Eli Carter, Kyle Smyth

Eli Carter, Joseph Young highlight list of six transfers waiting on a waiver

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Transfer rules are one of the most hotly debated topics in college basketball during the offseason.

Should players be forced to sit out a season if they want to change schools? Should the rule be disbanded, allowing everyone to be eligible immediately if they do decide to leave school? Should there be waivers in place to allow certain athletes to chance to be eligible immediately if a certain set of criteria are met? Does it make sense for the NCAA to evaluate hardship? Are graduate transfers really fair?

It’s been discussed so much that I’ve reached the point that I’m sick of the conversation. Nothing makes a college hoops scribe yearn for the season to begin more than listening to repeated arguments about amateurism and rule changes.

The debates, however, have allowed us to overlook the fact that there are still a handful of big name transfers waiting on waiver rulings:

Eli Carter, Florida: Carter left Rutgers this offseason after the Mike Rice scandal erupted in April. The 6-foot-2 lead guard is expected to get a waiver that will allow him to play immediate for Billy Donovan’s club, which would help the Gators with their back court depth, especially if Scottie Wilbekin’s suspension lasts into the season.

Trae Golden, Georgia Tech: Golden abruptly left Tennessee in May, opting to transfer to Georgia Tech where he is trying to obtain a waiver to play immediately due to the health of his father. The Yellow Jackets have some perimeter talent and front court size returning, and Golden could be the piece that turns Georgia Tech into a team with a shot at making the NCAA tournament.

Royce O’Neale, Baylor: O’Neale left Denver this spring after playing his sophomore season to transfer back to his native Texas. The Killeen, TX, native has a sick grandfather; Killeen is about a hour from Waco. O’Neale is a talented wing that averaged 11.2 points in a slowed-down system at Denver. He’s not a difference-maker, but he’d be a nice piece for Scott Drew on the wing.

Angel Rodriguez, Miami: Rodriguez left Kansas State a year later than most expected, heading home to be closer to his family. Rodriguez may benefit from sitting out the 2013-2014, as the Hurricanes lost everyone from last year’s ACC champs.

Ahmad Starks, Illinois: Starks, a Chicago native, transferred out of Oregon State to head closer to home to be with his Grandmother, who is reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s. Illinois has a number of talented back court pieces on the roster, but a lot of them are young. Starks would bring some experienced depth to Jon Groce’s club.

Joseph Young, Oregon: Young is the most interesting transfer case on this list. He left Houston this spring as his father was reassigned to a position in the athletic department outside the basketball program. Young has two seasons of eligibility remaining but only two years to use them thanks to a forced-redshirt season as a freshman. He originally signed with Providence but backed-out of his NLI after his dad was rehired by the Cougars. He was forced to sit a season, but didn’t use a year of eligibility. If he doesn’t get the waiver, 2014-2015 will be his last season in college basketball. If he does, he will be another weapon in a talented Oregon backcourt. Young averaged 18.0 points as a sophomore.

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

Ernie Kent
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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)
(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.