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Thursday, July 07, 2022 — Houston, TX

Center Omar Oraby leaves Rice for USC

By Bhagwat Kumar     9/13/12 7:00pm

Last Thursday, junior center Omar Oraby requested and received his release to transfer to another school. After a brief period of speculation over his potential destination, Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports reported Wednesday that Oraby would be attending the University of Southern California for the upcoming school year. Oraby enrolled in classes today, the university-wide deadline to begin the fall semester, and will begin classes Monday.
"I want to thank Omar for his contributions to Rice basketball over the past two years," Braun said. "I want to wish him the very best in his future endeavors."
The 7-foot-2-inch Oraby blocked a schoolrecord 54 shots last season, despite playing 11.6 minutes per game. Perhaps more importantly, his inside presence allowed for senior forward Arsalan Kazemi to operate more on the perimeter, helping lead to his career-high 59.4 percent clip from the field. Oraby averaged 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, shooting a team-high 62.9 percent from the field.
Oraby also flashed growth as the season progressed, and averaged slightly over 16 minutes per game after a breakout performance in which he put up 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks on 8-10 shooting in a narrow loss to Marshall.
Oraby is the fifth Rice player to depart since the end of last season along with then-freshmen Dylan Ennis, Jarelle Reischel and Ahmad Ibrahim, and David Chadwick, a sophomore at his time of transfer.
However, the reasons given by the departures differed, as Ibrahim left to play professional basketball in his home country of Lebanon, Chadwick cited a lack of playing time as his primary reason for transferring and Reischel and Ennis stated that they wished to be closer to their homes.
Oraby, who was reportedly also considering the University of California, Los Angeles, Ohio State University and the University of Rhode Island, was seen on the USC campus Wednesday when the news broke.
According to ESPN, USC also reportedly plans to submit a hardship waiver to the NCAA for Oraby to be eligible to play this season. If the waiver is not granted, he will have to sit out the season before resuming playing next season with two years of eligibility remaining.
Oraby's transfer also comes on the heels of the departure of assistant coach Marco Morcos last spring. Morcos had played a role in recruiting during his time at Rice, and was a key figure in the signing of Oraby prior to last season.

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