College Basketball Nation: Kyle Cain

Arizona State scores two

June, 7, 2010
The smile on the face of Arizona State coach Herb Sendek likely grew wider when on Saturday he received two verbal commitments. How fortunate was he to get these guys? Both had previously signed national letters of intent.

Carrick Felix recently gained notoriety as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's first junior college recruit, but the 6-foot-6 forward backed out after Kyle Singler announced his return to school. After Felix visited the Arizona State campus, he told TV station KMVT that "when I stepped off the plane, I felt like it was a family reunion."

Kyle Cain got out of his NLI with Rhode Island and committed to the Sun Devils as well. In an interview with the Arizona Republic, the 6-foot-8 forward cited the bond he formed with Sendek as the reason he chose ASU.

Cain and Felix are big additions to a class already headlined by 6-foot-5 forward Keala King. Add that class to a team that returns its top two scorers (Rihards Kuksiks reiterated to the Arizona Republic he will return for his senior season), and Sendek appears to have some momentum heading into the season.
This being May, and May being a transfer-heavy period on the college hoops calendar, the last two weeks have given us a pair of transfer stories to digest. The first involved Alabama center Justin Knox, who wanted to transfer to UAB but wasn't allowed to thanks to Alabama's strange rule preventing a player from transferring within its own university system.

The second was the story of Ole Miss player Murphy Holloway, who wanted to go home to South Carolina to be closer to his ill mother but couldn't -- Ole Miss wouldn't allow him to transfer inside the SEC (understandable) or to Clemson, which had, according to Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone, stirred up "drumbeats" around Holloway before the player's release was officially granted. If true, it's less understandable; it manages to hurt Holloway as well as Clemson, when Holloway would seem to have minimal control over who contacted him where. (It's like punishing a player for being on one of Kelvin Sampson's famously illicit phone calls. How is this the player's fault?)

Anyway, the point is that there have been a couple of transfer-related cases to look at thus far this offseason, and both of them have stressed the basic college hoops notion that once a player signs a letter of intent, he forfeits any efficacy in deciding his basketball future. This is not a fair system.

But as Rob Dauster points out today, if we're going to rip schools who arbitrarily prevent players from making certain transfers, it's worth taking some time to highlight schools that do the right thing. Today's candidate? Rhode Island, which let recently signed prospect Kyle Cain out of his letter of intent and allowed him to basically go wherever he wants. Cain's reason for transferring:
“There were some things that were supposed to happen that wasn’t going to happen so I was kind of unhappy and I asked for my letter of release," Cain said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach [Jim] Baron.”

It's vague, but Rhode Island saw fit to let Cain walk, and now he's entertaining offers from the likes of Alabama, Arizona State, Illinois and West Virginia. So three cheers for Rhode Island! Huzzah! There are vast improvements to be made to the letter of intent system. Until they are done, the best we can do is praise schools for doing the right thing.