This time, the NCAA was kind to Montana State and head men’s basketball coach Brad Huse.
Huse found out late last week, and announced Tuesday, that former Southern Methodist forward Eric Norman is immediately eligible to play basketball after transferring to Bozeman. The ruling comes nearly five months after the NCAA ruled former Bobcat Mohamed Fall was ineligible to play his senior season for appearing in two showcase exhibition tournaments prior to his junior college career.
Norman, 6-foot-9, 220-pound San Diego native is a sophomore and will have three years of eligibility for Huse and the Bobcats. Norman participated in nine games during his freshman season in Dallas, averaging three minutes per contest. He netted one point, grabbed three rebounds, dished out two assists and collected one block.
“That was our hope,” Huse said of the ruling, “and it worked out well to have Eric in a situation where he’s able to play this year. It gives us a lot of depth on the front line.”
Norman was one of four players cut from the SMU program by new head coach Larry Brown. Former teammate Jeremiah Samarrippas transferred to Tennessee Tech and was granted immediate eligibility to play there; Huse noted that was a significant factor in Norman’s case.
“We did a little bit of research and knew that one of his teammates from SMU that had transferred was granted immediate eligibility, so that was something we were shooting for, but you never know,” Huse said. “We got word here last week that he was cleared; we were really excited for him and our team. I like our skill level and ability we have to make plays on the front line, and Eric just enhances that.”
With Norman, MSU has eight forwards on its roster and 10 frontcourt players. The Bobcats, who went 12-16 last season, have 16 players total.