Can Deshawn Painter get eligible this season at Old Dominion?

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It’s now official: Deshawn Painter will be playing his final season of college basketball at Old Dominion.

Painter, who spent the past three seasons at NC State, will be enrolling at the Norfolk, VA, school to be closer to his family. His great-grandmother is sick.

“It was really tough,” Painter said of the decision to transfer. “I played the majority of my career at N.C. State. We had a Sweet 16 team this year. I feel like we have a chance at the Final Four (next year). That makes it tough. But at this point, I think it’s more important that I spend time with my family, and I want to be close to them.”

And while Blaine Taylor there is no doubt that Blaine Taylor, ODU’s head coach, wishes the circumstances surrounding Painter’s transfer were different, adding a player that saw significant minutes in the ACC is huge for a rebuilding Monarchs team. Painter played 20 minutes-per-game last season, averaging 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds.

“The term that I would use is, he’s been down the trail a’ways,” Taylor told the Hampton Roads Daily Press. “For a relatively young, new and different roster to add a player who has been exposed to Division I basketball, to very good competition, to a meaningful role on a good team, I think that’s nice Kool-Aid to add to the punch.”

“One thing about DeShawn, he’s been around a lot of really good basketball players, but I think he has a strong feeling about being part of a good team. He was just on a good team, and I think that’s important to him. I think our program represents good teams and people that enjoy one another and work toward a common cause, and I think he’ll add to that and embrace that.”

Where this gets interesting is that Painter has a solid case to become eligible this season. With the Monarchs losing four players to graduation — including star wing Kent Bazemore and center Chris Cooper — and bringing in a five-man recruiting class, Taylor is going to need some veteran leadership. Painter, if he is eligible, should be able to provide that.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.