By now, you have likely heard that the rumors are true -- Roburt Sallie, the former Memphis two-guard, is transferring to Louisville.
Sallie is leaving Memphis because of "a change in his role next season." In other words, Memphis coach Josh Pastner told him that with a loaded recruiting class coming in, especially in the back court, his services would no longer be needed.
Here's the catch: Sallie only has one year of eligibility left. Now as I'm sure all of you know, when a player transfer from one D1 school to another, that player must sit out one season. A basketball vagabond in its truest form (Sallie's story is full of twists and turns. He graduated from the Laurinburg Institute back in 2005 alongside Robert Dozier and Anthony Anderson, among others. He originally signed with Washington, but was ruled ineligible, so he spent a season at Patterson Prep before signing with Nebraska, but again, he was ruled ineligible and was forced to sit out the 2006-2007 basketball season. So Sallie spent a year at a JuCo out in California before finally enrolling at Memphis for the 2008-2009 season.), Sallie doesn't have a year of eligibility to spare. If he sits out a season, his collegiate career is over. He'll be turning 25 turning the 2011 season.
There's a catch.
If a player graduates from one institution with eligibility remaining, they are allowed to transfer to another institution for graduate school without sitting out the mandatory redshirt season. So if Sallie can finish up his credits and graduate this summer from Memphis (he's an Interdisciplinary Studies major), he can apply to Louisville's graduate school, apply for a waiver from the NCAA, and hopefully be cleared in time to enroll in classes.
Its a lot, I know. But I can't imagine that Rick Pitino would formally announce the addition of Sallie if he didn't believe that it was at least plausible that Sallie would be able to contribute to Louisville this season.
Sallie will be a good fit for a Louisville team that loses Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith, and Reginald Delk. He's a big guard -- 6'5", 200 lb -- that can defend and isn't afraid to shoot. Louisville runs a 2-2-1 press that falls back into a 2-3 zone. With his size and quickness, Sallie can play at the top of the zone, or he can slide to a wing with Pitino has Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles on the floor together.
Offensively, Sallie should be a great replacement for Jerry Smith on the wing. He certainly can shoot (ask Cal St. Northridge), and will help spread the floor for some of Louisville's scorers. He also brings experience, having been to an Elite 8 and having started for Memphis last season.
Losing Samardo Samuels will definitely hurt the Cardinals, but with Sallie joining Siva and Knowles on the perimeter, if Terrence Jennings, Raheem Buckles, and Jared Swopshire can live up to their potential, the Cardinals should have a team that will compete in the top half of the Big East.