CBS Sports Gary Parrish reports that Arnett Moultrie has in fact withdrawn from the 2010 NBA Draft and will instead transfer to another school to play basketball. It appears that the Memphis Roar report from last week was accurate. Most troubling about Arnett's decision is that UTEP's toughest C-USA competitor, the Memphis Tigers, seem to be the early leader for Moultrie's services. Even worse, former Miner head coach Tony Barbee's Auburn squad is also listed as a potential destination.
Obviously, UTEP won't allow a release to Memphis or any C-USA school, but Parrish reports that Moultrie can sidestep that by sitting out 2011, paying his own tuition, and forfeiting a year of eligibility. (Link to Parrish Article Here). He must really want out of El Paso if he's willing to do all that for the chance to play back home.
The most unique decision was ... Arnett Moultrie's decision to withdraw from the draft, but not to return to UTEP. Rather, he withdrew to transfer, and don't be surprised if the Memphis native ends up at Memphis. No, UTEP doesn't plan to release Moultrie to Memphis (or Auburn, where former UTEP coach Tony Barbee now coaches). But all that means is that the 6-11 forward would have to sit out next season (which would be the case anywhere) and pay his own tuition (as opposed to being on scholarship) before becoming eligible in 2011-12. It's not ideal, obviously. But Moultrie would get in-state tuition, and sources told CBSSports.com he'd be eligible for every kind of pell grant available, point being that his student loan would be minimal. The only real downside is that Moultrie would lose a year of eligibility and only have one season to play at Memphis (as opposed to two at a school approved by UTEP). But he'd probably only play one more season anyway before entering the draft again, which is why, in the end, most close to the situation believe he'll be a Tiger.
- Huge Sacrifice: Arnett was recruited by Tony Barbee and I could understand if he felt lost in El Paso with Barbee departing. A decision to transfer is never easy, but when there is a coaching change, it's understandable. If Moultrie is willing to 1) Lose a year of eligibility; and 2) pay his own way at Memphis in order to become a Tiger for one season in 2011, then you have to wonder if he left on really bad terms at UTEP.
Risky Business: When it comes to NBA scouting, it's all about upside. Arnett had a chance to get drafted now, and at the very least he could have been in the D-League or in Europe cashing checks next season. For him to transfer, drop of the NBA/Pro radar for a year, and then try to reinvent his image in one season with a Memphis squad that will have the nation's #1 recruiting class next year without him, is a huge gamble. Is he even guaranteed of cracking Pastner's 2011 starting lineup? One and done's who get drafted are usually freshman. Not seniors.
War Eagle: Tony Barbee was never the most revered Miner coach, even when he won, but expect him to become Public Enemy #1 if he takes the near unprecedented step of taking a transfer from his former school. I mean, it'd be epic. The dislike wouldn't hit Danny Ainge levels, but it'd bother Miner fans to no end. He moved on, and we did too. But to poach ex-players from the team would be something so low that only a lohn Calipari type might consider it. Nuts.
Knife in Back: This is upsetting news, we'll have to wait and see where Arnett ends up. He's a student athlete, and he has to do what's best for him, but this decision is confusing on many levels. I get he wants to go home, but I think in the long run, sitting out a season for a chance to play in 2012 could end up biting him. There will only be more talented, and younger, players with upside chasing him out of the NBA Draft in 2012. This doesn't seem like the best move for his future, to say nothing of the fact that he'd be turning his back on Miner fans who cheered for him for two seasons. I can't think, off the top of my head, of a Miner who transferred to a rival school in any situation, nonetheless to a school's top competition for a repeat conference title.