According to multiple reports Oregon State junior guard Ahmad Starks has decided to transfer, citing a desire to be closer to his ailing grandmother in his native Chicago.
Starks’ grandmother, who raised Starks, currently suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia according to John Hunt of The Oregonian.
“My plan is to be somewhere in the state of Illinois, as close to home as possible,” Starks told The Oregonian. “It’s not a personal thing, with the coaching staff or anything like that. It’s just about me being close to home and to my grandma. I don’t know how much time she has left.”
According to the paper Starks cited Illinois and Bradley as two of the possible locations. As a junior Starks averaged 10.4 points, 2.3 assists and 1.4 turnovers per contest for an Oregon State team that struggled mightily in Pac-12 play.
The Beavers finished the season with a 14-18 record, going 4-14 in conference play. Starks struggled at times with the balance of running the team while also being asked to score, but the bigger issue for Craig Robinson’s team was their porous defense.
Opponents averaged 71.9 points per game and shot 45.2% from the field in Pac-12 play, numbers that ranked 12th and 11th in the conference. Oregon State also ranked 11th in the conference in defensive efficiency (conference games only).
With Starks’ need to transfer closer to home, head coach Craig Robinson has two starters to replace with the graduating Joe Burton being the other. Oregon State has two signees in the 2013 class in 6-3 shooting guard Hallice Cook and 7-1 center Cheikh N’Diaye.
On the perimeter the Beavers are down to Cook and returnees Roberto Nelson and Challe Barton at the guard spots. With a scholarship opening up, Oregon State may look to find a late addition to add depth.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.