Rice Owls Basketball: Omar Oraby Joins Group Leaving Program

Scott HenryFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2012

March 03, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls center Omar Oraby (34) attempts to drive the ball around Houston Cougars forward Leon Gibson (15) in the second half at Tudor Fieldhouse. Houston defeated Rice 76-75. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

While national attention is beginning to circle around players leaving Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie's program, another Texas school is seeing its own disturbing exodus.

Rice lost its fifth player of the 2012 offseason on Friday when it announced that 7'2" center Omar Oraby was granted his release to transfer to another school. Oraby could have stepped into the starting lineup after averaging 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in just under 12 minutes per game in his sophomore season for the Owls.

Oraby's block percentage of 14.5 would have ranked third nationally had he played enough minutes. According to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, some major programs may get involved in the race for his services.

The departure of the big Cairo, Egypt, native leaves Rice without a single player standing taller than 6'7".

Oraby joins guards Jarelle Reischel (Rhode Island) and Dylan Ennis (Villanova), 6'9" forward David Chadwick (Valparaiso) and 6'6" forward Ahmad Ibrahim (pro career in Lebanon) in leaving the program since the end of the 2011-12 season.

Reischel, a New Jersey native, and Ennis, from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, transferred to schools closer to their homes. Both freshmen, the two combined for 14.2 points, seven rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game, making a combined 40 starts.

Chadwick, a sophomore, left for a destination where he could find more playing time after playing less than seven minutes per game last season. He averaged 1.5 points and 0.9 rebounds per game in that time.

Freshman forward Ibrahim made eight starts and played 18.6 minutes per game as a freshman last season, averaging 6.2 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.

In the wake of the Reischel, Ennis and Chadwick transfers, Owls coach Ben Braun told the Houston Chronicle, "I take that personally. Even if it is a pattern, I don't want to see our program falling into that pattern. I want us to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen."

Braun may need to examine his methods for staving off transfers, as Oraby's departure makes him the 10th player since Braun took over in 2008 to leave the Rice program with eligibility remaining.