Brian Bernardi, a 6-2 guard originally from New York City, has been granted his release from Southern Methodist and will transfer to another program, CSN has confirmed.
The sharpshooting rising sophomore (pictured at left in the photo above) averaged 3.5 points in 11.5 minutes per game this past season, but shot an impressive 23-of-55 (42%) from three-point range in his limited time on the floor.
"It's been something he's been thinking about for the past few months since the addition of [Top 100 guard prospect] Keith Frazier," Bernardi's former high school coach, Chris Alesi, told CSN. "[Coach Larry Brown] really wants him to stay, but he gave him the release."
And Bernardi's transfer story could soon have a local tie. Alesi tells CSN that George Washington was the first to call about Bernardi's availability. Coming out of high school, the Colonials and head coach Mike Lonergan were among the final five schools on Bernardi's list before he ultimately signed with SMU.
George Washington has been a favorable place for transfers lately, including the team's leading scorer and rebounder last season, Isaiah Armwood. Armwood played one season at Villanova before coming to GW.
Lonergan's staff made a major splash earlier this spring when it secured a commitment from former Indiana guard Maurice Creek. Creek will suit up for the Colonials this fall.
Other mid-major programs around Bernardi's native New York will likely be in the mix. That list could include a rebuilding Hofstra program or schools that were in the running for him out of high school like Iona and Marist.
Were the Colonials to land Bernardi, they would be gaining a solid spot-up shooter with the ability to stretch the defense out toward the perimeter. He is relatively undersized for the shooting guard position, but his status as a three-point threat makes up for what he may lack in height.