What's going on with the Rice Owls? A year ago they ties their best record since joining Conference USA. Five months later and they're worrying about having enough scholarship players to manage a rotation.
Dylan Ennis, who started 27 games, left for Villanova.
Jarelle Reischel started 13. He left for Rhode Island.
Ahmad Ibrahim, who started 8 games, went overseas.
7-2 Omar Oraby was 3rd on the team in rebounding despite only playing 11 minutes a game. He's now a USC Trojan.
David Chadwick transferred to Valparaiso due to lack of playing time.
And now Arsalan Kazemi is transferring.
Kazemi is a huge blow. He led the team in scoring. He led the team in rebounding. He grabbed an improbable 29% of their opponents misses, which was 3rd best in the nation. And on offense he grabbed 10.2% of his own team's misses, which was top-15 in the conference. In short, he was an elite rebounder. But now he's "trying to go to a high-major" for his final season.
Is that what this exodus can be chalked up to – mid-major players leaving (mostly) for better options? Or is it a sign of something else, something to do with head coach Ben Braun? In four seasons he's now had 11 players transfer. It seems like their could be something more to the story. Or it could just be bad luck. With 450+ players transferring from 345 Division I programs, the statistics show that someone has to be the outlier – someone has to lose this many players.