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Mississippi State loses big man John Riek

John Riek is well-traveled as he has gone from Sudan to the United States, from Cincinnati signee to Mississippi State, and from NBA draft prospect to bench player in Starkville.

Now he's on the move again. According to The Clarion-Ledger, Riek is leaving the program and expected to transfer to another school. The 7-foot-1, 250-pound forward averaged 1.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 14 games for the Bulldogs as a sophomore, but the numbers don't quite do his Sidd Finch-like story justice.

Riek was born in war-torn Sudan and didn't start playing basketball until 2001 when he was living in Ethiopia. He came to the United States in 2006 and ended up spending time at prep schools in New York, Massachusetts and Florida.

He drew the attention of NBA scouts with a 7-foot-8 wingspan and even declared for the 2008 draft before withdrawing and deciding to go to college. Cincinnati announced it had signed Riek, but he eventually ended up at Mississippi State.

Riek then sat out the first nine games of the season in 2009 while on an NCAA-mandated suspension due to amateurism violations. He hasn't played much since then and his Mississippi State career lasted 25 games.

So while the Bulldogs get 6-foot-10, 270-pound forward Renardo Sidney back next season and have 6-foot-8 center Wendell Lewis as well, they lose a talent in Riek who never quite got to show his potential in Starkville. He came a long way to play college basketball, and now he's moving on again.

Will Riek ever reach his NBA potential? He'll have to see about that somewhere else, and while you can't teach his height and length, it's not going to be easy.

But wherever Riek lands, he'll have quite a story to tell.