A heart-felt decision
It's been a strange semester. And it just got weirder. Luke Recker announced he was transferring from UA to Iowa on Monday. That makes two transfers for Recker in one year.
The first, from Indiana to the University of Arizona, was because he felt his coach Bobby Knight may be past his prime. This one, though, was for more personal reasons.
In his statement, Recker said he was leaving UA to be closer to his girlfriend, Kelly Craig, who still hasn't overcome the paralysis caused by the car accident she and Recker were in this summer.
That's a noble move.
But it just seems so odd that it took him so long to make up his mind.
Recker spent an entire semester apparently debating this decision. He figured out what he was going to do over Thanksgiving weekend, apparently, when he visited Kelly in Chicago.
His departure won't hurt the No. 2-ranked Wildcats, since he wasn't playing this year anyway.
The Wildcats have lost four players of late, one due to family issues (Quynn Tebbs) and two because they wanted more playing time (Traves Wilson and Ruben Douglas). No one should panic, though. UA has yet to lose any crucial players yet, something Indiana and Wake Forest are all too aware of.
But Recker's sudden move still had to catch a lot of people off guard.
The higher-ups in the UA athletic department dismissed it as a rumor Monday afternoon only for Recker to confirm it that night in the release he sent out.
It was a statement that came out of nowhere.
Recker has spent an entire semester making friends and becoming acclimated to Tucson. Coach Olson and his staff went out of their way to make Recker feel comfortable.
In the end, though, it wasn't enough. But there was truly nothing more they could have done.
One could criticize Recker's timing in making his announcement, coming right before the big games against Connecticut and Michigan State, it's an unneeded distraction, but no one can criticize his heart.
A player putting his family before his career needs to be commended in this era of selfishness.
Will Recker have as successful a career at Iowa as he would have here? He'll probably see a lot more playing time there but it's doubtful he'll come within reach of a national championship playing for the Hawkeyes.
But in this case, Kelly and his family were more important than any trophy.
That's a rare thing nowadays.
If Recker thinks he can make a difference in his girlfriend's recovery by being a half-day's drive away, then he's made the right choice.
When he finally hits the court again in January of 2001, hopefully she'll be there to see him.
Good luck, Luke. You may have never made an impact on the court here but you've certainly made an impact as a role model for others to follow.