Kruger to play for father at UNLV -- without penalty
Kevin Kruger became the first college basketball player to use a new rule that allows players to transfer without sitting out a year as long as they graduated and have one year of eligibility remaining.
Kruger, the top returning scorer for Arizona State, graduated this week after the first summer session. Once he had his degree, he informed Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek that he was off to play for his father, Lon Kruger, at UNLV next season. Kruger redshirted his first season at ASU.
Kruger is using widely scrutinized Rule 2005-54, which states: "To permit a student-athlete who is enrolled in a specific graduate degree program of an institution other than the institution from which he or she previously received a baccalaureate degree to participate in intercollegiate athletics regardless of any previous transfer."
The rule's intent is to allow students who have graduated in four years (and have one year of eligibility remaining) to transfer to attend graduate school.
Clearly, Kruger's intention is to play for his father for one season, a unique situation. But ASU isn't expected to challenge Kruger, despite losing his 15 points and 40 percent 3-point shooting.
Kruger said in a statement: "The NCAA's new legislation has allowed me to play for my father, something I have always wanted to do. I want the ASU community to understand I appreciate all that Coach Sendek has done for me in the past few months and what he will do for Arizona State. This was an extremely tough decision because of him and the players. After considering my options, I want to play for my father for my final year. Finishing my degree in four years and the recent passing of the NCAA's new legislation has allowed me to do this, and after thinking over the options this is what I want to do."
The Sun Devils still return six of their top seven players.
"Kevin spoke to me about his desire to play for his father, and with the passing of a new proposal that option became available to him quickly," Sendek said in a statement. "We'll continue to develop the players we have, make adjustments and keep working hard towards our goals."
But Sendek acted fast to replace Kruger and ultimately hurt Pacific-10 rival USC. ASU is going to add freshman Derek Glasser, a guard from Artesia, Calif. Glasser emerged as the Trojans' lone ballhandler after the tragic death of freshman point guard Ryan Francis in the spring. That event happened before Gabe Pruitt was ruled academically ineligibile for the first semester. USC wanted Glasser to walk on rather than give him Francis' scholarship. When ASU offered Glasser a scholarship, he accepted.
Now, the Trojans will look to freshman small forward Kevin Galloway to be the ballhandler until Pruitt, who isn't a natural point guard, is eligible in mid-December.
Meanwhile, Kruger's arrival at UNLV should help the Runnin' Rebels become a major player in the Mountain West next season. He will fill the reliable 3-point shooting void. And with the departure of senior forward and leading scorer Louis Amundson, Kruger could end up being the Runnin' Rebels' top scorer.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.