PORTLAND, Ore. — Ukrainian big man Volodymyr Gerun, who saw sparse playing time during his lone season at West Virginia, has enrolled at the University of Portland where he will be eligible to play next fall.
“Summer school started today and he was on campus,” said Portland assistant Michael Wolf, who anticipates the 6-foot-10 Gerun “to be a significant part” of the Pilots’ plans next season.
Gerun struggled to see the court during his lone year at WVU. He signed in August, arrived several days after classes started because of visa issues, and then was dealt a six-game suspension by the NCAA for making two brief appearances in a Ukrainian pro league.
“Scrambling to get in there so late, he got behind on a lot of levels,” Wolf said. “He never really had the chance to show what he could do at West Virginia.”
Lauded by coach Bob Huggins as being WVU’s best-shooting big man, Gerun averaged 1.3 points and 0.3 rebounds in seven games. He made only three appearances for a total of nine minutes in Big 12 play, but figures to make a bigger splash in the West Coast Conference, where programs like Portland are attempting to close the gap on league frontrunners Gonzaga, BYU and Saint Mary’s. The Pilots finished 11-21 overall and 4-12 in the WCC last season, though they averaged 20 wins from 2009 to 2011.
“He’ll present some challenges to the 5′s in our league because of his speed and quickness, and he’ll present problems for the 4′s because of his size,” Wolf said.
Whereas Portland head coach Eric Reveno spoke briefly with Huggins about Gerun’s rather nondescript season in Morgantown, Wolf had what he called “substantial conversations” with WVU assistants Erik Martin, Billy Hahn and Ron Everhart.
The Mountaineers’ staff spoke glowingly about Gerun’s character, and Wolf also credited WVU with assisting in the NCAA waiver application that afforded Gerun immediate eligibility at Portland.
Wolf also received positive reviews from two returning Pilots players — Thomas van der Mars and Oskars Reinfelds — who were teammates of Gerun’s at the Canarias Basketball Academy.
“Obviously the chemistry of the transfer is part of what you want to evaluate, because if you want him to contibute he better have the respect of his teammates,” Wolf said. “The fact (van der Mars and Reinfelds) had respect for Voldy validated that.”
Gerun has two years of eligibility remaining.
He was among three players who announced their intentions to transfer from WVU on April 1, joining guards Jabarie Hinds (who landed at UMass) and Aaron Brown (Saint Joseph’s).