- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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The stars aligned for Angel Rodriguez. In the same span of weeks in which Rodriguez decided to leave Kansas State and play basketball closer to his family in Puerto Rico, Miami point guard Shane Larkin decided to leave for the NBA draft. Suddenly, Miami needed a point guard. Rodriguez went to high school in Miami. Miami is close to Puerto Rico, or as close as you'll get on the continental United States. It isn't exactly the plot of Primer, but the loop was successfully closed. It all came together.
Naturally, Jim Larranaga was thrilled:
Larrañaga agreed: “You have to feel fortunate when a player of his caliber and character calls you and says, ‘I need to play closer to home.’ He will be very much at home here in Miami, where so many people speak Spanish, so many people know him, and he is a short flight from his family. He’s also a very bright young man and serious about academics."
But there is one remaining question. Will Rodriguez be able to play this season?
That's a bit trickier. Rodriguez has made it clear he plans to apply for a hardship waiver, which, if granted by the NCAA, would allow him to skip the customary transfer season. What are the chances? They depend on information we can't (and shouldn't) know, unless Rodriguez deigns to tell us himself. The hardship waiver is for student athletes who are compelled to transfer because of financial hardship or illness or injury to themselves or a family member. Rodriguez has frequently mentioned his mom and two brothers in Puerto Rico, but we don't know if any of them are ill or if there is a financial component related to the transfer. Surely the flights home will be cheaper.
It's hard to say. Larranaga will obviously be hoping the answer is yes, because Rodriguez's presence on both ends of the floor (he was second-team All Big 12 and a first-team defender) would be huge for a team losing not only its starting point guard but much of the rest of its senior-laden team. Stay tuned.