Loyalty in college hoops isn’t quite dead yet

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I think we can all agree that loyalty among folks in college hoops is a rarity.

The 500-or-so players that have transferred this offseason should convince you. If that’s not enough, than how about the coaches that complain about the freedom that players have to transfer while they are contemplating taking a new job with a higher salary, better benefits and a sick company car.

I’m of the same mindset, which is why it is nice to see a story about someone showing some loyalty. And on Thursday, we got two of them.

The first is from Keith Clanton, who decided to remain with Central Florida despite having a chance to transfer to a bigger school without penalty. Thanks to the sanctions handed down to UCF by the NCAA last month, the remainder of Clanton’s eligibility would have been served under a postseason ban. Two of his teammates — CJ Reed and Marcus Jordan — both made the decision to leave the program, and they didn’t have Kentucky hitting up their high school coach.

But Clanton stayed.

“UCF is where my heart was at,” Clanton told Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports. “At the end of the day, I felt like UCF was the best place for me. I felt like the coaching staff and the players, I can trust everybody. And then knowing what we have as a team still here, I still feel like we have a chance to accomplish a lot.”

Then there is Rob Murphy at Eastern Michigan. A couple of weeks ago, news leaked out that Murphy had decided to leave his head coaching position at Eastern Michigan after just one season and just two weeks before the start of classes. The Orlando Magic had come-a-calling, and Murphy’s dream of getting in with an NBA team was close to becoming a reality.

But he decided to stay put as well.

“I love what I’m doing. The timing wasn’t right. I’m a loyal person, and there’s no way I would leave my position knowing the negative impact and the effect it would have on many lives.”

Murphy said he was well aware that if he left two weeks before school started, there was a good chance that his entire staff, which he had just hired a year ago, could be out of a job.

“Five staff members that I hired one year ago would have been jobless,” Murphy said. “Leaving the eight players that I recruited here would have been unfair, and six of them haven’t played for me yet.”

This doesn’t mean that amateur basketball is our country is fixed, but it’s quite a refreshing thing to write about.

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