Georgia Tech sophomore forward Kristian Sjolund, who put his name into the transfer portal Dec. 10, decided to return to Tech.
“I think at the end of the day, it was just an opportunity to explore while he was redshirting,” Sjolund’s AAU coach Stephon Leary told the AJC on Tuesday. “But he loves (coach Josh Pastner), he loves Georgia Tech and just feels like it’s in his best interest to go back at this point.”
Sjolund, who has been redshirting this season, returned to his home in the Houston area at the end of the fall semester to consider his transfer options with his family while the Yellow Jackets continued to play. Leary said that Sjolund had “tons of conversations” with interested schools and took one visit, to Colorado, which was among the teams that had pursued him coming out of high school. Returning to Tech was a possibility throughout the process.
“That’s basically what he did, and realized that he wanted to go back and finish up at Georgia Tech,” Leary said.
Reached Wednesday, Pastner said that he was “very happy” that Sjolund will return. Pastner said that Sjolund informed him Monday of his plans. In giving Sjolund his blessing to explore his options while making the uncommon decision to leave open a chance to return, Pastner had hoped all along that he would decide to stay.
With Pastner’s encouragement, Sjolund chose to redshirt this season after playing 198 minutes in 21 games last season, scoring 63 points. The plan is for Sjolund to gain strength and develop his skills in sitting out from competition.
“I think Kristian has a chance to be a really good player, especially down the road, and so his best basketball is ahead of him,” Pastner said.