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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU Athletics’ transfers: Who’s hot and who’s not?

Tim Dodge
From left: NIU then-senior guard Kaleb Thornton (3), then-senior guard Darweshi Hunter (24), and then-sophomore guard David Coit (11) get in position to play after a Huskies free throw during an NIU men’s basketball home game on Feb. 7, 2023. Thornton and Hunter both transferred from NIU to the University of Akron and Miami University, respectively. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

Like many schools, NIU fell victim to the transfer portal last season. Some departed Huskie athletes are doing better and some are doing worse. 

Here are a few athletes who have gotten off to a hot start in their new homes and then some who have gone cold. 


Oklahoma State University redshirt senior wrestler Izzak Olejnik transferred from NIU after a 31-6 record last season and is the most successful of the bunch. With NIU during the 2023 season, Olejnik earned All-American status following last year’s NCAA Championship

Joining the No. 2-ranked Cowboys this season, Olejnik’s ranking has risen to eighth overall in the weight class of 165 lbs. His individual record this season is 19-3. 


Miami University graduate student guard Darweshi Hunter transferred from NIU last season after averaging 9.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 2022-2023. Since becoming a Redhawk he has increased his averages to 12.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in the 2023-2024 season.

Hunter has also logged multiple buzzer beaters this season, his most recent against the University of Akron on Jan. 27. 

Hunter is the second-leading scorer on the RedHawks, trailing senior center Anderson Mirambeaux by .2 in points per game. Miami is 12-13 overall and 8-4 in the MAC, four spots ahead of NIU.


Seton Hall University graduate student forward A’Jah Davis is in her first year with the Pirates following a historic year with NIU. Last season, A’Jah Davis broke the all-time NIU double-double record with 54. Davis was also top-five in the NCAA last season in rebounds per game with 12.4. 

Davis also led the Huskies in scoring last season with 16.2 points per game.

During the 2023-2024 season with the Pirates, Davis’ production has gone down. She’s averaging 5.4 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game in 18.9 minutes per game. Davis has started in 17 out of 19 total games played.

As a team, Seton Hall is 15-11 overall and 7-8 in the Big East. 


As the second men’s basketball player on the list, University of Akron graduate guard Kaleb Thornton’s numbers have plummeted after transferring from NIU. In 2022-2023 as a Huskie, Thornton averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists. 

This season Thornton is ninth on the Zips in points and rebounds per game, averaging 3.7 and 1.6, respectively. Although Thornton leads Akron in assists per game with 2.6, his overall assist numbers were more than cut in half.

Despite Thornton’s drop in numbers, Akron leads the MAC with an overall record of 19-6 and a conference record of 11-1. 


University of South Florida senior infielder Sam Mallinder left NIU after logging a .298 average with 30 RBIs and two home runs with the Huskies. Last season, Mallinder was third on the team with 45 hits. 

In only six games played, this season Mallinder has two hits, but has yet to log an RBI. USF is currently 7-3 on the season and have yet to start conference play. 

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