Bruce Weber led K-State to their first conference championship in 36 years during his first season on the bench. One month after the season, the Wildcat program was rocked by the transfer of all-Big 12 point guard Angel Rodriguez to Miami. Weber spoke on the Big 12 teleconference on Tuesday morning about Rodriguez’s departure, and says it caught him off guard.
“After the season, he said all the right things and was being a leader,” Weber said. ”(Rodriguez) had to go through two surgeries, and then one day he popped in (to his office) and said ‘coach I want to leave (K-State) and get closer to my family.’ I can’t stop him from leaving, and it’s a sad part of college basketball. You have injuries, guys leaving for the pros, and graduation, but when you add in transfers, it’s tough on the coaches. ”
Weber says he didn’t just let Rodriguez transfer without weighing both sides of the issue.
“(Rodriguez) came in, and I and the rest of the coaches talked to him (about staying),” Weber said. ”The rest of the players talked to him as well. We waited a week or so and we were hoping his mindset would change. He made that decision, and all you can do is wish him the best.”
A record number of players are transferring among Division I college basketball programs this offseason as over 450 players will switch schools.
That number includes seniors who’ve graduated but still have a year of eligibility remaining, and can then transfer to another school without sitting out a year. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has voiced their displeasure with the practice. Weber thinks the NCAA must address the issue.
“It’s just kind of a growing culture,” Weber said. ”Just the way kids are now with their mindset of instant success and gratification. If (players), come in and it’s not perfect, they transfer.”
With the departure of Rodriguez, K-State returns Will Spradling as a starter in the backcourt, but he spent most of his time last season off the ball. The Cats also bring in freshmen Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas who can play the point.