On Friday afternoon, SMU received word that Virginia Tech transfer Ben Emelogu had been granted a waiver by the NCAA and would be eligible to play this season.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports first reported the news, which was later confirmed by the SMU basketball Twitter account.
In 22 games at Virginia Tech, the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 10.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 37 percent from three. He left the program in July, months after head coach James Johnson was relieved of his duties. Ten days later, he landed at SMU.
“He’s just a really solid player,” Brown told reporters on Friday. “He can play multiple positions. He’s tough. You’re a captain as a freshman of a major college, an ACC program, that speaks volumes to the character and leadership qualities. I think now he knows he can play, he’ll make huge steps in that regard.”
From a leadership aspect, SMU is looking to fill the void left behind by graduating seniors Nick Russell and Shawn Williams, both of whom started 36 of 37 games for the Mustangs last season. So adding a player who was named captain of his previous school before ever playing a college game can certainly help in that department. On the floor, SMU dealt with Emmanuel Mudiay’s decision to play professionally in China during the middle of the July live period, leaving little to no room to recruit another guard, none of whom would have had the impact of the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2014.
Emelogu is the second transfer to be immediately eligible to play at SMU this season. In the spring, Xavier wing Justin Martin enrolled at SMU and under the graduate transfer rule is allowed to play in his final season without sitting out the year.
SMU opens the season on Nov. 14 against Lamar at Moody Coliseum, three days before a huge non-conference game on the road against Gonzaga.
After being dismissed from the Missouri basketball program this spring, Zach Price has transferred to Winthrop, the school announced on Tuesday afternoon. The 6-foot-10 center began his collegiate career at Louisville, playing two seasons for the Cardinals before transferring to Missouri in 2013.
Price was sitting out the 2013-2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules. On April 3, Price was arrested twice in one day, stemming from an incident with teammate and roommate Earnest Ross and Ross’ girlfriend. A week later, then-Mizzou head coach Frank Haith dismissed him from the team.
“We put the ultimate emphasis on the evaluation of one’s character when considering who to bring into our program,” Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey said in a statement. “We found the incident involving Zach to be isolated and the content of his character to be very solid. Our due diligence was extensive and we found him worthy of a second chance. I expect Zach to make us very proud through the impact he will have on our campus and community.”
“I would like to thank Winthrop University for this opportunity,” Price added .”I accept responsibility for my mistakes, have learned from them and have grown as a person. I will work hard in the classroom, in the community and on the court to represent Winthrop in a first-class manner. I am truly grateful for this second chance and I am excited to be an Eagle.”
Price was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2011, rated as the No. 67 overall prospect by Rivals. He committed to Louisville, where he played two seasons, averaging 5.9 minutes per game during his stint with the Cardinals. He averaged 1.4 points and 1.3 boards per game for Louisville in 2012-2013.
Price is seeking a waiver to play this season at Winthrop.
The Eagles finished 20-13 (10-6 Big South) last season, one win shy of an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
On Friday, the Southern Miss announced that guard Aaron Brown was granted his release from the program. The 6-foot-5 guard, who played his first two seasons at Temple, will be eligible to play the 2014-2015 season under the graduate transfer rule.
The weekend wasn’t over by the time multiple high-major programs have expressed interest in Brown. Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv reported on Sunday afternoon that Brown is considering Minnesota, Oregon and Rutgers, as well as Iona and Southeastern. This would be a notable late addition to a high-major team like Oregon, which dismissed three players accused of sexual assault and had another recruit fail to be admitted to the university. A mid-major like Iona, which is looking to return to the NCAA tournament, would also benefit from adding Brown, especially since MAAC rival Manhattan recently got word that Cincinnati transfer Jermaine Lawrence would be eligible this season.
According to BigGoldNation.com, the Rivals Southern Miss affiliate site, Boston College and Rhode Island are two possible destinations for Brown. Worth noting that URI head coach Dan Hurly coached Brown at St. Benedict’s Prep (New Jersey). Brown will visit the Boston College campus on Monday, according to Zagoria.
Boston College saw starting guard Joe Rahon (Saint Mary’s) as well as second-leading scorer Ryan Anderson (Arizona) transfer following the 2013-2014 season. New head coach Jim Christian does retain Olivier Hanlan, who averaged 18.5 points per game.
Brown, who was a starter on the top team in Conference USA last season, averaged 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc.