Big man John Riek got his paperwork turned in Wednesday, two days after it was reported he would sign with Mississippi State's basketball team. That news came mere hours after junior Jacquiese Holcombe said he was planning to transfer after one season in Starkville.
Holcombe (6-foot-5, 205 pounds), a former junior college all-American, played in only seven games, averaging 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds. He was shut down early because of a slow recovery from a fractured tibia.
Holcombe, who's seeking a medical waiver, said he's leaving "to get some more playing time, and they just signed a lot of guys." He said his leg is "a hundred percent" healthy.
He is not sure where he'll transfer.
Holcombe's departure frees up a scholarship for one of MSU's 2009 signees. The Bulldogs added big man Renardo Sidney last week, and then the 7-foot-1 Riek. They'd already signed Wendell Lewis (Selma, Ala.) and Shaunessy Smith (Noxubee County).
That put MSU two scholarships over its allotment for 2009-10.
Stansbury said last week, in regards to the scholarship question, that "it always finds a way to work out." Now he just needs to find one more scholarship.
He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Stansbury did speak in a press release about the Riek signing, saying he knows that MSU is "taking a chance" on a player who had surgery last June to repair an ACL tear.
"It's a slow process, but we're willing to take a chance on him since he's such a great kid," Stansbury said. "Again, he's nowhere near where he once was as a player, but it's our job to help him get back to that level that had him going straight to the NBA."
The 19-year-old Riek, who came to the U.S. from Sudan in 2006, entered the 2008 NBA Draft but withdrew his name after suffering the knee injury. He's been attending the IMG Basketball Academy in Bradenton, Fla., since March of last year.