfport, Miss. … Hometown is Gulfport… Parents are Monique Phillips and Michael Hardnett… Has two older brothers, Duane Watson and Stephone Hardnett, and a younger sister, Amyjah Hardnett… Graduated from BYU with a degree in human development and family studies… Will work toward a master’s degree at Montana in international education.