When Cole Huff told Nevada he was transferring, the school restricted his movement. PAC-12 and West Coach Conference programs were prohibited from recruiting him. He was upset and appealed the decision.
The drawn-out process lasted weeks. Thursday, the constraints were lifted. Huff was free to choose any school in the country.
Something interesting occurred during the appeal proceedings. He set out looking to transfer closer to his Los Angles home. He found out that other great opportunities were available to him.
"The restrictions that were put on my have been a blessing," Huff said. "It took my eyes away from being focused on playing at a PAC-12 school or a West Coast Conference school or closer to home. It's been great for me to get to know these schools in the Big Ten and the Big East and the Atlantic 10; the schools in the Midwest. These options are just as good if not better than what I would have had without the restrictions."
"As of now, those are the ones I'm in contact with the most," Huff said. "With my appeal from my restrictions just happening last Thursday, those (PAC-12 and West Coast Conference) schools that were restricted are a little behind."
"I would say both of those schools are still in the mix but Dayton, Creighton and Iowa are the ones that I've gotten the farthest with," Huff said.
"I haven't heard too much from them. I know they've been in contact with (AAU Coach Clint Parks) and my dad trying to set up a home visit with my parents. I haven't heard too much about that lately so I'm not sure what's going on with that," Huff said.
Michigan's position also is mirky.
"They told me that they wouldn't offer a scholarship until I came on a visit. I can't go on a visit until I find out if they have a scholarship open. They're waiting on one kid that they're recruiting to make a decision. Also, they're waiting on one of their players (Mitch McGary) to decide if he's going pro or coming back to school.," Huff said
Huff emerged last season, earning honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors. He averaged 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range and 82.2 from the foul line.
The Wolf Pack finished an injury-plagued 2013-14 season with a 15-17 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the Mountain West. They were 12-19 and 3-13 the previous campaign.
"I feel like I can challenge myself at a bigger school," Huff said. "I want to put myself in position to play basketball for my career. It's something I've always wanted to do."
Injuries forced Huff into playing power forward and center a lot last season. He's always preferred the wing.
Huff would be required by NCAA transfer rules to sit out next season. He'd then have two years of eligibility.
"I think the visits will be big. At this point, with the schools that I'm talking to, there's no bad basketball being played. The Atlantic 10 had six teams in the tournament this year. Everybody knows about the Big East. Everybody knows about the Big Ten. The players and the coaches and the teams in these conferences are top notch in college basketball. I think that makes them all equal. The biggest thing will be going in this visits and getting to talk with and getting to know these coaches further. I want to pick their minds and have them pick mine. I want to get a better feel for the style of play and get a good look at the campuses. I think these visits are going to weed things out," Huff said.
Huff has a connection with Iowa. In high school, he played against Trey Dickerson, a junior college point guard who signed with the Hawkeyes earlier this month.
"I know Trey well. We were in the same grade. We were in the same league. We played each other twice every year. He had my (phone) number. He didn't have to ask the coaches for it. It's cool to see that someone I know felt good enough about Iowa to go there. He's been helpful. He let me know about the coaches. He's had nothing but great things to say. That's just an added bonus," he said.
Huff said he is in the process of declaring a major in communications with a minor in business. He expects to carry that over to his new school.
"You never know how basketball is going to go. I've had injuries. Thankfully, I've recovered from them but there's no way of knowing that the next time I get on the court something could happen. I know academics are what my parents feel is most important and I do as well. At the same time, I'm not choosing a school based on academics. It's a basketball decision. I have two years left to play. I want to make a career out of this. I want to go somewhere to be a part of a great team with great fans and a great coach. That's where I'm coming from with that," Huff said.
With that in mind, Huff broke down for us the three schools to which he has set up official visits:
IOWA: During the season, I saw Iowa a couple times on TV. I think I saw them play Michigan. It was a good game for them. Coach (Andrew) Francis has been reaching out to me for the most part. I like him. I watched them on You Tube. I like how they utilize their players on the wing. I've seen a lot of clips of Aaron White. He gets it at the basket and also catches lobs on backdoor cuts. I also like how their players all have the freedom to grab the defensive rebound and bring it up court and show their skill set. That's impressive to me. Obviously the Big Ten is a beast. That definitely helps, playing on ESPN and the Big Ten Network. That's a reason to get excited about Iowa.
CREIGHTON: You can kind of say the same thing about Creighton as you do about Iowa. Obviously you heard about Doug McDermott all year. If I were to go there, I'd be going into an offense where they like to shoot a lot of threes. That's something that I could get used to. I like putting the ball up from distance. I've watched them and their offense looks like it's fun to play in. They come off a lot of down screens, away screens and double screens. There's just a lot of movement in their offense. The Big East is also a great conference. They get to play on Fox Sports and have their games called by Gus Johnson and all of them. That's appealing to me as well.
DAYTON: Dayton is fun to watch. I think I got to see them play the most out of these schools just because they made a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. It was kind of cool to watch them as the Cinderella team. I've been talking with Coach (Archie) Miller and Coach (Tom) Ostrom and it's just been great. It seems like they really have something good going on there. They're excited about it. It's just a great new, fresh kind of feel about what's going on over there. I think they've been talking to me for the longest. I'm excited about what I see over there.