Two weeks ago, Alabama center Justin Knox was at the center of a transfer saga. Knox wanted to transfer to UAB but Alabama blocked the move, referencing a rule that allows the school to keep players from transferring within its own university system -- despite the fact that UAB and Alabama don't meet in 2010-11 (or ever, really). Knox's transfer process is still in limbo.
This time, the involved SEC school is different, but the story is much the same: Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway wants to leave the school. His reason for transferring was his desire to be closer to his home state of South Carolina, where he has an ill mother; Holloway's first two choices were South Carolina and Clemson.
Neither school happened. Ole Miss blocked the transfer to USC because of the conference affiliation and competition between the two schools. Then, in an even more inexplicable move, Ole Miss blocked Holloway's transfer to Clemson. Clemson's not in the SEC. So why the block?
"We heard some drumbeats about Clemson (before the release was given), and that concerned us," Pete Boone, Mississippi's athletics director, said. The implication by Boone is that Clemson recruited Holloway before the player was given his release by the school. Coaches at a prospective school are not allowed to talk to a transfer player before he is officially released.
Two things here. One: It'd be nice if Ole Miss denied Holloway's transfer based on something more than "drumbeats." And two: It's hard to see exactly how Clemson's supposed recruitment of Holloway is Holloway's fault. But Holloway is the one paying the price, losing the option of grabbing a spot at something resembling a big-time college basketball program in his home state of South Carolina.
The case itself is interesting for Holloway's sake, but the real point of interest here is that it serves as yet another reminder -- not that we needed one -- that college basketball players have very little in the way of personal freedom when it comes to determining their own careers. We tend to scoff at guys who extend their recruiting periods, who waver on their decisions, and who milk every last bit of attention from the coaches vying for the players' services. But the recruitment process is the last time a college basketball player has anything resembling efficacy in his college career. Might as well soak it up while it lasts.