Tariq Owens, a 6-foot-8 forward from St. Vincent Pallotti High (Md.) committed to Ohio University 10 months ago. On Thursday, head coach Jim Christian left the program after two years to take the Boston College opening.
On Saturday night, North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips was announced as Christians replacement.
Following Christian’s departure, Owens, a three-star recruit according to Rivals, requested his release from his National Letter of Intent. According to a report from Evan Daniels of Scout, Ohio Director of Athletics Jim Schaus has denied that request.
“Same source says, Tariq Owens has no intentions of going to Ohio and would sit out a year if he has to,” Daniels tweeted.
Before he committed to the Bobcats, Owens held offers from Florida Gulf Coast, Miami (FL), Seton Hall, South Florida and VCU.
The Bobcats are coming off a 25-win season, and entering the 2014-2015 season Owens was going to join Maurice Ndour, the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder, on the Bobcats frontline.
Two years ago, Ohio head coach John Groce accepted the same position at Illinois. Ohio released a three-star recruit in the Class of 2012 from his letter of intent. That turned out to be Michigan shooting guard Caris LeVert, who averaged 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game this season for the Big Ten regular season champion.
Ohio finished third in the MAC East Division.