While sitting on the bench during a demoralizing first-round NCAA tournament loss to Iowa State, UConn's Alex Oriakhi made a decision in March that triggered the most frenzied four-week period of his life.
Right there, Oriakhi decided he would transfer. In the locker room immediately after the game, Oriakhi sent a text message to Missouri guard Phil Pressey, a close friend and former summer-league teammate, saying he might play with him. It was a message that launched a high-profile national recruitment of a 21-year-old.
Once Oriakhi received his release from his UConn scholarship, well more than 30 college coaches — including Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams — bombarded Oriakhi with phone calls. He could not maintain a conversation with one, he said, without call-waiting beeping with inquiries from others. He finally turned his cell phone off for two days.
Players have long transferred for myriad reasons — coaching changes, homesickness, playing time — but many coaches are increasingly troubled both by the sheer number of transfers and the waivers given so that some transfers don't have to sit out a season.