The slew of players leaving Rice continues to grow and the latest might be the biggest blow to an Owls’ program that wrapped up the 2011-12 season with an overall mark of 19-16.
Arsalan Kazemi, one of the nation’s leading rebounders and a native of Iran, has decided to seek a transfer for his final season of eligibility.
Kazemi spent three seasons at Rice, averaging a double-double over each of the past two years. The Owls star finished the year averaging 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds in 2011-12 and despite the decision coming at a strange time in mid-September, the 6-foot-7 forward should have a number of top programs calling.
According to a CBSSports report, Kazemi is targeting six schools, all of the high-major variety. Kentucky, Texas, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida and Cincinnati were listed. Other schools may come in consideration, but it appears that Kazemi wants to spend his final season at a higher level.
While the loss of Kazemi will leave the Owls in a tough spot, the forward is not the only one to part ways with the university. Five others have made the decision to move elsewhere, including Dylan Ennis, who is headed to Villanova.
Outside of Tamir Jackson, who was second on the team last season averaging 10.5 points per game, Rice’s next highest offensive contributor from a year ago was Julian DeBose, who averaged 3.7 points per game in 2011-12.
Kazemi could end up being a valuable asset to one high-major program and per NCAA rules, he would likely have to sit out the 2012-13 season before finishing up his eligibility next season. Kazemi has a proven ability to score and rebound, making him a potential asset and target as things continue to develop.
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