Grant Mullins will trade sunrises over the Atlantic for sunsets over the Pacific.
The point guard from Burlington, Ontario will play his fourth season of college basketball as a graduate transfer at Cal, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported Wednesday.
Concussion symptoms, stemming from an injury suffered in a game at Princeton in February 2014, caused Mullins to miss the entire 2014-15 campaign. The Ivy League does not generally permit medical redshirts, so Mullins’s final year of eligibility will be played in Berkeley.
Mullins started every game for Columbia in 2015-16, averaging 13.1 points per game, knocking down 43 percent of his three-point attempts, and posting a sterling 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. In the CIT final against UC Irvine, Mullins led the Lions with 20 points, and his miracle and-one layup with 5:24 to go gave Columbia a lead they would never relinquish (and earned him a slot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays that night).
The Golden Bears should be a great match for the Canadian point guard, who is immediately eligible to play in the fall. Last season, Cal earned their highest-ever seeding in the NCAA Tournament after winning nine of their final eleven games. However, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong for Cal after learning their seeding — senior point guard Tyrone Wallace broke his hand, assistant coach Yann Hufnagel was fired after the university found him responsible for sexual harassment, and guard Jabari Bird was unable to play due to back spasms — and the Bears were unceremoniously dumped by 13-seed Hawaii in the first round.
There should be minutes up for grabs at the guard position, with Wallace graduating and expected lottery pick Jaylen Brown leaving for the NBA. Mullins will compete for playing time with Bird and rising seniors Jordan Mathews and Sam Singer, among others.
The Golden Bears received a boost this week when standout freshman forward Ivan Rabb, also a projected lottery pick, announced that he would be returning to Cal for another season.
It will be fascinating to see how Mullins, an unquestionably talented player, adjusts to the higher level of play in the Pac-12. Though it will be strange to see Mullins in a darker shade of blue, Columbia fans everywhere — particularly those of us who are currently graduate students at Berkeley — will be rooting for Grant to make some noise at Haas Pavilion in the fall.