On Tuesday afternoon, Florida International was one of the six schools that found themselves banned from postseason competition for the 2013-2014 season due to low APR scores.
The Panthers have Isiah Thomas to thank for that one.
And while I say that sarcastically about new head coach Anthony Evans’ program, there could end up being a couple of coaches that truly are thankful that Isiah Thomas took three years out of his life to wreck FIU’s APR scores, one of which is former FIU head coach and current Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino.
You see, the NCAA has a rule that says if the remainder of a player’s eligibility is to be played under a postseason ban, that player will be able to transfer to another program without having to sit out the mandatory one year. It’s the reason that Alex Oriakhi, a UConn transfer, was allowed to play at Missouri for his final collegiate season; UConn had an APR score that was too low. It was also why Keith Clanton became one of the nation’s most sought-after transfers last summer before he eventually decided to finish his career at Central Florida.
Minnesota has already earned a commitment from one former FIU player. Malik Smith committed to the Gophers back in May, and since he has one year of eligibility remaining, he should be immediately eligible for the Gophers.
And he may not be the only one, either. Raheem Buckles, a 6-foot-7 forward that had a promising-but-injury plagued three-year stint at Louisville, sat out the 2012-2013 season and was expected to be a senior on this year’s FIU team. There have been rumors that Buckles could follow Pitino from FIU to Minnesota since Pitino got the job.
There are a couple of other players who could be on the move as well.
– FIU’s leading scorer last season was New York City native Tymell Murphy, a 6-foot-5 wing that averaged 14.6 points and 6.8 boards in his one year with the Panthers. He’s a JuCo transfer and has one year of eligibility remaining. Murphy already obtained a release from FIU to pursue a transfer, taking a long look at Hofstra and Iona before announcing that he would be returning to FIU for his senior year.
– Buckles wasn’t the only impact transfer buried on FIU’s bench last season. Raymond Taylor averaged 14.2 points and 5.9 assists at Florida Atlantic as a freshman in 2009-2010, but he saw his production drop over the course of his last two years at FAU. Taylor say out the 2012-2013 season and will be a fifth-year senior heading into next year. He’s 5-foot-6, but he’s a dynamic playmaker when he’s under control.
Rakeem Buckles, Tymell Murphy and Raymond Taylor.
Keep an eye out for those three names over the summer.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.