Buffalo’s chances of returning to the NCAA tournament took a major blow on Monday afternoon, as forward Justin Moss was dismissed from the team.
Moss, along with teammates Raheem Johnson and Mory Diane, was suspended in June after the three were caught stealing money from the dorm room of two Buffalo football players.
“Justin Moss is not currently enrolled in classes at the University at Buffalo, nor is he participating in university activities,” read a statement released by the university. “Because of federal privacy laws protecting student records, the university cannot comment further on this matter.”
As a junior, Moss was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 17.5 points and 9.2 boards per game, en route to MAC Player of the Year honors. He led the Bulls to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.
According to the statement, Johnson and Diane, two reserve players, are both still enrolled in the classes and remain members of the men’s basketball program. Moss had been on probation due to a prior on-campus theft.
Nate Oats’ inherited a terrific team when he was hired to replace the departing Bobby Hurley, but after Moss’ dismissal and Shannon Evans’ decision to follow his coach to Arizona State, the Bulls are down their two top scorers from a season ago.
MAC Player of the Year Justin Moss is among three Buffalo players who were caught stealing money from members of the football team in June, according to a report from The Buffalo News.
Moss, a senior forward, fellow senior forward Raheem Johnson and sophomore guard Mory Diane took $650 from two victims in a second-degree burglary on June 2nd in which they illegally entered. The players later returned the money after the issue was brought up by members of the Buffalo coaching staff. No charges were filed in the matter, which was handled by University Police.
According to the Buffalo News report, citing the campus police report, all three players have been suspended from the basketball team since June 5.
The fate of the players will be decided by the Student-Wide Judiciary, which conducts hearings on student misconduct matters. The Buffalo News report states that the hearing could happen in the next two weeks. Possible punishment includes expulsion from school, or possibly being deemed ineligible for the first semester of the season.
If Moss were to miss any time for Buffalo, it would be a devastating loss, as he averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season. Johnson is a reserve forward who played around 11 minutes per game last season, while Diane hardly played during his freshman season.
Arizona State picked up a transfer guard as Torian Graham will follow head coach Bobby Hurley from Buffalo. The transfer of Graham was confirmed by a source to NBCSports.com.
The 6-foot-4 Graham has been well-traveled during his college basketball career, even though he’s never appeared in a Division I game. He was committed to N.C. State during high school before ending up at Chipola College in Florida. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson brought Graham in before the 2014-15 season, but Graham decided to transfer after not playing in the first game of the season, due to personal reasons.
Graham ended up at Buffalo in December and was sitting out the 2014-15 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He’ll likely have to sit out the 2015-16 season, as well, unless he gets a waiver from the NCAA. From there, Graham will have one more season of eligibility remaining.
During the 2013-14 season, Graham averaged 12.9 points and shot 41 percent from beyond the arc at Chipola. Formerly a four-star prospect out of high school, Graham was the No. 67 overall recruit in the Class of 2012, according to Rivals.
Hurley now has two transfers coming with him from Buffalo as guard Shannon Evans also came over during the spring. Arizona State also signed Maurice O’Field, a former Buffalo commitment.