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UConn sophomore Mir McLean enters transfer portal

The forward had only played eight minutes this season despite the Huskies’ injury troubles.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 03 Women’s UConn at Seton Hall Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UConn women’s basketball sophomore forward Mir McLean has entered the transfer portal, the team announced Monday. Russ Steinberg first reported the news.

“Mir is extremely smart and athletic and she has a lot of potential,” Geno Auriemma said in a release. “We wish Mir and her family the best as she continues her collegiate career.”

McLean struggled to get playing time this season despite the Huskies’ extensive injury troubles. She’d only seen the court in three of the team’s eight games for a total of eight minutes. In that time, McLean recorded just two rebounds.

“Mir can offensive rebound and defensive rebound,” Auriemma said after the win over Seton Hall in which McLean played four minutes. “So if we can get Mir to do more of that — otherwise, we’re playing five on four on offense. So [we] need to figure out a way to get Mir to do more than just be someone who goes to go rebound. Believe me, there’s a place for that. There’s a place for that. So I gotta find a way to get her a little more versatile.”

As a freshman, McLean impressed early in the season with her high-level athleticism and ability to dominate the offensive glass. In the opener against UMass Lowell, she recorded 10 points and six rebounds. Through her first 13 games, McLean averaged 3.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 8.7 minutes as an important player off the bench.

But from mid-February on, her impact fell off. McLean’s numbers dropped to 1.8 points, 1.2 rebounds and 5.0 minutes in 11 games and all but one appearance came late in the fourth quarter when UConn held a substantial lead. She did not play in six games — including the final three.

This season, Auriemma hinted that McLean’s lack of playing time wasn’t a reflection of her basketball abilities.

“Trying to make players physically tougher, mentally tougher, more resilient, more [able] to take a punch and come back, it’s harder than it’s ever been,” he said. “You keep trying and you keep trying to put them in situations where that’s the case, but it’s the most difficult I can ever remember in my coaching career — the mental toughness part of it.”

“She’s one of the ones I’m talking about,” Auriemma said when asked about McLean shortly afterwards.

McLean committed to UConn in June of 2019 and came to the school as the No. 25 overall player and No. 4 wing in the class of 2020. She’ll have have to sit out until the start of the 2022-23 season but will have three years of eligibility remaining.

The sophomore is the second player to transfer from the Huskies in the past month, joining Saylor Poffenbarger.