Raising the Flag
I had to take a day to figure out what to say about the latest troubling development at the school on the North side. It's pretty standard protocol for a rube to over react and try to draw immediate conclusions from things that happen. Trying to balance that with some level of objectivity as a writer isn't something I've had a great deal of success with yet, but I'm working on it.
In any case, the latest news from Bison U is that the most important player on the Men's Basketball team will be transferring. Some may take exception to my calling him that, but as the lead ball handler, I don't think it's a stretch. I'm talking about Khy Kabellis, for anyone unaware. Word came out yesterday that he had informed the coach of a decision to transfer from NDSU.
Players transferring from one school to another is not unusual. It's actually quite common. Just not with centerpiece type players. No reasons were given, that I'm aware of and I've never heard rumblings of discontentment from the Cali boy yet he's transferring.
Maybe he wants to be closer to family. Understandable.
Maybe he wanted to switch to a school that had a different major then NDSU offers. That would be commendable.
Maybe he has had enough of the winters here. Wouldn't be the first one, but he didn't have to deal with the worst winters ever.
Maybe there's some private conflict with the coaches or other players? I hope it's not this, but signs may tell a broader story.
A season ago, there's was a decision by Carlin Dupree to transfer. A few days later he changed his mind and subsequently finished out his time in the Dakota Gold. Fast forward to a few weeks ago & there was the decision by Malik Clements to transfer. More time has passed on his choice with no reversion so that one seems to be more for sure. At the same time as Clements' announcement was word that Sophomore Evan Wesenberg would also be departing. And yesterday came the biggest blow.
It's a difficult line to maneuver - criticizing and speculating about things with limited knowledge but it's got to be some kind of a red flag I think. During the 2015, it was noted to me to pay attention to the offense that NDSU ran. Every since I can't help but notice and not be impressed by it. But I've tried to give the benefit of the doubt to a guy who's job it is to know Basketball, teach it to the players he brings in and win games. For the last part he can't be criticized.
Coach Richman has won games. Over 60 wins, the last 3 years. But a lot of that has come with Saul Phillips' guys. Running the system's he wants but not his recruits. I'm giving him credit for the success the last three years. Let me make that clear, but it's getting to the point where the full weight of the program is on him.
Khy Kabellis was the best recruit that he's brought in yet. I personally thought so highly of the player as to think that he has a chance to be in the mix for a second round selection in the NBA draft after he's all done. His decision to leave hasn't affected that, just diminishes my level of interest in it either way. The drafting of Football players has become annual but none have yet broken through from the hardwood club. I thought he could be the first, so it's all the more disappointing.
But let me reiterate, I don't know why he's leaving. It isn't public knowledge and may never become such. But what is known is that it's becoming too much of a trend for players from NDSU to become warm to the idea of a transfer. As far as I can remember it never happened with any key players during the Tim Miles or Saul Phillips eras.
Reportedly, those guys and others vouched for coach Richman during the last hiring process and it's entirely possible that all of this will be a blip on the radar in the not too distant future. Then the biggest issue would be with an overly simple base offense. That's the best case scenario, but I think fans of the school and of the Basketball program should start looking just a little bit closer at what is happening up there. Then decide for yourself if it's worthy of raising a red flag on the operation! But if not red, then at least a yellow one...but certainly not a white one because we do not surrender!
As far as today goes, the Bison lost a great young player and while I wish him well in wherever he goes and whatever he pursues, it never feels great being a part of the forsaken!