What the Hell's Going On with Rice Basketball? Their Best Players, Connected to Former Coach Marco Morcos, Leaving in Droves
|Rice coach Ben Braun is left wondering whether he'll be able to field a team.|
There's nothing wrong with up-transferring in and of itself. But according to SI.com and Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, there is recruiting, tampering, and illegal activity involved in up-transferring (not that Krzyzewski is any kind of saint when it comes to taking up-transferring players). And the matter of five players associated with one former assistant coach all deciding during one off-season to transfer or depart a program, with four players going the up-transfer route, well, that might be cause to wonder if there's something a little irregular going on (the word is, however, that Kazemi's actions are all his own.)
Rice head coach Ben Braun and the Rice administration are quiet on the matter and have refused to comment besides stating they wish the players the best, and that this is part of a national trend.
And they're right, this is part of a national trend, but to put all of the blame on the national trend is a bit disingenuous. Not every basketball program is losing six players in one off-season. Not all of the programs have their departures linked to one former assistant coach, or to a former assistant coach who has a history of bending the rules when it comes to recruiting.
It's always going to be hard for Rice teams to compete in the major sports. But if the likes of Vanderbilt and Stanford and Northwestern can find ways to be competitive playing in much tougher conferences, and with standards as rigid as Rice, then the Owls should also be able to compete.
Just last March it looked as if this might be the year the Owls basketball team mattered nationally. They are mattering nationally at the moment, though not in the fashion they intended to matter. And they're hoping this mattering doesn't bring some added extra attention from the NCAA.