Rice basketball finds itself in a challenging position after losing three players to the Transfer Portal in the span of one week.
The sports news cycle hasn’t slowed down. Even though it’s been more than two weeks since sports of any kind were played, the news has continued to rise to the surface. Not all of it has been positive for Rice basketball.
On Friday, senior Josh Parrish announced he was transferring from the program. Sophomore Trey Murphy followed on Saturday. The dam broke Tuesday when fellow sophomore Drew Peterson also put his name into the Transfer Portal. In the span of less than a week, a promising offseason turned into a painfully bleak new reality.
Rice was already set to lose Ako Adams and Robert Martin to graduation this offseason. Now they’ll have to replace their top-five leading scorers. Absent those five, guard Chris Mullins is the only remaining player on the roster who started more than seven games last season. He averaged 7.3 points.
Murphy said “it was just time for a different opportunity”. Multiple sources have confirmed his suitor list will be vast. The talented shooter has been contacted by Arkansas, Arizona, Arizona State, Cincinnati, DePaul, Iowa State, Stanford, Texas, Wichita State, and Xavier. The allure of playing at the Power 5 level is clear.
Peterson’s decision was not made in a vacuum. He called his choice to enter the transfer portal “in part, reactionary to [Murphy’s decision]. He added that he loved coach Pera, but it was “time for a new chapter” and that it was a “really hard decision.” Interest in services is heating up quickly. In the days since his announcement, he’s been contacted by Virginia Tech, Stanford, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Creighton, among others.
Roughly two weeks ago I spoke with Owls’ head coach Scott Pera. We had a great conversation, leading to a series of articles on the team and the future he’s trying to build at South Main. “It’s a process, it’s a growth, it’s a vision that now is really, really exciting. We enter Year 4 with this group coming back,” Pera said then. A lot has changed since and that core could be back to square one by the fall.
Pera issued this statement following the transfers:
I’m sorry to see the guys leave. I wish them the best. I’m going to continue to try to find the right guys for Rice, this program and this University as long as I am the head coach.
These losses will hamstring a program that had improved in the win column in every season under Pera. There’s hope for the future, anchored in two successive promising recruiting classes, but the near term just got unequivocally harder.