After two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and being a team leader as just a sophomore, University of Buffalo's point guard, Lamonte Bearden, has made the sudden and surprising decision to transfer from the school.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman was the first to report Wednesday morning that Bearden has been granted his release from the school. Goodman also reports that the Arizona Wildcats are one of eight schools that Bearden has requested his release for.
Buffalo coach Nate Oats told ESPN guard Lamonte Bearden has been given his release to transfer. Asked for it earlier this month. Crazy.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 13, 2016
Buffalo transfer Lamonte Bearden gave following list to Bulls, per source: Nevada, Arizona, TCU, Texas A&M, Wisc., Marquette, Iowa St, Miami— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 13, 2016
There's plenty of questions remaining to be answered, as someone making the decision to transfer in mid-July is rare and extremely odd. But there's no denying that Bearden immediately becomes one of the most interesting transfers on the market. After all, he led the MAC Tournament champions in scoring, assists and steals per game.
Arizona's interest in Bearden is unknown at this time. But Sean Miller has certainly never shied away from acquiring transfers in the past. The former four-star recruit will need to sit out the upcoming 2016-17 season. But he still has two years of eligibility remaining after that.
It's rather interesting that it's Arizona on the radar for Lamonte Bearden and not Arizona's in-state rival. Arizona State Sun Devils head coach, Bobby Hurley, was the one to recruit Bearden to Buffalo and coached him through his freshman year. Now, with today's news, the possibility exists that they'll both reside in the state of Arizona, on opposite ends of one of college sports' most bitter rivalries.