MINNEAPOLIS — Rakeem Buckles was hoping to follow Richard Pitino from Florida International to Minnesota. His plan has hit a dead end.
The Gophers men’s basketball team announced Tuesday that Buckles’ appeal for immediate eligibility has been denied by the NCAA. Minnesota’s original transfer waiver request was denied Aug. 28.
Buckles, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward, spent three seasons at Louisville and endured multiple knee injuries before transferring to FIU. He sat out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer regulations and was hoping to be eligible to play immediately at Minnesota. The hope was that because FIU had a postseason ban due to academic issues stemming from before Pitino’s time that Buckles would be granted eligibility.
As the Gophers announced, however, that was not the case. Although Buckles signed a tender to play for the Gophers, he is not enrolled in school at the University of Minnesota.
Buckles averaged 4.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in the 2011-12 season at Louisville. One year earlier he scored 6.8 points per game while grabbing 6.1 boards per contest.
In July, the NCAA granted Malik Smith a transfer waiver when he left FIU for Minnesota. Unlike Buckles, though, Smith did not miss a year due to transfer rules. He joined FIU for his junior year after playing two seasons at two different junior colleges.
Still, the Gophers were hopeful that Buckles would have the same success earning a waiver as Smith did when he left FIU. Now it’s unlikely Buckles will ever play for Minnesota.