High School Sports

Gulfport’s Jahshire Hardnett is headed back to D-I

Jahshire Hardnett of Gulfport drives the baseline against Tre Dwellingham of St. Martin. Hardnett originally signed with Fordham but transferred to Chipola College last year. He recently signed with BYU.
Jahshire Hardnett of Gulfport drives the baseline against Tre Dwellingham of St. Martin. Hardnett originally signed with Fordham but transferred to Chipola College last year. He recently signed with BYU. ttisbell@sunherald.com file

Jahshire Hardnett’s basketball odyssey has taken him to Provo, Utah.

The former Gulfport Admiral signed with BYU on Tuesday, marking his fifth school in as many seasons.

Hardnett said he picked up the offer from BYU about two weeks ago and after visiting Provo over the weekend with his mom he decided to make it official and sign with the Cougars. He said Indiana University-Purdue Fort Wayne, Winthrop, Dayton and Akron were among his other suitors.

The Cougars have missed the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons, but Hardnett hopes he can help get BYU back into March Madness.

“They’re trying to build something and I’m a perfect for what they’re building,” Hardnett told the Sun Herald on Tuesday. “They play fast and want to play even faster. That’s where I come in at.”

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound speedster enters a mix at guard that includes at least five others, but he expects to compete for early playing time once on campus June 26.

“They didn't sugar coat anything and say I'd come in and automatically start,” Hardnett said. “But if I do what I have to, I'll be able to play.

“I'll make an impact as soon as possible.”

Fresh off leading the Admirals to a state championship during his junior year, Hardnett opted to transfer to Arlington Country Day School in Florida in search of big-time basketball offers before ultimately returning to the Coast to finish his high school education. Hardnett ended up signing with Fordham but was redshirted and transferred to Chipola College.

Back in Florida on the junior college level, Hardnett shined. He led the Indians to a 22-8 record by averaging 15.3 points per game along with 3.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals. His performance was good enough to earn Hardnett the Panhandle Conference’s Freshman of the Year honor.

“(The transferring) was worth it,” Hardnett said. “I was always trying to put myself in the best position to achieve my dream. I had to do what I had to do.

“These coaches and I are on the same page.”

The Coast native averaged 22.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals as a junior during the Admirals’ championship run. He averaged 13 points and five rebounds over a partial senior season at ACD.

Hardnett will be a redshirt sophomore for the 2017-18 season and have three years of eligibility.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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