In transfer portal, Kristian Sjolund could still return to Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech’s Kristian Sjolund. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Georgia Tech sophomore forward Kristian Sjolund has entered his name into the transfer portal, but that doesn’t mean that his days playing for the Yellow Jackets are over.

Sjolund clarified his status in a series of tweets late Wednesday, as did coach Josh Pastner Thursday.

“He just kind of wanted to take a look and explore some options,” Pastner said. “We’ll support him all the way through. And we’d love to have him back, but either way, we’re behind him 100 percent.”

Sjolund entered his name into the transfer database on Tuesday. Sjolund is redshirting this season, his second on campus, after playing in 21 games last season and playing a total of 198 minutes, scoring 63 points. With Pastner’s encouragement, Sjolund elected to redshirt to give him another year to develop physically and improve his skill set and also have additional time to heal a foot injury suffered this summer.

Sjolund will explore his transfer options between semesters but will remain with the team at least through traveling to the Yellow Jackets’ road game at Kentucky on Saturday. Tech’s next game after that is Wednesday at home against Ball State.

“Obviously, there might be some time period when he’s exploring, but if he wants to look at another school, then obviously he wouldn’t be with us during that time period,” Pastner said.

If he were to transfer, he would be ineligible to play until after the 2020 fall semester ends at his new school, at which point he would have 2½ more seasons to play.

In his tweets, Sjolund wrote that he has a “great connection” with Pastner and praised Tech as “a great academic school with awesome people, great basketball team with a super group of guys and coaching staff.” However, he continued, in order to find the “best place to continue my development, I have, with the support of my family and my Coaches, decided to put my name in the transfer portal to evaluate other school options.”

Pastner’s decision to allow Sjolund to consider a transfer and leave the door open to return to the team is not that usual. Pastner’s preference is that he would come back to the team.

“I want to do what’s best for our young men,” Pastner said. “And for guys who do a great job on and off the floor, if this is something that they maybe want to take a look at, I don’t hold grudges or anything like that. I’m not that type of guy. Kristian’s a fine young man.”

Pastner’s plan in wanting Sjolund to redshirt is for him to be a significantly better player as a redshirt senior than he would be this season. Sjolund showed promise as a perimeter shooter last season, making 15 of 45 3-point tries.

“I think he’s got a chance to be a really good player,” Pastner said.

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