When Angel Rodriguez announced he was leaving Kansas State and transferring to Miami, the first question everyone had regarded a potential waiver. Would Rodriguez be eligible to play immediately for the Hurricanes, without sitting out a year?
It turns out, Rodriguez and Miami are not even waiting for an NCAA decision: the point guard will sit out.
Head coach Jim Larranaga spoke to the media on Friday regarding the situation:
“I should let everybody know that when Angel contacted us and made the decision to transfer here, in one of our very first conversations, Angel shared with me, that he was struggling with injuries that he sustained during his two years in college. One was a wrist injury, and one was a very serious tendinitis in his knee. When we had him visit with our trainer Wes Brown, Wes felt that it was so severe that he took him to our team doctors. They did X-rays and MRI's, and eventually shut him down the entire summer.
“When Angel and I talked about him for this upcoming year, the discussion was, ‘There is no sense applying for the waiver to help you be eligible when you're not physically going to be fit enough.' He told me at that time, he would much prefer to just sit out the year anyway, learn the new system and be 100%, or close to 100%, for his last two years. We were waiting to decide whether or not to apply for the waiver to see how he was feeling. I spoke to him the other day. We both agreed that we weren't going to apply for the waiver, so he's definitely going to red shirt this year with Sheldon McClellan and be available next season and the following year.”
Rodriguez, a 5-foot-11 junior from Puerto Rico, averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists last season for Kansas State. He would have stepped right into the vacated point guard role formerly occupied by draft pick Shane Larkin. Without Rodriguez, Larranaga will turn to a committee of sorts. Belgium native Manu Lecomte and scorer Deandre Burnett, both freshmen, will see minutes, while 6-foot-6 Garrius Adams brings versatility.
Miami will undoubtedly take a step back from it 29-7, ACC championship campaign. The Hurricanes lose all five starters, with Rion Brown (6.4 ppg) the leading returning scorer and the only player who played more than seven minutes per game last season. A deep freshman class, along with DePaul transfer Donnavan Kirk, will bring reinforcements. Sophomore center Tonye Jekiri could be poised for a breakout season.
Expect a bounce-back in 2014-15, when Rodriguez and Texas transfer Sheldon McClellan will both be eligible. With only three seniors on this year's team, Larranaga could have the Hurricanes back in the mix within two years.