Graduate Transfer Bola Olaniyan Joins Alabama Men’s Basketball Program
Alabama head men’s basketball coach Avery Johnson announced that forward Bola Olaniyan has signed a financial aid agreement and will transfer from Southern Illinois to the Crimson Tide program for the 2016-17 campaign.
Olaniyan, who was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Most Improved Team and ranked as one of the league’s top rebounders in 2016, graduated from SIU this summer and has enrolled in graduate school at Alabama, making him immediately eligible to suit up for the Crimson Tide this season.
“We are just thrilled to have Bola join our team,” Johnson said. “His experience and leadership are going to be very valuable for us. We wanted to upgrade in the area of rebounding and that’s one of Bola’s strengths.”
In three seasons with the Salukis, Olaniyan played a total of 90 games, making 50 career starts. For his career, the 6-7, 220 pound power forward averaged 5.2 points and 6.0 rebounds, while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.
Olaniyan blossomed as a fourth-year junior in 2015-16, earning a spot on the MVC Most Improved Team. The Lagos, Nigeria, native led the conference and ranked 66th nationally in offensive rebounding (3.0) and was second in the league and 67th in the country in rebounds per game (8.8), while also adding 7.8 points per game. He also topped the squad in field goal percentage at 56.6 percent (86-of-152) and ended the season with six double-doubles, four of which came in the Salukis’ final six contests.
This will mark the second graduate senior to have transferred to the Alabama men’s basketball program this season, joining former Morehead State shooting guard Corban Collins. A year ago, Arthur Edwards (New Mexico) was the first to join the Tide program as a graduate transfer and excelled under Johnson’s tutelage as Edwards set career-high marks in every category.