New Southern Miss basketball coach Doc Sadler received good news Saturday in his effort to preserve the program's recruiting class that he inherited.
College of Central Florida point guard Rasham Suarez has decided to stick with USM after recently re-opening his commitment following the departure of former USM coach Donnie Tyndall to Tennessee.
Suarez requested a release from his letter of intent after Sadler was hired to replace Tyndall on April 30.
Sadler visited Suarez this weekend and convinced him to stick with the Golden Eagles.
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“It was a hard process,” Suarez said. “A lot of big time schools called my coach, but I just want to give Southern Miss a chance. It's the school I fell in love with. The fans in Hattiesburg were excited when I signed. They deserve a chance. Coach Sadler and I hit it off right as soon as he got the job. I'm a loyal guy.”
Suarez emphasized his loyalty as a major reason for his decision to follow through with his original commitment to Southern Miss.
“I just gave coach Sadler a chance to recruit me,” Suarez said. “He's going in the right direction. Now, we've just got to get to the dance.”
When Suarez first signed with USM, he chose the Golden Eagles over Butler, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas.
The 6-foot-2 Suarez, who averaged 14.9 points this season, will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Jareem Dowling, who joined Sadler's USM staff after working there under Tyndall, has been Suarez's primary recruiter throughout the process.
One selling point for Sadler was telling Suarez that he could fit into his offense at USM much like DeAndre Kane did in his one season at Iowa State after transferring in from Marshall.
Sadler served as an assistant under Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State during the 2013-14 campaign.
Kane averaged 17.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists this past season at Iowa State to earn All-American honors.
“He wanted to put the ball in my hands so I can take us to the dance,” Suarez said. “Wherever I go, I feel like I'm going to win.
“Winning 29 games last year was good, but we want to go to the (NCAA Tournament.)”
Suarez plans to arrive in Hattiesburg in 10 days and said that USM fans can expect him to back up his words.
“I'm a loyal guy,” Suarez said. “I'm a respectful guy. I'm going to work hard and be in the gym every day trying to get to the dance.
“I understand they've never won a game in the NCAA Tournament. I want to be the guy that's going to change that. (Fans) can expect a hard-working guy, a humble guy.”