Curtis Dennis transfers to Iona
After coming on strong in the second half of 2011-12, senior-to-be Curtis Dennis was poised to become a star for the Toledo Rockets basketball squad.
Dennis’ final season in college basketball could very well be his best, but it will no longer be with UT after the 6’ 5” guard elected Monday to transfer to Iona.
“Over the last week or so, we knew that it was a possibility” said UT head coach Tod Kowalczyk. “We think very highly of Curtis and wish he would have stayed. We certainly are disappointed.”
Dennis is a native of the Bronx, New York, which is located about 10 minutes from the school. He expressed a desire to return closer to home after his aunt passed away and his grandmother became ill.
“I can guarantee you this,” Kowalczyk explained, “he was perfectly happy at Toledo. He was happy with basketball, he loved it here.”
The NCAA handed down a postseason ban for next year in March as a result of poor APR scores stemming from two previous head coaches. Per NCAA rules, any players who will be seniors during a season in which a postseason ban exists can be recruited to other institutions without permission.
“He went with the APR rule that makes it awfully easy for a kid in his situation,” Kowalczyk said. “That’s one of the flaws and problems with the APR concept.
Dennis averaged over 25 minutes, 11 points, and three rebounds a game last season, mostly as a reserve. After sitting out the first portion of the season after transferring from New Mexico, Dennis made an impact during Mid-American Conference play.
At times, he was Toledo’s second-best scoring option behind Rian Pearson and gave UT a spark off the bench. Dennis was certainly in line for an increased role next year and was just three classes away from graduating.
“He has a chance to go home and play in front of his family and has a chance to play in the postseason,” Kowalczyk said.
Dennis’ departure leaves an obvious hole, especially from an offensive standpoint. Kowalczyk suggested A.J. Matthew and incoming freshman Josh Lemons will both have an opportunity to log significant minutes. UT will still have a lot of talent left over from last year.
“Let’s face it, we still have our starters back,” Kowalczyk said. “We still feel very good about next season and the future.”
The NCAA will meet next month to decide if the APR rules should be amended. There is a chance the Rockets could see their postseason restrictions lifted.
“If [the NCAA] does the right thing and does the intelligent thing, they would use the most recent data to reward or penalize institutions,” Kowalczyk said.
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