Remember the short-lived Kim Aiken Jr. era at Arizona? It’s understandable if you don’t, since he only played seven games for the Wildcats early last season before disappearing.
While we still don’t know what caused his departure from the UA, we do know where he’s ended up: about 280 miles southeast of Tucson in Las Cruces.
Colin Deaver at KTSM 9 News in El Paso is reporting that Aiken has transferred to New Mexico State for what will be his fifth year of college basketball at a fourth different school, though he’s only played for two programs to this point.
The 6-foot-7 Aiken joined Arizona last August, coming to Tucson after previously committing to Washington State for the 2021-22 season. He’d been committed to the UA once before, in April 2021, but backed off that pledge after Sean Miller was fired. Aiken began his career at Eastern Washington, playing three seasons for the Eagles and earning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020-21.
With the UA, Aiken averaged 5.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in seven contests, all off the bench. He made 9 of 16 3-pointers and was expected to be a key reserve for Tommy Lloyd’s first Wildcat squad, but then he missed a December home game against Wyoming due to “personal reasons” and never played for Arizona again.
Lloyd was mum on Aiken after that game, saying “I think we all need to respect his privacy right now. He’s working through it. At some point I’d love to have him back with us and the sooner the better for me, but again it’s Kim Aiken’s personal issue that I really don’t have any influence.”
By February Aiken was no longer listed on the UA’s online roster, and in April he had entered the NCAA transfer portal.
Aiken is one of three transfers from power-conference programs NMSU has added for the 2022-23 season, along with ex-LSU (and Missouri) guard Xavier Pinson and ex-Missouri (and Kansas State) guard DaJuan Gordon.