Freshman basketball standout transferring
Rahon fights to retain spring athletic scholarship
Published: Thursday, April 2, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 15:01
From the outset, it seemed like a feel-good sports story: A trio of freshmen poised to pave the way for the future of Santa Clara basketball, shattering freshman records along the way.
But as the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.
Guard James Rahon along with Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini were named to the West Coast Conference all-freshman team.
Rahon broke the freshman school record for three-pointers made with 59 and was third on the team in both minutes played at 27 per game and points scored with 11.3.
Although he was supposed to be a major part of the program's future and just came off a successful freshman campaign, it wasn't all about the records and points said Rahon.
His decision to transfer was not last-minute. Rather, it was something he has considered for awhile.
"Throughout the year, it always had been on my mind," said Rahon. "But I talked to my parents about it, and they just wanted me to finish it off strong and everything and see how it would end up just in case I wanted to come back. So I just finished it out and just talked it over with my parents again and we just came to the conclusion that it'd be best for me to part ways."
Head Coach Kerry Keating said Rahon and his dad called him on the Monday of spring break about wanting to transfer.
"I didn't try to convince him of anything other than to make sure he comes back to school, which he wanted to do, and sit down and talk to me about it, because we had just talked face-to-face three days prior and he said nothing," said Keating. "I wanted to make sure we had a chance to talk about it, which hasn't happened and I don't know if it's going to."
Keating said Rahon has expressed that he did not want to be at Santa Clara anymore.
"He has made it clear mostly by calling the newspaper, and e-mailing the newspaper, that he doesn't want to be here anymore," said Keating. "It is disappointing for me because we have spent a lot of time, energy and effort recruiting James. We definitely had goals for our team that involved James' production for us.
"I don't know exactly why that wouldn't be sufficient for James to have a great freshman year."
Rahon claimed that Keating misled him about his visions and methods regarding the basketball program when he recruited him.
"I just feel like some of the things in recruiting that I was told to when it came down to the season, some of that stuff just didn't really cross over as well," said Rahon. "I just didn't feel the same about the program as I did when I was recruited to come."
Keating disagrees, saying that he did not see a difference between what he told Rahon during recruitment and how things panned out.
"He did things that we thought he would be able to do, mostly shoot and score," said Keating. "At one point he wanted to clarify that role, but one thing I was clear with James was that we needed him to score more, to shoot more, which he ended up doing more."
At his alma mater, Torrey Pines High School, Rahon, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, was considered to have the skills necessary to play the point guard position. With no true point guard in the Torrey Pines program at the time, Rahon was asked to make the switch and adapted well.
Under Keating, Rahon said it seemed like he played out of position at the three-guard for much of the year after playing the one-guard in a preseason game.
"I just felt like I definitely could have helped us out more at that position -- either the one or the two," said Rahon
With freshman Troy Alexander expected to return from a wrist injury and the addition of point guard recruit Robert Smith, Rahon would have likely stayed at the three-guard.
Rahon said he intends to play at a higher level of basketball and has already received offers and interest from various schools.
"I've been talking to a couple right now," said Rahon. "The most interested right now are San Diego State and Georgetown. San Diego State has offered me and Georgetown actually wants me to come up on a visit. They're really interested. And Texas, Cal, UNLV and UCSB have called."
But choosing a school isn't the only thing that Rahon is concerned about. He is also in a dispute with the Athletic Department.
Rahon claims he was misled by the Athletic Department into writing a letter where it seemed like he had withdrawn from the team when he was just asking for permission to contact other schools.
"What the (director of compliance) said was that I have to send in a letter to let them know I was transferring and let them know why I wanted to transfer at the end of the year," said Rahon. "Specifically at the end of the year because every time I'd talk to them, I'd let them know that I wanted to come back for the last quarter. I just wanted permission to contact other schools."
According to Rahon, Jeff Mitchell, the director of compliance, sent the letter back to Rahon claiming that he had intended to withdraw from the basketball team, so his scholarship for the last quarter could be taken away.
"He seemed pretty convinced that he did not want to be in our program anymore," said Keating. "At that time I gave him the parameters to go through the process to attain the ability to transfer, which we're still in the process of doing."
"Everyone is their own person and we need to make sure that everyone that is here in our program is on the same page."
Rahon firmly refutes his intention of withdrawing, claiming that the Athletic Department turned matters around and used his letter against him.
"Basically they're just trying to take my scholarship away," said Rahon. "I'm just shocked that they would do such a thing, especially at a Jesuit university that talks about good morals. I never thought that anything like this would happen, especially after they said they'd be helpful through the whole thing, that they'd help me out."