MSU guard Janai Crooms transfers to Providence

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MSU guard Janai Crooms celebrates after nailing a 3-pointer in the Spartans’ 75-66 win over Penn State in the first round of the 2021 Big Ten Tournament/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Nathan Stearns, Sports Broadcast Director

EAST LANSING— Michigan State guard Janai Crooms is heading home.

On Monday evening, Crooms, a Rhode Island native, announced that she would be transferring to Providence after entering the transfer portal on April 5.  She is the second former Spartan to transfer to another school in the past month, following freshman forward Kendall Bostic, who chose to continue her academic and athletic career at Illinois on April 7.

Crooms is a much-needed veteran addition for a Providence team that went 7-14 last season and 4-10 in conference play.  Since the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, the Friars have gone 23-80 in Big East action.

Crooms originally transferred to MSU on May 29, 2020, after spending two seasons at Ohio State, where she started in 29 games and appeared in 61.  During her freshman season, Crooms averaged 8.7 points per game, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists while averaging 26 minutes a game. She averaged 6.8 points per game, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 23.7 minutes of action as a sophomore.

As a junior, Crooms appeared in 22 games for the Spartans, including 12 starts. She averaged 5.1 points per game, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 20.5 minutes on average.

Crooms was initially recruited out of Cranston, Rhode Island, where she was rated as a four-star recruit by Prospect Nation within the 2018 recruiting class. The emergence of sophomore guard Alyza Winston, along with the superb play of junior Nia Clouden and the incoming arrival of five-star point guard Damiya Hagemann, made for a crowded backcourt.

The Spartans are currently set to return their top seven scorers from a season ago, including Clouden, Winston, forwards Julia Ayrault, Tory Ozment and Alisia Smith and center Taiyier Parks. They also nabbed former Purdue forward Tamara Farquhar from the transfer portal; in 2020-21, she started 23 games and averaged 6.5 points per game and 6.1 rebounds.