Curtis Dennis said two months ago he would not transfer from the University of Toledo after the school announced a postseason ban for its men's basketball team.
"When I said that, I had every intention I was coming back," Dennis said.
Family matters, including the death of a relative, caused the guard to reconsider. Dennis will transfer to Iona College in New York, located about 10 minutes from his family's home in the Bronx.
Gone is UT's second-leading scorer, its offensive spark off of the bench, and arguably its best three-point shooter. He will be eligible immediately at Iona based upon an NCAA rule that eliminates transfer restrictions against seniors of a team banned from the postseason. UT's forbiddance is a result of poor Academic Progress Rate scores.
The recent death of his aunt combined with an illness to his grandmother "got to me," Dennis said.
"I saw an opportunity to play right away and to play at home," he said.
Dennis appeared in 27 games after becoming eligible in December upon his transfer from New Mexico. He averaged 12.7 points and attempted the most 3-pointers on the team, making 49 of 140 (35 percent). He was named honorable mention Mid-American Conference.
"I think the world of Curtis and because of that I'm disappointed he's leaving the program," coach Tod Kowalczyk said. "I think the city of Toledo and the institution has been tremendous for him, and I think he's making a mistake."
Kowalczyk said it will take Dennis time to adjust to a new system, just as it did at UT, and "I'm not sure a year is enough time."
Dennis believes Iona's offense, built more on run-and-gun than organized sets, will lessen the learning curve. Iona, of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, was 25-8 last season and advanced to the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Kowalczyk added that he and his staff will discuss whether to sign a player with the scholarship that opened by the departure.
Per NCAA rules, coaches at other schools can recruit Dennis and senior Dominique Buckley without UT granting permission, something Kowalczyk characterized as "poor judgement by the NCAA." Those coaches however must notify UT if they plan to recruit either player.
"Some institutions that recruited [Dennis] never notified us and other ones did it after the fact," Kowalczyk said.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: email@example.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @RyanAutullo.