Maybe Mizzou is counting on the transfer happening before July 1 and its official date to join the SEC. Would that loophole work? Would the other SEC schools be a tad upset?
UConn forward Alex Oriakhi has been granted a release from his scholarship and will be allowed to transfer to another program. In three seasons, Oriakhi has averaged between 5.0 and 9.6 points per game and between 4.8 and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Stunning numbers? No. But a darn solid addition to any team’s interior? You bet.
That’s why at least three SEC schools are reportedly pursuing the senior-to-be. The Connecticut Post reports that Kentucky and Missouri — along with North Carolina and Duke — “are among the teams that have contacted Oriakhi.” ESPN’s Andy Katz reports that Florida is also in the mix for his services.
If UConn remains ineligible for next year’s NCAA Tournament due to NCAA sanctions, Oriakhi can step right in and play immediately for his new school. UConn should learn of its appeal to play in next season’s tourney within the next 10 days.
Ah, but the SEC has a rule on the books that states any player transferring into the league must have at least two years of eligibility remaining. Last summer, an additional loophole was closed that had allowed graduate students to transfer into the league for a single season. (Yes, one-and-dones are okay on the front-ends of their careers, but not on the back-ends. Go figure.)
Last summer, Mike Slive said, “The rule is designed for a student-athlete to stay at our school long enough to have the kind of academic experience that we expect our student-athletes to have. It is not acceptable for a student-athlete to transfer in solely for an athletic experience.”
Apparently the folks at Florida, Kentucky and Missouri believe they can get around that rule with a waiver from the league office. (Heck, Mizzou officials might not even know about the rule yet… newbies.)
According to The Post, the Tigers might actually have the inside track to landing the 6-9 big man. Oriakhi played AAU basketball with current Missouri guard Phil Pressey.
How serious is the league’s about its “no one-year transfers” policy? We’ll find out if Oriakhi tries to move to Gainesville, Lexington or Columbia.