Former Kansas forward Merv Lindsay verbally committed to the University of New Mexico on Thursday at the conclusion of his recruiting trip to the school, the Lawrence Journal-World is reporting.
The 6-foot-7 freshman cannot participate in games next season as per NCAA transfer rules, but can practice with the Lobos as soon as he arrives on campus. Lindsay will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2013-2014 season.
A native of Moreno Valley, CA, Lindsay did not see much of the floor for the Jayhawks, playing in only 11 games while logging just 26 total minutes all of last season. In his longest outing of the year—an eight-minute cameo during a December non-conference game versus Howard—the lanky small forward posted nine points on four of five shooting from the floor.
With playing time at a premium in Lawrence, Kansas wasn’t the right fit for the lefty Lindsay, who was mildly recruited in high school. New Mexico, on the other hand, offers a chance for Lindsay to contribute as soon as he becomes eligible.
In light of the graduations of stellar big man Drew Gordon and power forward A.J. Hardeman, plus the forthcoming graduation of rising senior Chad Adams next May, the Lobos will be thin in the frontcourt for the 2013-2014 season. Given Lindsay’s slim frame—he measures out at a generous 195 pounds—the Mountain West Conference is also a better fit for the New Mexico transfer than the rough-and-tumble Big XII.
There’s also precedent working in Lindsay’s favor as far as Kansas transfers who have gone on to have success in Albuquerque. J.R. Giddens, the last Jayhawk to trade in the crimson and blue for the cherry and silver, played himself into a first-round pick (30th overall to Boston) following a successful two-year stint with the Lobos. Giddens averaged 16.3 points per game on 51.6-percent shooting during his senior season, earning him Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year honors.
As for Kansas, the departure of Lindsay means you can expect to see more of incoming recruit Perry Ellis at the 3. Ellis, one of the premiere high school prospects in the country, is a combo forward (a 3/4 tweener) who will likely split time at the 3 and 4 next season.
Returning senior Travis Releford will get the bulk of the minutes at the 3. Unless incoming small forward Andrew White is ready to contribute immediately, Ellis will have an opportunity to showcase a bit more of his smooth—and undervalued—mid-range game at the position which best suits him at the next level.