The Kansas State men’s basketball team suffered a big blow on Monday as sophomore point guard Angel Rodriguez announced plans to transfer from the school.
“After multiple conversations, Angel feels an obligation to be closer to his family,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said in a release. “His mother is raising his two younger brothers all by herself in San Juan (Puerto Rico) and he just wants to be able to see them more often.”
Rodriguez was set to be the cornerstone of the team next year after coming off a season in which he was named second-team All-Big 12 and to the league’s All-Defensive Team.
Starting 33 times this past season, Rodriguez averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game for the Wildcats, who won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title.
Arguably one of the best point guards in the Big 12, Rodriguez helped guide the Wildcats to a 28-7 overall record — leading K-State in 3-pointers, assists and steals, second only in scoring to senior Rodney McGruder. For his career, Rodriguez averaged 9.8 points and 4.2 assists a game.
Rodriguez, who played the second half of the season with an injured wrist, said the decision to transfer didn’t come easy.
“I have really enjoyed my time here and this decision was based entirely on my family and has nothing do with Kansas State, basketball or the coaching staff,” he said. “It’s unfortunate after the year we just had, but I just feel right now this is the best thing for me and my family. Whether it is the right choice or not, family has and always will be first with me.”
Rodriguez’s former AAU coach Art Alvarez emphatically denied rumors of Rodriguez transferring on Monday morning, saying it wouldn’t make any sense for him to transfer when it was going to be “his team.”
Alvarez said if Rodriguez were going to transfer, he would have spoken to him before considering it. Calls to Shaky Rodriguez, another one of his mentors, were not returned.
Losing Rodriguez could really hurt the Wildcats next season, as he’s the only experienced point guard currently on the roster after freshman Michael Orris elected to transfer earlier this month.
Rodriguez is the third player to transfer this month, joining Orris and forward Adrian Diaz.
K-State added a commitment in point guard Nigel Johnson late Saturday night, and its only other point guard, Jevon Thomas, might not be eligible until the second semester of the next season.
Rodriguez will have two years of eligibility remaining, as well as his redshirt year. He was a player that was among those speculated to be leaving when Frank Martin left K-State last spring for South Carolina, but he chose to stay. Rodriguez said he doesn’t regret that decision.
“Coach Weber and his staff made the transition a lot easier than I ever thought it would be,” he said. “He made me a better player and to play with more confidence. I never thought I would get this close to my teammates.
“The past few days have been difficult for me, just thinking how this decision would impact them. However, at the end of the day, I have do what I think is best for my mom and my brothers.”
Palm Beach Post reporter Jorge Milan tweeted Monday evening that he’d heard Miami had a “good shot,” at landing Rodriguez. And that Rodriguez planned to appeal to the NCAA on a waiver of the one-year transfer rule.
Denis Clemente transferred to K-State from Miami and played for the Wildcats from 2008-10.