It was widely reported yesterday that JUCO forward Carlos Emory, a 6'7" power forward from Howard Junior College in Texas, verballed to Oregon, becoming the fifth member of this year's basketball class (and next year's sixth newcomer, if you count Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph, who is already enrolled). With Joevan Catron set to graduate, and both Tyrone Nared and Jeremy Jacob being seniors next season, that would have left only Martin Seiferth and Austin Kuemper with any experience in 2012, so from that standpoint, the commitment of Emory is more than welcome.
That said, there is a very curious aspect to this signing...
Oregon is already projected to be at its limit of 13 scholarships next season: Armstead, Williams, Nared, Jacob, Joseph, Sim, Singler, Loyd, Seiferth, Brown, Kuemper, Kingma, and Barron.
So where is Emory's scholarship spot coming from?
I've heard different stories making the rounds today: that Seiferth was choosing to go back to Germany after the season; that Jacob would give up basketball due to knee problems, that this or that player would be transferring after the season. Certainly, such a simple explanation is likely.
But, until we know the word for sure, questions will linger. Is Seiferth (or somebody else) being forced out? Or is somebody pulling a Taylor Rochestie and giving up his scholarship for the good of the team (which would be awesome, though extremely unlikely). This doesn't look good on the surface, though. If we've given a guy a promise of an education, I expect that my institution live up to that promise, and give a guy four year to graduate, regardless of how his play on the court or the field turns out (off field trouble notwithstanding, of course).
Coach Altman has a reputation for doing things the right way, and has certainly spun straw into, well, at least a useful bronze alloy this season. He has the benefit of the doubt on this. Nevertheless, I will be curious to see just which scholarship player will not be suiting up in an Oregon uniform next season. And even more curious to find out why.