UNLV's Katin Reinhardt (L) shoots against California's Richard Solomon during their NCAA basketball tournament second round game in San Jose

Is the criticism for Katin Reinhardt’s decision to transfer fair?

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Much has been made of Katin Reinhardt’s decision to transfer out of UNLV this weekend, and not all of it has been good.

Doug Gottlieb tweeted “Katin Reinhardt was 2nd on UNLV in minutes/shots as a true frosh,so of course he leaves.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal didn’t hold back, either, criticizing Reinhardt for leaving after he publicly denied a report from late March that he was thinking about transferring.

“There have been rumors about this all year,” UNLV head coach Dave Rice said. “Katin and I talked about it a number of times during the season, and he always told me he planned to stay at UNLV.”

Jeff Eisenberg of The Dagger wrote: “That Reinhardt is leaving UNLV is remarkable considering the freedom he received as a freshman. On a deep Rebels team loaded with talented upperclassmen, Reinhardt logged 29.1 minutes per game and attempted the most threes and the second-most shots of any player on the roster, all despite making only 35.8 percent of his field goal attempts.”

Part of me gets it. Reinhardt was more-or-less allowed to shoot whenever he wanted to as a freshman despite the fact that he was playing on a team where he was often to fourth or fifth-best option offensively. There are few players in the country granted that kind of a green light, let alone when you take into account the fact that he was a freshman.

Some of the pushback also likely has to do with the fact that Reinhardt attended Mater Dei, and, as Eisenberg noted, eight of the nine Mater Dei players to be ranked in the Rivals top 150 since 2007 have transferred. The only one that hasn’t, Colorado’s Xavier Johnson, just finished his freshman season, so there is still plenty of time for him to join that list.

So, yeah, I get it. Reinhardt’s lack of shot selection hurt the Rebels from time to time last season. He comes from a program known for having their products transfer. His decision to transfer makes UNLV look bad.

But this wasn’t a playing time issue. This choice wasn’t sparked because Reinhardt was mad that Anthony Bennett got all the attention last year, or that he thought he should have gotten more shots.

Reinhardt wants to be a point guard. He wants to have the ball in his hands. He wants to be a decision-maker, largely because he thinks that’s his ticket to the league.

“[Katin] said that he feels his best opportunity to play in the NBA is to play more minutes at the point guard position,” Rice said. “Katin would have had an opportunity to compete for minutes at the point, but I’ve never guaranteed anyone that they will start or play a certain number of minutes.”

UNLV already has four point guards on their roster next season — JuCo transfers DeVille Smith and Jelan Kendrick (a former McDonald’s all-american), sophomore DaQuan Cook and freshman Kendall Smith. Reinhardt was likely going to be pigeon-holed into a catch-and-shoot role on the wing again this season.

He doesn’t want to be a wing.

He wants to be a point guard.

And frankly, that’s about as good of a reason as there is to transfer.

Reinhardt may not be perfect, and based on the video-denial he sent out regarding the report in March it doesn’t seem that difficult to dislike him, but I have a tough time getting up in arms because a kid is transferring so he can have a chance to play the position he wants to play.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.