Iowa men's basketball's Ahron Ulis, Josh Ogundele to enter NCAA transfer portal

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

The first dominoes fell Wednesday in what will likely be a busy offseason for Iowa men's basketball.

Junior guard Ahron Ulis and junior center Josh Ogundele announced their decision to transfer.

Ulis started 27 of 32 games, averaging 22 minutes per game. He scored 6.1 points per contest and ranked third on the team with 67 assists. Ulis had a season-high 17 points in a loss at Michigan State on Jan. 26. His departure could open up an opportunity for Dasonte Bowen, a freshman from Boston who played sparingly last season but showed glimpses of potential.

“I want to thank the Iowa coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play college basketball at this level and become a Big Ten champion,” Ulis said in a statement released by the university. “I also would like to thank my teammates and fans for embracing and supporting me over the past three years. I have built lifelong relationships and brotherhoods during my time as a Hawkeye. With that being said, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal and begin my next journey as a student-athlete.”

This is Ogundele's second time entering the NCAA transfer portal. He entered last March before deciding to return to the team in April. Ogundele played little over his three-year Iowa career, finishing with 38 games played and zero starts. He was an early candidate to receive more playing time last season but suffered a knee injury in December that kept him sidelined for more than a month. He finished averaging 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game and about 6 minutes per contest. His biggest moment of the season came in Iowa's Big Ten Tournament championship game win over Purdue when Ogundele scored four points while playing 10 minutes when starting center Filip Rebraca was in foul trouble. 

“Being a part of three NCAA Tournament teams and winning a Big Ten championship with my teammates is something that I am extremely thankful for and will forever cherish,” Ogundele said. “Thank you to my teammates, coaching staff and fans for embracing me over the past three years. At this time, I believe it is in my best interest to enter the transfer portal as I continue to chase my dreams.”

Iowa is expected to aggressively target forward/center depth in the transfer portal this off-season. Starting front court players Rebraca and Connor McCaffery are graduating and junior Kris Murray is expected to enter the 2023 NBA Draft. All three players received All-Big Ten honors this season. Remaining on the roster are rising senior Patrick McCaffery, seldom-used center Riley Mulvey, a junior and incoming freshmen Ladji Dembele and Owen Freeman.

“We are all appreciative of Ahron and Josh’s contributions to our program the past three years,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “Both were good teammates on three NCAA Tournament teams and helped us win a Big Ten championship. Both Ahron and Josh have bright futures. My staff and I will assist both players during this transition.”