UNLV was dealt a blow to its backcourt depth Wednesday afternoon, as it was announced by the school that junior guard Daquan Cook will miss the entire 2014-15 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Cook was expected to serve as a reserve on this year’s team, and not having him in the fold means that head coach Dave Rice will have one less possible option to call upon at the point guard position.
“We feel terrible for Daquan,” Rice said in a statement according to Taylor Bern of the Las Vegas Sun. “He is an important part of our program and will have our full support as he goes through this challenge.”
As a sophomore Cook played an average of 8.5 minutes per contest, accounting for 1.8 points per game. The plan for Cook is to redshirt in 2014-15, with the Baltimore native having two seasons of eligibility starting with the 2015-16 campaign. The issue for UNLV is that their two most experienced transfers, Cody Doolin and Jerome Seagears, are still waiting for the NCAA to approve their respective requests for waivers that would make them eligible to play immediately.
Doolin’s request for a waiver that would effectively give back his senior season was granted in mid-August, with the former San Francisco point guard playing four games before leaving the program in 2013-14. But his playing in four games meant that Doolin and UNLV had to file two separate waiver requests, and the answer they receive on the second will have a significant impact on the Runnin’ Rebels fortunes in 2014-15.
Seagears’ request comes as a result of his leaving Rutgers at the end of the 2013-14 season, with the argument being that the player abuse scandal that led to Mike Rice being fired had an impact on his decision to transfer.
After averaging 7.1 points, 2.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game in three seasons at Rutgers, guard Jerome Seagears made the decision last month to transfer for his final season of eligibility. Wednesday afternoon, on the heels of his visit to UNLV, Seagears announced via his Twitter account that he’ll be joining Dave Rice’s program.
Under first-year head coach Eddie Jordan the 6-foot-1 guard played an average of 21.1 minutes per game, and from a percentage standpoint it was the best season of his career at Rutgers. Seagears shot 40.0% from the field and 40.2% from beyond the arc, with both numbers the highest of his career. Seagears averaged 7.1 points and 3.2 assists per game in 2013-14, with the latter number being his best as a Scarlet Knight.
Ultimately it was decided that a change of scenery was best for Seagears, with his decision to transfer not coming as a surprise. The offseason prior Seagears initially elected to transfer to Auburn in the aftermath of the Mike Rice controversy, only to change his mind and return to Rutgers.
At UNLV he’ll join a perimeter rotation that, even with the talent due to arrive on campus, has some questions to answer in the coming weeks. Deville Smith was discussed as a possible departure in Taylor Bern’s story regarding the departure of forward Demetris Morant.
However the Runnin’ Rebels will add San Francisco transfer Cody Doolin at the point and two of the nation’s best wing prospects in shooting guard Rashad Vaughn and small forward Dwayne Morgan, and they also have a commitment from shooting guard Patrick McCaw.
According to Adam Zagoria, Seagears will request a waiver that would make him eligible to play immediately. If unsuccessful Seagears would have to sit out the 2014-15 season, using his final year of eligibility in 2015-16.
Through 13 games Rutgers guard Jerome Seagears is averaging 9.5 points and 4.2 assists per game, with his assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8) being tops in the American Athletic Conference. Given his ability to handle and distribute the basketball while making a low number of mistakes, Seagears would be a good player for the Scarlet Knights to have on the floor Saturday evening when they host No. 14 Louisville.
Unfortunately for Rutgers that may not be the case, as Seagears is still recovering from a sprained ankle that prevented him from playing in their win over Temple on Tuesday night according to Jerry Carino of Gannett New Jersey.
“He tried yesterday and couldn’t go through practice,” Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said of Seagears. “It may be in his best interest to give him a week off, because we don’t play again until next Saturday. I don’t want him to go out there practicing today and re-aggravating it and you tack on another two or three extra days. He’s made some progress, but my idea is to keep him off the ankle until next Saturday.”
In Rutgers’ 71-66 win over Temple junior Myles Mack and D’Von Campbell shared the point guard responsibilities, with Mack accounting for ten points, seven rebounds and six assists and Campbell adding four points and four assists. They’ll clearly be key players for the Scarlet Knights, who will have to to contend with a Louisville team that’s forcing opponents to turn the ball over on 25.6% of their possessions.
That figure ranks third nationally, and according to kenpom.com the Cardinals are the only team currently ranked in the top ten nationally in both adjusted offensive (first) and adjusted defensive (seventh) efficiency.
On the same day that video of Rutgers coach Mike Rice physically confronting and swearing at players was leaked to the press, news has broken that sophomore guard Jerome Seagears would be transferring out of the program.
Brendan Prunty of NJ.com first reported the story, which also says that junior college transfer Vincent Garrett will be leaving the school.
Seagears played major minutes in his two seasons at Rutgers, averaging 6.5 points and 2.6 assists per game this past season. His best game of the year came on Jan. 27 in a loss to Connecticut when he scored 21 points.
There is no way to directly tie the events of the tapes leaked Tuesday to the number of players leaving the Rutgers program, but Prunty points out the numbers:
Five players have transferred out of Rutgers in the last year: sophomore guard Malick Kone announced his intentions to leave last week while shooting guard Austin Carroll (American) and forward Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) both left in the spring of 2012.
Rutgers finished this season with a 15-16 record, including 5-13 in the Big East.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_