RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The University of Richmond basketball program has lost four players to transfers in the last two years, but three-year regular Alonzo Nelson-Ododa’s defection caught Head Coach Chris Mooney off guard.
“It was surprising. Obviously number one we wish him the best,” Coach Mooney said. “Alonzo graduated. There’s a difference there. He fulfilled his obligation academically and he has a University of Richmond degree, so that’s really a great thing for him.
Kadeem Smithen and Chandler Diekvoss transferred at the end of March. Neither had graduated nor was scheduled to graduate.
NCAA rules state a player must sit out a year if he transfers, but if that player graduates, he is eligible to play immediately at any institution where he is pursuing a postgraduate degree in a discipline his former school does not offer.
Mooney lamented the frequency with which that rule is used, as in this case.
“In think it’s almost part of the basketball culture, now.” Mooney said. “It’s not how we would prefer it.” Mooney later expanded on that opinion, saying, “It just makes it tempting for schools to talk to guys and poach.”
Mooney said Nelson-Ododa did not say where he planned to play next season. As for why it wouldn’t be Richmond, Mooney said he preferred to keep that conversation private.
“I think we went five years without having a transfer,” Mooney said, “More recently we’ve not been immune to it.”
While the Spiders lose Nelson-Ododa, the cupboard is not bare. Richmond returns Deion Taylor, who saw increased playing time when Nelson-Ododa missed most of February with an eye injury. T.J. Cline and Marshall Wood — both undergraduate transfers — will also form a formidable pair. Wood will be eligible for the first time since sitting out a season after leaving Virginia Tech.