It may have taken over a month of time to get the job done, but it was finally announced on Tuesday that Washington State center Valentine Izundu is officially allowed to transfer to another school, bearing no more restrictions. For the former Cougars big man, it now looks a new home in the Mountain West awaits him, wherever that may be. The decision comes after weeks of mounting pressure from a chorus of student-athlete rights organizations, fighting the Pac-12 school in Izundu's favor.
Izundu's initial transfer requests were blocked by a faculty committee at Washington State over a few weeks ago around unsubstantiated rumors of "tampering" by San Diego State, the school the Houston native originally declared as his future destination. Washington State believed that Izundu's Spring Break trip to San Diego was not a random coincidence and that the center's attendance at one of the Aztecs' NIT games was evidence of that. None of these accusations were able to be proven true and no evidence was found that San Diego State recruited Izundu at an impermissible time.
With his new found freedom, the 6' 10", 215 pounder has made his intent to transfer to the Mountain West fairly obvious but San Diego State is no longer the only school in the running. Izundu will also take visits to Fresno State and UNLV before deciding on a final home for his last year of college basketball, for which he should be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
For whichever program Izundu eventually decides on, the school will be adding a heralded shot-blocker, who brings a tough and above-the-rim approach to the game. A raw offensive talent still, Izundu is an elite level athlete who could be an "anchor" type player and veteran influence on any roster. From the outside looking in, his addition to any of those team's depth charts seems to have their pros and cons.
For San Diego State, who stakes their claim on the defensive end of the floor, Izundu would be a solid replacement for Skylar Spencer, the Mountain West all-time blocked shots leader. Izundu could be the focal point in the paint of some of the oversized line-ups that Steve Fisher likes to play at crucial junctures in games.
Coming off a surprise NCAA Tournament bid, Fresno State would be in the market for a proven shot-blocker but he would be stepping into a crowded Bulldogs front-court. Rodney Terry currently has eight players on his roster over 6' 6" with half of them averaging at least 24 minutes per contest last season.
UNLV is continuing to emerge as a suitable contender for any transfer, simply due to their completely open roster. At the moment, Izundu would round out a starting lineup for the Rebels and new head coach Marvin Menzies that has been decimated by a fury of early decision players and transfers.
Izundu is expected to announce his decision after taking all three visits but early reports are that the Aztecs are still his preferred destination.