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Northwestern center Jared Jones enters the transfer portal

So it begins.

Michigan v Northwestern Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Northwestern freshman center Jared Jones has entered the transfer portal, per Verbal Commits on Twitter.

Jones played an average of 10.3 minutes per game for the NU, posting a stat line of 2.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.2 assists while shooting 44.8 percent from the field. He struggled early in his freshman season but eventually hit his stride, putting up a career-high 12 points in a loss to Michigan on February 12.

Jones also saw a significant increase in minutes down the stretch. Through his first 15 games, the Georgia native played just 8.4 minutes per game. During the second half of the campaign, the 6-foot-9 center averaged 12.1 minutes.

With Ryan Young locking down the starting spot from the get-go and incoming freshman Matt Nicholson crowding the backup role, it was difficult to see a path for Jones to be in a position to start, barring any injury.

Coming into next season, it will be intriguing to see what Collins and co. do at the center position. Young will likely play a large chunk of the minutes, but Nicholson could have a larger role next season than previously thought. Sophomore Pete Nance may play some minutes at the five as well.

It’s important to note that with Jones now having entered the portal, Northwestern now has three open scholarship spots for its 2021 recruiting class. The 2021 class, of course, includes five-stars Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Max Christie, both of whom have ties to Northwestern. If needed, the ‘Cats can now add an additional player, perhaps through the transfer portal.

Jones, a distant cousin of starting point guard Boo Buie, had originally committed to Auburn before then choosing Northwestern over schools like Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.