2 more Vandals elect to transfer

Idaho’s Jared Rodriguez tries to muscle past Weber State’s Brekkott Chapman during a Dec. 31 game at Cowan Spectrum.

In the wake of the unexpected and controversial firing of Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin, two Vandal players have entered their names into the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Freshman guard RayQuawndis Mitchell and freshman forward Jared Rodriguez announced over Twitter their plans to leave the program a day after and two days following Verlin’s dismissal, respectively.

It means that seven of UI’s 14 players on the 2018-19 roster have declared transfer intentions since the season ended.

Aside from Mitchell and Rodriguez, the list includes standout freshman guard Cameron Tyson, freshman guard Losini Kamara, sophomore guard Xavier Smith, sophomore guard Geno West and freshman forward Cassius Smits-Francisco.

All of those preceeding transfer announcements have been confirmed by UI.

The 6-foot-8 Rodriguez started in 31 of the Vandals’ 32 games in 2018-19. He was third on the team with 11.2 points per game and tied for the lead in rebounds per outing at 6.5.

Mitchell, who stands 6-4, made 10 starts. His playing time increased as UI’s injuries piled up, and he ended the season averaging 4.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

The school announced that Verlin was fired “for cause” Friday afternoon, concluding a three-week period during which the 11-year coach had been suspended for potential NCAA violations, all of which were seemingly minor.

Assistant Zac Claus will act as the interim head coach during the 2019-20 season. UI’s search for a new coach will begin next spring.

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