According to a report from ESPN‘s Jeff Goodman, the NCAA has denied the transfer request of Florida International forward Rakeem Buckles. The one-time Louisville product was hoping to follow former FIU head coach Richard Pitino to Minnesota in the hopes of avoiding a few unfortunate situations.
For starters, Florida International and first year head coach Anthony Evans are facing a postseason ban this season thanks to academic issues that date back to when Isaiah Thomas was the head man. In turn, the postseason ban has allowed some FIU players to look elsewhere and have the opportunity to play immediately. The top example in this scenario is Malik Smith, who ironically enough followed Pitino from FIU to Minnesota this past off-season and was granted eligibility immediately. Buckles was simply hoping to do the same.
In addition to avoiding a postseason ban, Buckles is now left in an awkward situation in terms of going back to Florida International. Why? Well Evans and the Panthers don’t currently hold any available scholarships. So now, Buckles only option at FIU would be to return as a walk-on.
Talk about being left out in the cold. Throw in the fact that Buckles suffered a pair of major knee injuries during the three seasons he spent at Louisville and you simply have to feel for the 6-foot-7 forward who just simply cannot catch a break. Instead of the NCAA helping him out here — he’s left in a situation in which he cannot play for the coach and school that he had been hoping for.